Two things I’m completely sick of hearing are pathetic responses and self-conscious disclaimers. I’ve always been taught to, “say what you mean and mean what you say”, thus I’m a firm believer in speaking with conviction and confidence. People will believe what you tell them about yourself so while you have control over your reputation, be positive and promote yourself. Downplaying or “shrinking” your work is the quickest way to get overlooked and forgotten about.
Throughout the day you’ll be asked how things are going, what projects you’re working on, or simply if you’ve been busy. Under no circumstance should your answers sound like, “Um, I think everything is ok,” “Oh, nothing major,” or “No, not really.” No one is paying you to hang out or wander around, so save those pitiful responses for your diary.You shouldn’t lie or over-exaggerate your work but you should take pride in it; even the small things. Furthermore, no one wants to work with Debby Downer, Patty Pityparty, or Sally Sobstory – perk up and keep it moving. Stop waiting for a nomination, stop expecting someone else to speak highly of you. Sometimes, you have to put yourself in the running and be your own fan.
Please, please, please learn to own your opinions. If you’re going to speak up, then do so and let your listeners take it or leave it. But don’t devalue your thoughts before you even share them! Stop beginning your phrases with things like:
“This might be a silly question but…”
“I don’t know if this makes sense but…”
“I’m sorry but…”
“I just think…”
If you’re going to say it, then just say it. Statements like these can greatly discredit you in a world that already happens to think that most women are meek and useless. Don’t contribute to the negative stereotypes.
Your success at work depends just as much on what you say about yourself as it does what others say about you. If you worked over 40 hours last week and when you’re asked what you’ve been up to, you respond with, “Oh, nothing much!” don’t be surprised when you’re passed up for that promotion.
Tips for kicking shrinkers to the curb:
- Know the difference between drawing attention to something and complaining. Telling your boss about how often you work late may come across as a complaint, but telling your boss about all the new projects you’re working on helps them take notice of your hard work.
- Learn to give quick, positive updates on your work. You don’t always have to give the laundry list of details, but at least share the overarching theme of your newest project.
- Stop moping around. The right Pandora radio station might help keep your energy up or pictures of family and friends at your desk could lift your spirits. If you just don’t feel upbeat, take pride in your appearance and dress in a way that helps you appear polished and energized. And when all else fails, wear a smile!
- When people marvel at your effort and progress, even when you don’t think you’ve done anything great, just say, “thank you!”
Whatever you do, just don’t take yourself out of the running before the race starts.