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Creative Career Path

Show Up Without Showing Off2010.03.24

    How do you position yourself professionally without puffing yourself out of proportion? How do you get recognized and appreciated, without having to pretend you are something you are not? This is a challenge for anyone on a creative career path.


    Woody Allen said that "eighty percent of success is showing up". How you show up, and what you do when you get there, determines the other twenty percent. Many people sabotage their own success by showing off once they show up. People don’t care as much about your achievements as you think. What matters more is which of your skills and achievements are relevant to them.


    Peggy Klaus is a top business coach to Fortune 500 Corporations, who has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, BusinessWeek, and other prominent business publications. In her book, "BRAG!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It", she dispels many myths about bragging, which prevent people from gaining the visibility that they deserve. She also provides many tips on how you can tell your story and sell your strengths, without coming across as egotistical or self-serving.


    Not only do many cultures discourage boasting, if you have a reserved personality it may be nearly impossible for you to speak out on your own behalf. Introverts can easily succumb to the notion that doing a good job will speak for itself, or that if you are sincere and work hard, you will be noticed and promoted. Unfortunately, that seldom happens.


    If you think that selling is sleazy and unprofessional, you may feel more comfortable concealing your achievements behind a veil of humility, or at least a conventional resume.


    There are good reasons for the cultural biases against self-promotion. It is proverbial that prides goes before a fall. Egotism is often a mask for mediocrity. How then, can you engage in self-promotion without sacrificing dignity or authenticity?


    Engage in personal branding.

    Get a platform so that you can promote your passion. You may find it easier to collect and express your thoughts in writing than in speech. The vehicle may be a blog, a series of articles, or a book.


    Gain online visibility.

    Do a Google search for your own name, and you may be surprised at the actual condition of your digital identity. There is even an Online ID Calculator, which leads you through a short survey to determine the volume and relevance of your online exposure, and generates a graph to show if you are Digitally Distinct, Digitally Dabbling, Digitally Disastrous, or Digitally Dissed. The goal is to aim for high volume and high relevance. Take the survey at


    Develop your communication skills.

    This means writing, speaking, and emotional intelligence. Without these, all the rest comes to nothing. Ultimately you cannot accomplish anything without the understanding and support of other people. Don’t forget that listening can be as powerful as means of communication as talking, even more so.

    Master the art of storytelling. Far too much of our communication starts and stops with exchanging information. If you wish to engage, motivate, and inspire other people, then you need to master the skills of storytelling, metaphor, drama, and resonant words.


    Focus on quality instead of quantity.

    Get a quality business card, invest in design, think before your speak, seek significance and depth in your relationships. Keep your promises, and show people that you care.


    Get to the point.

    Craft your profile carefully. Whether for your online bio, your resume, your self-introduction, or the way that others introduce you, take care to make it compact, interesting, and relevant. Read Milo O. Frank’s book, "How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less". Often that is all the time you will get.


    Be true to yourself.

    Don’t try to be, or compete with somebody else. That is a loser’s game. You can only excel at being yourself by realizing your own potential.


    Once you learn how to show up without showing off, then you will master your message and increase your influence.



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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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