What a challenge in today’s world. It’s crowded, noisy and self-absorbed to the point where it seems people hardly can rest and breathe let alone take notice of something. Too many people are doing great things in obscurity, never to be noticed or acknowledged.
A vast group of people don’t mind toiling away in the shadows. They like working behind the scenes, being a spoke not the wheel, only having a voice when a specific occasion calls for one. I find no fault in that having been there myself many times.
They may or may not ever get recognized. Perhaps if they stay long enough their contributions will be noted with a wall plaque or a retirement party. That feels good and right to them – no self-promotion of any kind. Only receive recognition that is stirred up by and comes from peers.
Then there are the entrepreneurs…the visionaries…the go-getters who have a message and a purpose to push. In their eyes, the only way to realize the fruition of their dream is to self-promote it. For them to reside in obscurity and let the message slowly unfold over time would be suffocating. It would bring death to their spirit and ultimately their venture.
There is no compulsion to avoid self-promotion with this crowd. In fact, for those choosing to make a living off their “brand of whatever” self-promotion is a necessity. It’s what keeps the bills paid.
So where are you on this continuum?
To Self-Promote Or Not
I bring up this topic for two reasons.
The first reason is because I’m a terrible self-promoter. Always have been. It’s not that I’ve never been a leader or responsible to push a brand. I simply find it challenging to insert myself to the front and shout, “Hey, notice me. Look what I’m doing.”
Who do I target? Where do I promote myself? What’s the message? How much is too much? I don’t know.
(If you give lessons, I’m listening.)
Secondly, because I found out this week that I’ve been nominated as a finalist for the 2014 Plutus Awards. These awards are presented at the annual personal finance conference known as FinCon, which this year is held in New Orleans. The category for which I was nominated was “Best Religious Personal Finance Blog.” That’s way cool for me personally to have my work recognized by my peers. Thank you to anyone who put in a vote!
I’ve been blogging for over two years now and have noticed each year some of my personal finance colleagues asking their readers to nominate them for these awards. My initial thought the first year was that it seemed cheesy to do that. Ask for an award? C’mon.
Now I’m not so sure. Maybe it’s all part and parcel of promoting one’s brand. Officials ask to be elected. Companies bid for contracts. Dogs whine when they are thirsty.
In hindsight I’m left wondering “Why didn’t I ask?”
Maybe it’s my personality type which naturally pushes me towards the “stay in the shadows” crowd. To toot my own horn seems self-indulging and egocentric. I’d much rather consistently and loyally do my job day in and day out and let the recognition from my peers fall where it may.
Don’t get me wrong…I want/need the attention and recognition as much as the next person. I just struggle to seek it. Maybe that’s good…maybe that’s bad…maybe it’s neutral.
Then along came the Internet
There may be some components of this that are generational.
In my teen years, we had no means of self-promotion that could easily be spread to thousands of people. The best possible outcome would be to get one’s name or picture in the newspaper for some accomplishment. When that happened you clipped out the article and put it in your scrapbook. Remember those days?
Your life was kept close to the vest, not spread for all to see.
Then along came the Internet in my college years and things began to change but not dramatically. Yes, you could now have a website devoted to your cause and AOL made it easier to chat with programs like Instant Messenger. But those didn’t make it seem like it was all about you…only about getting connected and gaining knowledge.
Social media changed everything. Myspace came. Now you could have a platform and share your favorite music, activities and pictures with your friends. Facebook followed. Twitter. Instagram. Blogs. And the list goes on.
Suddenly it’s way easier to get your message out and let your voice be heard. Everyone seems to be doing it. We have hashtag campaigns from the First Lady, terrorist videos of beheadings and Ice Bucket Challenges all promoting a cause. Some messages are very effective while others fail miserably.
I wonder though if social media is helping us blur the boundaries of self-promotion. The noise coming from some people is deafening and quite frankly off-putting.
Where Is the Balance?
I’ll admit to not knowing where the balance lies at self-promotion. It seems there has to be one. To make things “all about you” gets obnoxious after awhile for all those listening.
I know that for Luke1428 to grow in reach I’ll have to get better at promoting myself. That’s going to stretch me personally and move me out of my comfort zone. Perhaps I need that anyway.
But I’ll still always love when behind the scenes people get recognized for their achievements without asking for it. That type of acknowledgement feels the most rewarding, at least for me.
What’s your take on self-promotion? Does it ever cross a line? If so, when? How did you teach yourself to step out and become more vocal? Do you think it’s more rewarding to receive recognition for something you have not asked for? How slow have you been to adapt to and use social media…does it feel comfortable to you?