Attention-Seekers, Please Read

“Don’t toot your own horn.” — Yuridiana Ortiz

I’m all for motivating yourself to yourself but be wary of speaking too highly of all that you’ve done in front of others. You know what you’ve accomplished. You know that it was good. Let that be enough. A hunger for attention is an unhealthy hunger, like a hunger for candy or ice cream. As a treat, it can be wonderful but too much can be sickening. The difference between attention and ice cream is that feeding too much ice cream to yourself makes you sick. Feeding too much attention to yourself makes those around you sick. They can no longer stomach you and, therefore, they avoid you.

When you’re truly doing well and are humble about it, the accolades and admiration will come. People will approach you and say “Great job.” But when you tell everyone else how much you’ve done before they do, you’ll feel underappreciated, which leads you to continue talking about how much you do, which leads you to feel more underappreciated. It’s a vicious cycle that only you can end by working hard and shutting up.

Humility is and always will be important. Don’t berate yourself but be cognizant of how you come across. You’ll never be seen as perfect but you can be less self-centered. I quickly joke with my close friends about how I’m the smartest guy in the crew but I will never walk into a room of associates and come across like that. It’s unbecoming, even if I know I am.

In this era of self-promotion, things get fuzzy because we must be able to draw a boundary between productive branding and problematic bragging. It took me a while to differentiate one from the other and, there are still times when I struggle with it, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re trying to separate the two. The wonderful thing is that every day is another opportunity to get better.

One more thing: The time to toot your horn (with some class, of course) is when you’re interviewing for a job and talking about your accomplishments or when you’re up for a raise/promotion. But, at that point, no one should be sick to the stomach if you’ve exhibited humility up to either of those points so, play that horn with confidence.


Make humility a priority.


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