Many people struggle with the idea of promoting themselves. I am no exception. The thought of boasting about my skills or accomplishments makes my stomach churn. But I can tell you that keeping a low profile and hoping your boss will approach you one day with a huge promotion and big, fat raise isn’t likely to happen. Most of the time you have to put yourself out there in order for your accomplishments to be recognized and rewarded. Whether you’re a business owner wanting to attract more clients or a blogger looking to gain more followers—promoting yourself is essential to moving ahead and getting what you want in life.

So, what prevents us from putting ourselves out there? How can we move past the awkwardness of self-promoting so that we can achieve our goals and get noticed? Let’s delve into why we hold ourselves back in the first place.

There are several reasons why people shy away from promoting themselves. Some common ones include: not wanting to be perceived as annoying or self-important, fearing judgment from others, worrying about not being qualified enough, or thinking you don’t have anything of real value to offer the world. All these feelings stem from some form of self-doubt.

Self-doubt can present itself differently for everyone. Do you worry that your colleagues will roll their eyes at your new idea? That’s probably your fear of judgment creeping up. Or maybe you’re worried that you don’t have enough expertise to start your blog and that it might come off as self-important. That’s a combination of worrying you’re not knowledgeable enough and feeling like you don’t have anything valuable to offer. Recognizing the underlying cause of your self-doubt is the first step in liberating yourself and being able to take the risk of putting yourself out there.

So how can you move past the fear and self-doubt that prevents you from shining your brightest? Forbes contributor Margie Warrell wisely points out that we shouldn’t try to eliminate self-doubt; instead, we should reclaim the power it has over us. Okay, so how the heck do we do that? I recommend reading her article in full, but these are the two points that resonated most with me as they relate to the hesitancy to self-promote:

Call out your critic. Warrell advises that you give your inner critic a name (like Doubting Debbie) so that you can call it out when it begins to rear its ugly head. Your inner critic is that scared part of you that constantly questions your worthiness and ability. The idea is that by giving it a name, you distinguish your doubting self from your real self. My inner critic is always whispering (more like yelling) in my ear. While I’m still undecided on a name for her, I’m learning to distinguish the critical voice that tends to take over whenever I have to “promote” myself and listen to the more productive voice that tells me my abilities and ideas have value.

Make your mission bigger than your fear. In other words, get clear on your big “Why” in order to find the courage to overcome the self-doubt that stops you from achieving your big “Why”, suggests Warrell. This tip struck a chord in me. I’m a big advocate of reaching full potential, living life to the fullest, and helping others; but my self-doubt is continually holding me back—from starting a graduate program and this blog to other areas in my life. It seems like what I struggle with is the antithesis of what I stand for. When I think of what good I might be able to impart by following through with my dreams/goals, I worry less about my fear of failing. So, if your goal is to sell a product or idea, think of it as something that will be useful to people. When you see it as benefitting someone, you move from the mindset of selling something to one of helping someone. If you don’t put yourself out there, others could miss out on the value you have to offer them.

In the end, you’re doing yourself a disservice by downplaying your accomplishments or keeping your ideas safely tucked away in your mind. There is no shame in promoting yourself or your ideas. Never taking a risk and putting yourself out there…that’s the real shame.


Author's Bio: 

Virginia Murphy, M.S., M.S.Ed. is a self-professed wellness addict obsessed with all things related to increasing happiness and balancing mind, body, and soul. She has studied psychological well-being for nearly fifteen years. Virginia has earned a master’s degree in mental health counseling, a master’s in education, and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work degree (concentrating in clinical social work). She is the founder and writer of a blog called Live & Relate, which strives to bring people together in the human experience. In this blog, Virginia delves into the many facets of life, including relationships, family life, and work—topics in which many can relate. The purpose of her blog is to create a sense of community, open up discussions about our shared experiences, and to disseminate wellness news and tips that will enhance our lives and well-being. You can read her latest articles on her website You can also follow Virginia on Twitter: @Live_Relate