Is It Bragging or Self-Recognition?

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Do you ever feel an obligation to qualify statements of self-recognition with an apology or explanation of your intent? Something like this?

I don’t want to brag or anything…

I mean, sure, I’m happy about what I did, but it doesn’t feel right to brag.

Well, I didn’t tell you because it felt like bragging, and it’s not a big deal anyway.

With 18 years of experience as a business coach, I can confidently say that entrepreneurs would benefit from celebrating their wins more often. When one of my clients glosses over or minimizes an achievement by moving right past it, I will interrupt them with a, “wait a minute, back up the bus!” statement. It’s not until I point out the significance of their actions that we pause to appreciate it. One reason for the lack of self-recognition is the mindset that society and parents unknowingly instill in us at a young age:

Don’t brag; it’s unattractive!

Don’t get too big for your britches!

No one wants to listen to a braggart!

People don’t like showoffs.

We don’t brag in this family; stop being so boastful.

Yes, I do agree that excessive bragging is unattractive, but there’s a massive difference between bragging and recognizing and celebrating your wins. The latter is critical to your success and happiness. Here’s what can happen when you ignore your achievements, no matter how small.

  • You will always feel as though your to-do list doesn’t budge.
  • You will feel deflated about your performance.
  • The big picture feels far away and unachievable.
  • You will discount your progress, which can lead to a feeling of despair.
  • You may feel like a fraud because you’re (supposedly) getting nowhere, so you aren’t a real entrepreneur.

I could add ten things to this list, but I think you get the idea.

Why is it important to recognize achievements of all sizes?

As my business coaching clients begin to talk about their achievements, big and small, without embarrassment, I see their confidence grow. Focusing on what you DID get done leads to greater productivity and increased motivation. Self-recognition reduces stress, which then allows for clarity. For leaders, self-recognition brings increased awareness and appreciation for the team’s achievements as well. This has a significant and positive impact on the company culture, which impacts productivity, employee happiness, retention, and much more. In the end, this all adds up to greater profits and a happier, healthier you.

So, what’s the difference between bragging and self-recognition?

The Merriam Webster dictionary describes bragging as:

  1. a pompous or boastful statement
  2. arrogant talk or manner

I doubt you intend to be pompous or arrogant when you talk about your wins, but still, the fear of being seen as such may often be present. A true braggart doesn’t care how they are perceived; they don’t consider that they may be overdoing it. The mere fact that you are concerned about being seen as boastful is a sure sign that you are not bragging. It’s doubtful that you can even overdo it, so it’s time to release your worry.

How can entrepreneurs recognize and celebrate achievements of all sizes?

The first step is recognizing that every small step takes you closer to your vision. Entrepreneurs tend to complete tasks and quickly move on to the next fire or set of tasks. Instead, cross your completed goals off your list and pause to pat yourself on the back. Smile, as this changes your physiology, which boosts mental and physical energy. Take a five-minute break and think about what you have accomplished rather than all you have left to do.

Sometimes, clients neglect to mention a significant achievement until the end of our business coaching call, if at all. When speaking with your mentor or business coach, begin with the happy news whenever possible. Open your heart to receive praise and open your mind to accept it. Try not to diminish incoming admiration. Verbally express how you feel when you become more aware of your successes.

Determine in advance how you will celebrate the significant achievements more grandly. Flag the things on your list (are you getting how important your lists are?) that feel significant to you. Taking a giant step toward funding, experiencing a meaningful connection with an influencer in your industry, and launching a new website are only a few examples. Go through your wish list of milestones and jot down a few ideas for self-recognition. I once told a few close friends that I would take them out for dinner at a ridiculously expensive restaurant to celebrate as soon as I hit a certain financial milestone. That felt amazing! You may prefer a long, relaxing hike in the woods or a weekend getaway; whatever feeds your soul is a good idea.

Simple moments that include laughter and celebration do wonders for the psyche. Move aside the coffee table and dance! Shout out a few “Woo-Hoo’s” and get silly. Break loose of your stress!

Again, this list could be much longer, but hopefully, you get the idea. Entrepreneurs are very special people, any occasion to celebrate you is meaningful. Let me know how you recognize your success and what it does for you!

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