Brag on Yourself

It was 8 o’clock in the morning. We were all gathering for a one-day meeting in Bar Harbor, Maine. The conference room overlooked beautiful Frenchman’s Bay. Everyone greeting one another as the tapping sounds of food being placed on plates in the buffet line filled the room. It was my first all Director’s meeting.

Although I was not a Director, I was comfortable in the room because most of the people had been my support along this tumultuous and sometimes uncertain journey.As I walked into the room, the senior vice president approached me.

“Kenya, how are you? Performance looks good. I hear great things about what you are doing. Before we leave, I want to catch up.” I thought to myself, “That’s awesome that he wants to talk to me. I wonder what it’s about.”

What you should know is he hired me into the company years earlier. He was not the senior vice president at the time, but he conducted my final interview. We had always had a connection. I would not call him a mentor but someone I respected.

We met the next morning for coffee before I headed to the airport to return home. It was about a half an hour conversation. He did most of the talking as most senior executives do. And then he asked me a question. “So, Kenya what have you been up to in Charleston?”“Well…” I replied.

And then so many things began to run through my mind. I mean there was a list of at least 100 things for me to pick from. I sat in silence trying to sort through what I should share with him.
“Should I tell him about…”
“Or maybe about…”
And then I blurted out, “Well last month the team finished number one in the nation.”
“We also met our operational budget every month and we are still able to do rewards and recognition. That keeps the team motivated.” I added.
He interjected, “Yes, I know that. I see the rankings by center. Congratulations.”
The entirety of the conversation is a bit of a blur to me but what I do remember is that he remained attentive to everything I had to share.
We parted ways and I returned home.

The company was searching for a Director for the Charleston Call Center. Initially, I was not ready to step up because I had only been an Associate Director for a few months. Now I was ready! The results were great in the center.

The company was searching for a Director for the Charleston Call Center. Initially, I was not ready to step up because I had only been an Associate Director for a few months. Now I was ready! The results were great in the center.

“I have been doing this job for nearly a year and producing great results, I want to be considered for the Director role.” I said to my boss.
Her response knocked me off my feet.

“Your name has definitely come up a few times because of all you have done here. BUT, “Bob” still doesn’t think you are ready.”
There I was delivering great results for the company, doing the job of two people, getting paid for the lesser role, yet I AM NOT READY! W.T.F.!
I felt angry, betrayed, disappointed, used and mistreated.

A wise woman once told me, “It is not enough to deliver great results. You have to be able to explicitly state your value.”
Sure, I delivered great results. I received amazing recognition. People reached out to me for best practices. I was asked to work on special projects. But I did not know how to tell my value story.

I wonder how many of you reading this blog can relate to my experience. The one where you are doing all the right things yet had a difficult time getting to the next level in your company. Or perhaps you are an entrepreneur with a successful business, yet you struggle to articulate what you do when you attend those networking events where the first question is always “So what do you do?”
I eventually was promoted to Director; I believe that it could have happened sooner if I were better prepared for that coffee conversation with “Bob”.

Your value story is one of the most important tools for your future. Yet, we often gloss over this part of our success formula because of a few myths:
My numbers will speak for themselves.

If they gave me rewards or recognition, they know my value.
I told them what I do, so they know what value I bring.
Starting today, I want you to let these myths go!
Instead, I want you to become an expert at “BRAGGING ON YOURSELF!!!
No, not in the manner that makes you come off as a prude, self-centered, narcissist.

But, where you give yourself credit for the hard work and commitment you have made to a role, project, team or your business.
“You are always on an interview” Helen P.

I have found if I approach every business interaction as the above quote implies, then I need to have my story down pact.
How did I do it? I started by creating an elevator speech for the value I bring to the organization. I practice it often and I update it as needed. Even as a CEO of my own company, I have an elevator speech for the value I bring to my clients.
What should you know about bragging on yourself?

Your value to an organization or your business must always include numbers and data.
When you brag on yourself, you give insight to others to what is important to you.

Bragging on yourself also communicates your maturity level. It helps others know if you are ready for elevated conversations in the organization or with others in the business community.
You help the person you are bragging to get a picture of how beneficial you are to the business, project or company.

So, the next time you are asked “What do you do?” or “How are things going?’ in a business setting, be prepared, be bold and BRAG!
After all, you earned your spot! No one gave it to you as a favor!
“If you are uncomfortable hearing the truth about the bad-ass I am, then leave the room.” – Kenya Dunn

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