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Modesty is Not the Best Policy: How to Own Your Achievements

As women, we have been conditioned to believe that modesty is the best policy.

However, for working women, this has led to us being uncomfortable highlighting our skills and achievements. A study conducted by Hewlett Packard shows that men are more likely to apply for jobs even if they are underqualified, whilst women will only apply if they meet 100% of the requirements. Women are also less likely to ask for a promotion or pay rise than their male counterparts, meaning that our modesty is also deterring our career progression.

Whilst being modest may be a commodity in your social life, being able to showcase your abilities at work is essential to achieving your goals and reaching your full potential. Here are a few ways in which you can learn to own your achievements:

1. Self promotion

One of the main ways to own your achievements is to ensure that you are self-promoting. By sharing your publications, business sites, and projects, you can ensure that your work is getting the recognition it deserves. Some may feel as though they are bragging by sharing their work, whereas in reality it allows us to distance our personal selves and instead show that we are asking for professional recognition. Thus, if you feel uncomfortable promoting yourself, you can still own your achievements by promoting your work.

2. Own your achievements by revelling in those of your colleagues

With many of us worrying that sharing our achievements may put our colleagues and friends down, it is important to remember that other women are likely to feel the same. However, if you actively ask your colleagues and friends about their achievements you can celebrate these with them. In doing so, you are also more likely to feel comfortable in sharing your own accomplishments – and, by celebrating with colleagues, you can strengthen your working relationships in addition to your career prospects too.

3. Share the accomplishments of others

Sharing the accomplishments of successful women who inspire you works as a timely reminder that everyone started out in the same position. To be successful, not only do you have to aim to be the best you can be, but also believe that you can do it. The first step to believing in yourself is to look at women you aspire to be like and remember that in order to get where they are, they too had to be proud and showcase their achievements.

4. Stop comparing yourself to others

Many people don’t discuss their accomplishments because they either feel like they’re bragging, or they feel that their achievements are less significant than those of their friends and colleagues. We are constantly comparing ourselves to those around us and often overestimate the success of others. Whist it is important to congratulate colleagues and peers on their achievements, it is also important to remember that you are no less successful or important than them. We often underestimate our own abilities and achievements and overestimate those we witness from afar. But remember: an achievement is an achievement, and you need to start owning yours, regardless of how minor or major they may seem.

5. Believe that you deserve it

If you are being praised at work it is because you are doing your job well, you are succeeding in your goals, and you are getting the recognition you have earnt. However, as noted by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, many people experience imposter syndrome, in which they dismiss their achievements by undermining the hard work they put in. Instead of being self-deprecating, it is important for women to stop thinking that their achievements are a result of luck. You are not being rewarded out of the blue; you are being rewarded because you have worked hard and you are a success.

By owning your achievements, you are more likely to advance and motivate yourself to continue to progress in the workplace. So leave the modesty for when you win a game of Monopoly and begin to showcase your accomplishments. After all, you worked for each and every one of them.

Written by:

Alysia-Marie is a University of Nottingham English and Creative Writing graduate with a passion for writing anything and everything. Her life's ambition is to find and taste the best doughnut in the UK (and become a travel writer/publisher/Louis Theroux's PA).

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