Celebrating your wins doesn't diminish others

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Do you intentionally dim your light because you don't want to shine too brightly?

Maybe you don’t want to shine it too brightly into others' eyes. If you radiate your light too bright in front of others will it force them to squint? Will they turn away? Will you be too much? Will you seem too happy? Too self-centered?

Too… much.

This is a conversation I’ve been having with some of my business besties recently after Tracy, one of my mastermind sisters used the notion that women need to brag more at a recent networking event.

I loved the idea and used it in a website writing workshop as a fun icebreaker. I think it's brilliant because, women, especially have been known to downplay, or not mention their accomplishments nearly enough. Women tend to believe that their accomplishments speak for themselves.

We make things seem smaller or less significant than they really are, and all around play small.

I used this during a workshop with 15 local business owners last week. I asked everyone to share their name, what they do, and to share a brag. Some of the work-shoppers, though not all, were noticeably uncomfortable at the thought of getting braggy with it.

And before I go any further, I realize the word, “brag” might bring up some crappy memories for some. So whatever you call it—self-promotion, showing off, highlighting your experience, or confidence, let’s celebrate our wins.

Some of the entrepreneurs at the workshop excitedly jumped right in and shared their brag. Not a humble brag, where you pretend to not really be bragging, but a real, genuine brag. Highlighting something they’re proud of.
It was a fun icebreaker and set the tone for an energetic and lively workshop. This brag-fest reminded me of something that happened last year. Jacob, my 10-year-old son plays hockey (which if you follow me on Instagram, you know this).

Last spring, his team won a hockey tournament and was very proud of the medals his team took home. He wore his medal to school the next day and asked his teacher if he could show it to the class. He was excited and wanted to show it off.

When I picked him up from school that afternoon, he told me that the teacher said no. She told him to put his medal in his backpack. When he told me this, it broke my heart. I cringed, and then I felt terrible for him.

He spent that tournament weekend playing 5 games of hockey, a sport he loves, in the net stopping pucks, supporting his team, feeding his body right, and getting the right amount of rest.

It's a big deal for a 10-year-old. So why shouldn't he get to show it off?

This theme popped up again for me a few days ago, and it was me that wanted to dim the light.

His team had just wrapped up their regular season of play. His team won all of their games and tied only once when he was in net, and he had 4 regular season shutouts. Part of me didn't want to share that publicly on my Facebook feed.

I was worried about sounding too braggy, coming across as a show-off or offending anyone who didn't have as good of a season as he did. And then I thought back to last year when Jacob wasn’t allowed to show his medal to his class.

I thought, “That's stupid. Why should I dim his light, or mine as a parent?”

All this light dimming happens in day-to-day life too. When people ask, “How are you?” So often, we reply with, “I'm good,” “I'm just getting by,” “Fine, thanks!”

But what if you're better than fine? What if you’re feeling so freaking fantastic that day and you just wanna share it with the world? You feel so good you can barely contain it. So why the hell do you?

You don’t. Wouldn’t it be fun if you shared how amazing you were feeling the next time someone asked? What about talking about your latest win the next time you respond to, “Hey, how’s it going?”

Can we please make it a habit of sharing our wins and how happy we really are?

I asked some of my business friends to share a brag. And some had more than one! Here they are:

  • “I am super proud of myself for throwing up some good business boundaries today around the fact that I needed time and space to be around my family for a snow day. I didn’t keep any guilt or frustration, I just planned accordingly.” -  Tracy Bech, Good Path Consulting and Peelux

  • “We did such a great job at our first live event that people are clamoring, asking when tickets are going on sales for the next one.” Sara Christensen, Kickass Masterminds

  • “Both of my girls will be riding at the Scottsdale Arabian horse show—THE top horse show. And, last week, I signed my highest proposal for coaching services to date.” - Stacy Fischer, The W Collective

  • “Tomorrow I will complete lesson 6 of my online Trauma-Free Taxes inaugural class. I sold 41 spots, and the feedback has been great. It really represents something I’ve wanted to teach for 3 years, and it’s making a difference in the lives of students and I’m excited to carry it forward to more people.” - Stacey Harmon, Harmon Enterprises

  • “I’m a damn good podcast host. I do podcasting really, really well.” - Brit Kolo, Marketing Personalities

  • “First, running a free workshop for nearly 10k business owners was pretty badass. Second, throughout the Make It Work Online launch I (mostly) kept cool. Launches are stressful emotional rollercoasters and even when things didn’t go perfectly, I focused on staying centered and being present. Knowing I did everything I could in advance to plan and deliver.” - Jenny Shih, JennyShih.com

I’m pretty dang honored to share all these brags in one place! And I thought about keeping the light focused on everyone else, away from me. And that’s exactly why I need to share too.

So here’s mine:

  • I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished with the Write Like a MOFO community and writing marathons. It came together really fast and sometimes they feel like magic. I’m not sure how I did it, but it feels powerful. And these business owners get results!

Oh, and this was uncomfortable to write.

Just because people around us might be unhappy doesn't mean that we need to turn down the volume, dim the light, and shrink.

This is an invitation to turn up the volume, crank up the wattage, stand tall, and brag.

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