Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bricker-Bracker, Firecracker; Or, Being Your Own Cheerleader

I like Bugs Bunny a lot, and truly, I wish I were more like him. Besides having a great sense of humor about himself, BB has many other admirable qualities. Here are few:
  1. Bugs doesn't start fights, but he will finish them.
  2. No matter how lost he gets, Bugs always manages to make the best of any situation.
  3. And, as we can see above, he's quite adept at being his own cheerleader. Heck, he's even good at getting others to join in.
It's the third item in the list that I want to address today. It took me some time to develop that skill, but being able to sing my own praises is something I already have in common with B-squared. However, I know a lot of people in general, and in libraries in particular, who don't always feel comfortable singing their own praises. Now, I'm assuming that you already know why it's important to talk yourself up. I can list at least ten reasons off the top of my head if you want, but I think "how" is more important than "why" at the moment. So, let's move onto a few simple techniques I've used in the past that might work for you:

If you're not comfortable in the spotlight, think about sharing it: "I got this idea from Ms. A. Awesome and tweaked it and the result was really successful" or "Really, it was a team-effort, but it worked for us." You're still saying good things about yourself, but you're also saying good things about others.

Own up to the mistakes you made as you talk: "Well, it didn't work at first. But then we [specific tweak] and that seemed to do the trick." Admitting to being human in the middle of discussing your success might dim the spotlight a bit, but it's still shining light.

If nothing else, stop using so much conditional language: "It definitely worked better without [specific tweak] in the way." This isn't about singing your own praises as much as it's about tamping down the self-doubt, but it's a step in the right direction.

So there are a few techniques, but I'm wondering about what else we could be doing. How do you talk yourself up? Or do you just not do it? Is there something specific holding you back? If you have a hard time with this, I recommend working on it. Even if you only ever do this in a job interview, you have to be able to say nice things about yourself.

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