Claiming Success Can be Hard. Here's How To Make It Easy

Feb 01, 2021

Why do you often struggle to own your successes? You’re smart, talented and a hard worker with lots of success to prove it, but you don’t tell the world.  

Many of you don’t own your successes because deep down you don’t believe you are as good as you really are.  This shows up as discounting what you have accomplished. For example, if you accomplish something great, instead of owning it, you might deflect by saying something like “oh it was really nothing” or “it wasn’t such a big deal.” This can become a pattern of behavior that gets repeated over and over. If this is you, you may want to create new patterns of behavior – mentally, verbally and emotionally.

The first step is to Stop Deflecting When Others acknowledge your accomplishments.  Instead learn to use two simple words – thank you. This is about accepting the acknowledgement others provide as well as accepting that you are good enough to be seen as successful. It’s OK to receive a compliment.  It wouldn’t have been offered if you didn’t deserve it.So stop deflecting – smile and say “thank you” or even “so glad you noticed”  

If you find yourself still struggling with this, reframe and think about how easy it is to brag about your kids.  This is so easy - yet when it comes to you, you freeze up and get all tongue tied.  So reframing in this case is to picture yourself as your child when it comes to bragging.  Even if you don’t have children, I can guarantee you are more comfortable bragging about your mom, partner or in fact anybody else as long as it’s not you. So, pick somebody that’s not you and pretend they have your successes.  Now acknowledge their (your) successes when someone mentions how great they (you) are. 

Let’s move onto step #2…See yourself as an authority. This is about being willing to claim your little piece of the pie.  All of you have something that you do well in your career or business - that you are actually an expert on. But we as women really struggle to own our piece of the pie in the areas that translate into power, money and influence.   

We as women have no issue claiming authority in the home space or women defined roles. But when it comes to the space that society tells us we shouldn't play in (for example, a male dominated space), we often draw down and make ourselves small.

Step # 3 is become comfortable with bragging. Women are horrible at this as a rule.  It all comes back to us not wanting to see ourselves as being better than someone else. But men tend to not have a problem with this bragging thing.  Almost to a fault. But we can learn something from men. They don’t wait for someone to guess what they did well or what they accomplished. We as women often do and get disappointed when someone doesn’t recognize us or acknowledge how good we are.

This is our fault as women and we have to assume responsibility for this. Otherwise, we stay frustrated, underpaid and small. But maybe you were taught to not brag. If so, the thought of bragging is uncomfortable. One ay to get more comfortable is to share accomplishments in a story. For you as a woman, this will feel so much more natural and less sleazy.

It looks like this – “wow, John, I never thought that project would come together as it did.  But I knew exactly what to do because this wasn’t my first encounter with such a problem.  Back at my old job, we had the same thing happen and, from that experience, I knew exactly what to do.  And look how great things turned out on what could have been a total disaster.”

Most of you can’t be an “in your face” bragger like men without it becoming a negative. In fact, society expectations may actually punish you for bragging like a man. But telling a story is subtle and gets the point across. 

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