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Blowing that Trumpet!

"I don't mean to blow my own trumpet but..."

I hear this phrase regularly, I have even slipped it into a sentence or too myself in the last year, not always free to break the habit of old.

It's a funny thing, this apologising for what we are good at, especially when the thing we are good at maybe kindness, or creativity or a genuine practical skill-set that we can share with others.

This peculiar concept; that we shouldn't be, or appear to be, proud of what we achieve without heading up some disclaimer, a precursor.... a sleight- of - mouth -critique of ourselves... As if the world is so horrendously fragile (and some of it is of course)... that we couldn't possibly admit success, or happiness or achievement.

Some of these behaviours and narratives are imprints of ways we have learned- from our upbringing or from how schools have cultured praise.... Perhaps being shot down at work when we vocalised our skills or even in dealing with an internal dialogue that is chipping away at self-esteem.

If you watch people who have the accolade of "success" or "skill": an athlete, an entrepreneur you are unlikely to hear them saying this type of thing about themselves. To shy away from describing their achievements.... You wouldn't hear Mo Farrah say..." I don't like to blow my own trumpet but I am pretty fast".

Now of course, being over boastful or forceful and dominant in what we can do "over" others is a view point or behaviours that's probably not going to win or maintain friends over time.

Yet, normalising and sharing success is something that should feel safe, that we can learn to do in a way that is humble, and encouraging for others to do the same.

Imagine that that snippet of success, or pride or skill is a box, like a gift box. You hold it close to your stomach or chest and allow it's joy and energy to permeate through to your mind and soul.....It's a fuel, a driver or motivator to achieve, success, aspire. When well received by interested or supportive people the gift box can shine and glow both outward and in.

When we say things like " I don't mean to blow my own trumpet but" we are metaphorical pulling the box away, detaching and disassociating from the power, and fuel it gives us, turning down the light, perhaps shamefully.

So, if accepting your inner power is a difficult thing right now, and I get that it can be. Here are some ways that you may learn to feel at ease with what you have within.

  1. Say thank you - say it to yourself, say it to others when they give feedback about your skills/assets and achievements.

  2. Find the feeling - acknowledge what the skill/power/achievement gives you, where does it sit inside, what does it feel like and connect with this.

  3. Ask others about their strengths, smile and be curious and teach your mind to be content with this sort of dialogue. Share the enjoyment.

  4. Learning is a continuum...... there will always be someone better, stronger, faster, richer, calmer, more confident...what ever it is.... comparing ourselves to others can change our recognition of what we have achieved. Give yourself Kudos and be interested and open to learn.

  5. Find team or collective opportunities, sharing skills and assets is brilliant for confidence, learning and personal growth. So whether it's a project with friends/family, a hobby club or volunteering or maybe even at work. Give time to using and sharing those brilliant skills you have in common.

The more that your mind hears you trust and believe in what you have, the more the mind can trust and believe in what it does, what it aspires for and how you can grow. You can embrace the powers and skills you own (rather than what you think you don't have)

So if you think you are good at something, and you have evidence for this, get that trumpet out and blow it loud! There will, of course, most likely be a better trumpet player somewhere in the vicinity, share experiences, learn from each other and soon you will have a symphony of success in what you do brilliantly.

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