On the heels of my post about how there are no rewards for everyday greatness, I remembered a pivotal moment in my life that I want to share with you.

Years ago, I tried to lead a group of senior colleagues in planning a big event. A couple people challenged me, with the implication that I wasn’t qualified to be the leader, and I froze. Someone stepped up to rescue me and I surrendered the leadership, feeling flushed, frustrated and ashamed.

Looking back at this memory, I feel sad for my past self. I was actually experienced at event planning, but didn’t know how to convince the group in the face of skepticism or conflict. I was so afraid of being too big for my britches that I let my fears and doubts push me into a little corner. Does this feel familiar to you?

In that moment, I learned that people won’t trust us to lead when we aren’t showing up with confidence or making our relevant accomplishments clear.

But is the only alternative to brag and show off?


gif of a guy with a pompadour hairdo making a smug faceCredit: Moonbounce


No, you don’t have to become an arrogant jerk in order to claim your appropriate expertise! There’s a big spectrum between being a wallflower and the person who never shuts up about themself.

Tips that will help you be less humble in a healthy way:


  • Offer when asked; volunteer when the moment arises

There’s often a good or “right” time to share your achievements. Sometimes, people are asking for a volunteer leader and it could be you. Sometimes a group you’re in is sharing their wins and you can take your turn. Sometimes you’re getting deeper with a friend and they might love learning more about your character. When you keep your eyes open for a good time to share your accomplishments, you’re more likely to have it go smoothly and not feel like bragging.

  • Practice sharing your accomplishments

You only get smoother and more confident through practice. So let it be a little messy or clunky at first. You can even say you’re practicing at sharing more of what you’ve accomplished or are capable of so people will be more forgiving or encouraging.

  • It’s not a competition

This isn’t about needing to be the best or the only. Focus less on trying to top what others have done and instead just celebrate you. When we are not speaking from a competitive mindset, it’s less likely to trigger others to story top or show off.

  • Validate yourself inside first

Sharing accomplishments will go better if people can feel that you aren’t trying to take something from them (like praise or validation). So before you share, give yourself a little love and compassion. Remind yourself that you’re already good enough and that this is just practicing a skill of sharing. Try to be open to whatever response may come so that the pressure is off for everyone.


image titled "Four Things You Can Do to be Less Humble" with bullet points already mentioned in this post


Always remember your own inner amazingness.


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