What is it about being me that means I feel somehow guilty when I want to shout about my achievements? I’m confident it’s not just me either, I know a number of professional women who really struggle with the whole “networking”, “blowing their own trumpet” mentality that goes with “climbing the ladder”.
It’s taken me a good while to get to the stage where I don’t feel like I’m a fraud, to have reached the conclusion that I’m actually really quite good at what I do. Outside of my day job when I look at my writing, I may not have broad-reaching acclaim, but I get really positive responses from people and that keeps me engaged and want to keep doing it-and to get better, to improve, to learn. It can be so hard sometimes for me to recognize my successes. It’s very difficult to change that self-perception that I have, I find it hard to praise and be proud of myself.
I regularly see and read women apologizing for themselves, ”I’m sorry but”. ”Oh it’s nothing”. It’s not nothing, the self-deprecation belies some seriously important talent and skills and we need to be calling this out when we see it. @TheRealSGM has a brilliant ongoing blogpost that celebrates women writers, of novels and blogs-I encourage you to visit, there are some great recommendations there. Another wonderful counter to the modesty, fear and lack of confidence that many women, on the face of it, would appear to have is @TheWomensRoomUK - a project flourishing in a male dominated media environment, calling out the vast numbers of talented, knowledgeable expert women who are available to share that knowledge if only asked.
I actually don’t think the lack of confidence in shouting out our successes is unique to women, but it certainly seems from my perspective to be a trait more common-like it’s somehow seen as unseemly to step up and point out where we’ve had success, where we’ve achieved a great thing. I have often been too embarrassed to do so myself. I’m getting better though and positive encouragement has really helped me on my journey.
One really important action we can all take is to congratulate, praise and encourage other women when they put themselves out there, when they share their writing, their artwork, their views, their experiences. It goes a long way, believe me, other women are the people who give me the courage I need every day to get up, go to work and finally say; Yes, I did that, it was me and it was pretty damn good. I want to thank those women and I want the same recognition for them.