I have a glamorous travel journalist friend who once let me tag along with her on assignment to the Galapagos Islands.
This was before marriage. Before kids. Before having more than a couple of employees. I was always game for such adventures.
Fast forward to now. I’m reading a “Magic School Bus” book about the ocean to my son. A school of hammerhead sharks appears within sight of Ms. Frizzle and the kids.
“The same thing happened to me,” I say.
Suddenly the boy I just had to ask to put his shoes away five times is staring at me like I have my own Roblox YouTube channel.
I haven’t talked or even thought much about this incredible trip in years.
“What did you do?” he asks.
“What do you mean, you froze?”
“I mean my whole body just stopped moving until they passed by. I couldn’t even control it.”
“How deep in the water were you?”
“Near the surface, snorkeling.”
“Show me how far your head was from the top.”
And on it went. The next morning I got a litany of questions about snorkeling gear and life vests. At his next swim lesson, he asked my opinion on his jumping-in technique; I’ve been promoted to household watersports expert—a title I fully deserve but was never acknowledged for. Why?
Because my kids didn’t even know how awesome I am! I saw a school of hammerheads while snorkeling in the open ocean off a tiny raft! And maybe I did freeze! But that seems like an appropriate evolutionary response for a land mammal with goggles and a big straw strapped to her head!
If you don’t share your accomplishments and capabilities in some way, how can you expect anyone to look to you for leadership roles?
It often feels like the people in your life, whether it’s your boss or your kids, should just know. But the responsibility lies with you to make sure of that.
People, the good ones especially, feel uncomfortable with this idea. Like they have to brag. But think about it this way. If you don’t share, you’re doing a disservice to the very person who could use your help the most. You’re doing yourself a disservice too, by ignoring a part of your identity.
Romance your career by directly sharing an accomplishment with your boss, your client base if you have a business, or simply with someone in a higher-ranking position than you.
- You can set a meeting to review a project.
- You can send an email “progress report.”
- You can add it into a meeting or report you already provide as a “learning” or a “win.”
- You can create a case study.
- You can thank the person for their guidance, and then present the result as a part of your “thank you.”
It’s impossible to move up without owning your awesome.
It won’t be nearly as scary as the hammerheads.