March 03, 2014

Monthly Support Post: Blow Your Own Horn (Plus, Life Coaching Flash-Sale )

By Crabby McSlacker

Regulars here may recall that about once a month, Cranky Fitness gets all nosy wants to know what you guys are up to.  These "goal support" posts may have started out being about New Years resolutions, but many people who check in are not actually pursuing any official resolutions or goals. And that's just peachy too! 

So how about we do something slightly different? This month, I'd like to encourage Cranky Fitness readers to say something nice about themselves. 

So join me, will you? Let's go ahead and brag a little!

And, like me, you can consider getting some practice promoting your business or blog or your employment qualifications or your leadership ability or the crafts you make or your athletic prowess or parenting skills.  Or you can acknowledge your determination, generosity, accomplishments or the tough challenges you've overcome. Or... 

Wait, no! Don't leave yet!


This is such an unpretentious, humble, down-to-earth, non-braggy bunch of readers that it's gonna be like pulling teeth to get some of you to join me in this, but please stick around and hear me out, ok?

You Won't Turn Into a Total Ass I Promise!

Cute Ass photo: wikipedia

Some people acknowledge their strengths easily... and way too f--cking often. They exaggerate their abilities; they never seem to shut up about how great they are; and every story they tell, even if it's about a freakin' trip to the grocery store to buy milk, is ultimately about how clever and righteous they are and how everyone admires them or envies them or is secretly threatened by their awesomeness.

These people are annoying as hell, right?  And yet... they are often heads of state or famous celebrities or CEOs and they tend to be more successful in business than humbler people are. 

Why? Because these self-absorbed nitwits put themselves out there, they ask for what they want, and  they have no fear of "overselling" themselves to others.

But yikes! That's the most horrifying thing in the world, right? To risk rejection or disapproval by not disclosing upfront every fault you have, or by accidentally overpraising yourself?

I personally prefer to hang out with "under-sellers."  I like people who can laugh at themselves, who are aware of and honest about their own limitations, who don't take themselves too seriously or spend a lot of time bragging about their accomplishments.  But I do wonder if a habitual under-selling mindset, if it's not flexible enough, can be a hindrance sometimes?

I suspect it's generally true that women are more likely to undersell than men are.  And this could well be a contributing factor to lower salaries, being overlooked or taken advantage of, missing out on promotions or opportunities, etc.  Even worse, the "downplay your strengths" mindset can be really problematic when it's internal and you are not reminding yourself often enough of all the good qualities you have. It can sap your confidence and keep you playing "small" with your life.

The thing is: we don't have to be total assholes to sometimes, when appropriate, be honest about our strengths the way we always are about our weaknesses.  But if you are not used to doing it, it takes some practice and feels really f--king weird.

I'm crap at it myself.  But I'm thinking a friendly and fairly obscure forum like Cranky Fitness might be a good safe place to do take a chance and practice a bit and tentatively strut our stuff?

I'll go first! With a long explanation and pitch for my life coaching practice. Lucky readers!

Why I Haven't Been Properly Pimping My Life and Wellness Coaching Lately.

So yeah, I haven't done much marketing of my life and wellness coaching practice in a while, and so now I'm forcing it into the monthly support post, sorry.  But the lack of advertisement doesn't mean I haven't been coaching.  I have awesome clients, mostly folks who have found me through this blog.

Some of the quietness had to do with getting an ACE Health Coach Certification, and trying to figure out what this meant to my life coaching.  Should I expand my client base and change my services and prices and do a big ol' website re-vamp? And if so, gosh, well, no use sending people over to the crappy old soon-to-be outdated site, right? Let's yank the ads and links and be invisible!

Well, changes may still be possible one day, but I think for now: Nah, no need.  The certification process gave me a lot more background and resources and confidence around nutrition and exercise principles in addition to the general life coaching and psychotherapy background I already had. And yet, more than ever, it reinforced my belief that there are no universal right answers and solutions when it comes to health and fitness.

So the additional certification is not going to turn me from a collaborative life and wellness coach into a personal trainer or teacher or guru or other sort of "expert" telling people what they should do.  My value is in helping each person find what is uniquely right for THEM, not supplying ready-made diets or exercise routines.

But being totally honest with myself: some of my lack of marketing has come from a fear of "over-selling" my skills and talents.

If I am not the perfect life coach for every person and every problem, and I can't guarantee quick and easy success with every difficult goal or struggle, then how can I possibly put myself out there as offering a really valuable service? Even if I can see, all the time, that the coaching I do actually helps people?

I had to remind myself again what I like to remind others:

Why I Need to Stop Apologizing For Shifting from Psychotherapy to Life Coaching

Having been both a therapist and a life coach, I sometimes feel self-conscious talking about my new role in helping people grow.  "Life coach?"  It sounds so sketchy!  People know what a shrink does and they may make jokes... but it's a respected profession. A life coach?  That fits somewhere between "panhandler" and "psychic" in most people's career hierarchy.

But I can honestly say that for people who are not suffering from moderate or severe mental disorders but who are looking to achieve difficult goals or cope with life's challenges ... coaching is far more helpful, practical, effective, empowering, and cheaper than traditional psychotherapy. And way more fun, for both clients and coaches.

Yet because people aren't familiar with life coaching, and because the profession is still unregulated and attracts a lot of over-promising flim-flammy flakes, many people miss out on the benefits. Folks who could be living much more fulfilling, exciting lives will stay stuck and stagnant. Eventually they may end up depressed or anxious enough to trundle themselves off to expensive therapists who will use the medical model to deal with their "disorders"--when timely coaching long ago might have been a much better answer.

So I'm gonna stop downplaying what I do:  coaching rocks! It can help you!  It's a great investment! Unless you don't think your one and only LIFE is something worth investing in?

The Not-Perfect Part First

We can still add caveats to our Shameless Self-Promotion I'm thinking, right? Especially if it makes us feel more honest and comfortable. So I'll get a couple out of the way:

1. I am not the best match for someone is looking for a Demanding Authority Figure to Aggressively Confront Them and Push them to Do Things They Never Dreamed Possible.

Photo credit: x-ray delta one

There is nothing wrong with this kind of coaching--hell, look at the success of Jillian Michaels! But it ain't me.  I will encourage you to stretch, and to dream big; I will gently help you realize when you are bullshitting yourself and rationalizing counter-productive behavior; I will help you brainstorm ways of expanding your comfort zone. But I will always respect the limits you set and not try to substitute my judgment for yours about what you want to achieve.

When I first started off I thought I needed to be more flexible about this, but honestly: I just don't have the personality of a drill sergeant.  And I'm ok with that.

2. I am not Slick or Charismatic.

I am smart and thoughtful and empathetic, but I'm not a polished, eloquent speaker with an uber-confidant personality.  Sometimes I stumble or rethink what I started to say.  Sometimes I can't quite hear over a shitty phone connection and try to pretend I heard you until I can catch the thread, and then if I can't, I have to 'fess up that I lost you a few sentences back and make you repeat yourself. Sometimes I realize I'm talking too much and have to step back and apologize and listen more.  I have been known to become suddenly unsure of a spouse or child's name even after I have heard it dozens of times.  Silly stuff like that... anyway, there is a good reason I have a health blog and not a health video channel or podcast.

OK, enough with the disclaimers!

Why I Am a Pretty Damn Good Life Coach and Might be Right for You And Why You Should Stop Over-Thinking it and Hire Me Already.

There are a lot of life coaches out there, with different backgrounds and strengths. Here are some of the things I do well:

1.  I'm good at creating a really comfortable safe place to dream, to whine, to experiment, to plan, to laugh, to cry, and to surprise the hell out of yourself with your own creativity and strengths.

2. I am skilled at keeping you encouraged and moving forward when you are feeling crappy and defeated and tempted to give up.

3. I ask strange but helpful questions and I can help you reframe situations in ways that let you see things from a totally different and, usually, more hopeful perspective.

4. I'm good at helping you feel less weird and inadequate and self-conscious about having understandable human reactions and hang-ups and difficulties.

5. I can use my psychotherapy background to listen at many levels; sometimes I hear what you are not saying as loudly as what you are saying.

6. I really, honestly, care a LOT how you're doing and I believe in you. Maybe I've just been lucky, especially in drawing clients via the blog, but I do not have to fake my affection for my wonderful clients. Popping in on various life coach forums, this is does not appear to be universally the case!

7. I work particularly well with shy, brainy, geeky, under-confident, cautious, analytical, overthinky types, helping to gently expand the range of possibilities that feel comfortable and achievable and make life more rewarding and exciting.  But confident action-oriented types can get a lot out of my coaching too!

8.  I charge affordable life coaching rates that are substantially less than industry standards and I offer an ongoing 25% discount to blog readers...

And right now, because I've been so lax about marketing, there's a one week flash sale!

I'm offering a 50% discount off website rates, renewable for at least 6 months, for people who sign up in the next week--by midnight Monday March 10th. Which is kinda lame timing given that I'm out of town from March 29 to April 9, but whatever, I'll make sure you have plenty to keep you busy if we need to miss a week, and I'll keep in touch via email.

There is much more info over at the Life Coaching site, but the bottom line is: I want you to get off the fence, stop dithering and accepting a status quo you're not happy with, and change your life already! You CAN do it and I can help you. And I'm hoping a time limit will make it easier to stop putting it off.

Jump on it people, you got one week! You can email me at either crabbymcslacker at gmail dot com, or at livealittlecoaching at gmail dot com.

And if coaching just isn't for you right now but you have a friend or family member who might benefit, let 'em know before they miss out on the discount.

So... that was me shamelessly blowing my own horn. Can I get a little company please?

I have no idea whom to credit for this bizarre ad.
And sincere apologies to any midgets offended by it.

Got anything nice to say about yourself or what you do or something you've created? Don't let me hang out here tooting my own horn by myself!


  1. Crabby,

    I, too have a definite problem with under-selling myself. I have done a lot of things that I should be happy about but don't know how to blow my own horn. I have a blog on my fitness journey over at and I have even written an inspirational novel about someone who overcomes some pretty big personal challenges to complete Ironman Kona. I've called it "A Quarter Ton to Kona" and am in the process of editing it.

    Thank you for the nudge to push myself out of the comfortable under-selling position.


    1. Thanks so much for joining us Dan, and good luck on your blog and your novel, sounds very intriguing!

    2. Wow - your novel sounds like a great read. I hope that the editing goes well and you are able to market it!!!

    3. I will absolutely read that book. Buy it and read it. It sounds great...I love to read about this kind of journey.
      Checking out your blog now.

  2. Death Ride GrandmaMarch 3, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    Ok, although I actually feel like most of what I do in these comments is blowing my own horn. I am still pinching myself (gently, of course), whenever I think about what my body has managed to do in the last fourteen years. Basically, I have gone from suffering agonies on the recumbent stationary bicycle when I rode it for a half hour at a very low setting to training for the Death Ride for the second time (uh, second attempt, actually, although even my DNF last year was far and away the most challenging ride I have ever managed to do). Meanwhile, I have lost over 30 pounds and kept my weight where I want it for 11 years.

    How's that for smug own-horn-blowing?

    But I still have goals, and who knows where they will take me? Crabby, I may need you at the base of Carson Pass making sure I keep pedaling this time! Oh - but you said you're not a drill sergeant. Hmm. I may need a drill sergeant at that point. Meanwhile, training starts to ramp up at the beginning of April. Not over the top just yet.

    1. DRG, you never come across braggy and often manage to soft-pedal (excuse the pun) your awesome achievements. You've been such an inspiration to us all!

      Enjoy some much deserved R&R (not that you ever Rest!) before the big ramp up in April. I can't wait to hear how it all goes.

    2. you are really inspiring. crabby is right. way to go drg!!!! :)

    3. DRG, your horn is blown by the winds of change, and a pleasant sound it makes, too.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky
      [Blogger weirdness; clicking reply sent me to the top of the page. Huh?]

    4. I love to read whatever you write and I have the image of you holding a bike over your head burned into my brain, (in the inspiration section.)

    5. Yay DRG ! Inspiration from your cycling achievements is helpful for me as a much less achieving cyclist than you.

  3. I try to just tell it like it is. Everyone is struggling with something, me included. I don't like to give power to my problems. On my column, I often tell stories. They are always the truth.

    I can talk first and think second sometimes. I regret when I do that, but all I can do then is try not to do it again.

    I go with my intuition. Over time I've seen it's pretty accurate, but not perfect.

    Whether by luck or hard work, I've done some very cool things, and I have some very cool things.

    Sometimes, in spite of that, I feel I live the Stones song, "I can't get no satisfaction."

    I do have immense gratitude, however...

    1. "I've done some very cool things, and I have some very cool things" sounds like a great place to be coming from Dr. J!

  4. Not gonna lie, I've been feeling pretty down lately due to health crap getting in the way of my fitness stuff, so this post is a nice subject to consider. I'm also a chronic under-seller, as evidenced by the holy hell of a time I had trying to set my prices when I first went into business as a freelancer. "Oh, I wouldn't want to overcharge!" Pfft, stuff that. My prices are great. And I've now been around long enough to know that I am really very good at what I do. My clients know this as well and they appreciate the value I bring them.

    It's funny, though. As strong as my confidence in my own ability is, typing it feels really weird. *I* know I'm good, *they* know I'm good, but that little voice in the back of my brain keeps telling me I shouldn't ever say it. Well, shut up, Little Voice. TOOT TOOT.

    1. And you have a great smile! TOOT TOOT!

    2. Good for you Heather, and sorry about the health crap and the feeling down stuff. No Fair for such a nice person who's so talented and hard working!

      Loved your very reasonable sounding assessment of your professional strengths and I believe every word and it makes me happy to hear! Good luck with the freelance business, and I'm glad you're telling that little voice to shut up because even in "brag" mode you don't sound the least bit like you're overstating.

    3. Thank you so much, guys! I was having a bit of a snit fit this afternoon and you made me feel much better. :-)

    4. I feel like I should remember this from some other post... but what do you freelance?
      Just curious..
      it is amazing how hard it is to put those very valid thoughts into writing. Good for you for doing it. Of course we know we're safe here, don't we?

  5. I think a lot of people have a hard time tooting their own horn. So I'm game, I have an excellent work ethic, despite being currently unemployed, I swear it's really good when I am employed. I have a huge heart and help anyone, probably to my own detriment sometimes emotionally. I have nice teeth and a gorgeous really sweet looking cleavage, even when I'm at my fattest, as long as the girls are out, most people don't notice the big belly below it. LOL

    1. is it weird that I now really want to see a picture of you and the girls?
      Thanks for sharing such a positive image.

  6. Starving Bitch, I totally totally loved that!!!!

  7. Oh - this is a hard one today!! I think that I always give people the benefit of the doubt and try to go out of my way to help them. I am hoping that (over time) that is going to help build our business because people want to work with someone who really cares about them and isn't just doing it for the money.

    And, after reading about your life coaching and the list of things you do well - I'm thinking that I need to seriously think about life coaching - do you think you could turn me into an A#1 business owner?!

    1. Kim - If my guess is right and you are the regular "Kim" responder to this site - then you are a pretty amazing person! You don't need any coaching for THAT. In terms of ramping up a business? Well......

      I'm a former coach client of Crabby's and here's what I have to do say: DO IT! Sign up today. Do NOT wait. You will be soooo glad you did! I can't begin to tell you how valuable my experience has been, It's STILL paying off for me today. You are worth the investment of a professional sounding board, occasional good suggestion provider and thought provoking question asker.

      In fact, you will see some serious braggadocio coming to this site shortly about just one thing I accomplished that is part of the culmination of the coaching (but Crabby made me remove the reference to that work with her in the post because she is STILL so self-effacing and demure in this way as to not want the reference to look trumped up, contrived, cajoled or anything else: Believe me. It wasn't!! And, if this wasn't her site, I would have left it in, anyway. But, if I'm one thing - it's 'obedient' :)

      Just a few of my challenges included dealing with leaving a 20 year relationship - voluntarily; some physical training goals; revamping my nutrition and starting my own new career venture (I'm already well on the path to that, closing in quickly on taking The Big Leap this year). I could go on and on about how great the process was and how it still helps me every day. But, you get the idea, yes? Sign up!
      PS - I do think you are pretty amazing, Kim!!
      Janonymous (formerly Anon)

    2. Sorry Kim, my reply ended up a new comment, don't know why that happened! See below.

      And Janonymous, you are way too kind but thank you SO MUCH!!! And the great thing about the coaching process? All those accomplishments were the result of YOUR creativity and cleverness and courage, not mine! But it sure as hell was fun to be a part of.

    3. Janonymous, you totally made my day (which was not going well thanks to the business gig!!)! Thank you for your kind words and the kick in the butt I need to sign up!!!

    4. Hi Kim, you're starting with such a powerfully open heart. I can only imagine that with a bit of good advice and organization, you will attract all the abundance you desire.

  8. Yay Kim, way to go and I bet there are a lot more strengths you could brag about if you had a mind to.

    And I think YOU could turn yourself into to an A#1 business owner, especially with some focus and strategic thinking, and yeah, some coaching could be really useful too! I think with your various fitness achievements you've demonstrated you have the grit and determination to do just about anything you put your mind to!

  9. Hee Hee! This reminded me so much of a friend who always toots her own horn and I believe it all every time because she believes her stories and she is very charming. Then one time I was with her at an event she was describing later to some people and I can tell you the room did not come to a hush at her entrance and she was not the life of the party as she described, but she told an excellent story!
    I guess I am an above average tooter and I have to say it is really annoying when I have an accomplishment and there are no crowds of admirers around for me to impress and bask in their adoration!
    I am in a bit of a funk right now as I just finished my Megathon cycling and Aquafit challenge and now I have Mega rusty joints and am sitting around saying "What Now"! I better come up with an April Fool's challenge.

    1. Average tooter my mind went there...

    2. Aww Cindy, sorry about the mega rusty joints! And too funny about catching your friend with her own self-serving spin on reality.

      Can't wait to hear about the April Fools challenge; just be sure to come here and brag about it!

    3. Well...I gotta hubster says I'm a big tooter...oh wait...wrong tooting.

  10. This is a tough one for me. My external personna doesn't match my great internal insecurities, but I'm working on it! I've been working really hard to make permanent lifestyle changes so that I can be a real asskicker as I age (Death Ride Grandma is such an inspiration that way). I'm working hard to accept ME, imperfections and all and trying to understand that perfection isn't something I have to be.

    I've been maintaining my blog for a few months now and I'm quite proud of it. It's not as fabulous as Cranky's, but like the farmer said in Babe, "It'll do."

    1. LuckyMama, you have a wonderful blog, and while I love the Babe line, "it'll do" is definitely an understatement!

      I think working towards self-acceptance is tough, and ongoing, and a lot of folks who seem to have achieved it still have plenty of moments of self-doubt. I actually think folks who struggle to find self acceptance have more depth and intriguing quirks and personality than those for whom it all comes easily. But I could be totally biased. :)

    2. I love the Babe reference! Thanks for that.
      I can totally relate to working on self-acceptance. It seems so hard but sometimes I feel like it's much more simple than I make it...
      I'm checking out your blog now.

  11. first of all id like to say that you are indeed a very good coach. i had the feeling that you offered me much more than i could have imagined. for example the follow up E-Mail was something i didnt expect.
    now to the bragging part: i also like to hang with the more humble croud. i occasionally brag about what i can do but sometimes i also have deep inner doubts about my worth. so i will join you guys and shut the inner mean girl up.
    i am very good at solving conflicts and dealing with challenges. ive fallen down way to many times to forget that i will always find a way up. also i love that i can make a cello sound beautiful and today im proud to have done my first bootcamp training this year.
    sorry for mostly being a quiet Reader. i love coming here!

    1. As I recall you did an amazing amount of work in one quick call, and while logistics/finances don't always work out, I've felt so lucky to have met you and gotten to enjoy your blog comments!

      Wow, I couldn't make a cello sound beautiful unless I hired Barbara Streisand to sit on it and sing, and boot camp scares me, and you should be proud of all your other accomplishments as well! "Finding a way up" is a great skill and knowing you can do that is priceless!

    2. Ooh - cello! I am so jealous. One of my dreams is to practice steadily enough to be able to play an instrument well enough that I am willing to be heard by others. I hope more about your music will creep into your comments one of these days.

    3. I truly admire your musical abilities as well. I know it was a lot of hard work to get to that point... enjoy every bit of it.
      Bootcamp sounds terrifying to me!

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Anonymous Lurker Emerging from the DepthsMarch 3, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    Hah, a lurker emerges from the woodwork (pixelwork?) to randomly boast about herself on someone else's blog! This particular lurker also has issues with self-promotion and is thus seizing her chance to do it in a forum where nobody will ever know her name.

    My shameless bragging: My life is meaningless and empty of purpose. NEVERTHELESS, I still get up at 5:30 6 days/week to bike through the freezing winter to the gym and work out, I still cook healthy food from scratch for all 3 meals every day, I am going to grad school part-time on top of a full-time job, I work as a volunteer editor on the weekends, I signed up to present a paper at a conference on top of everything else, and I keep up with several personal projects including learning to knit, maintaining my French language skills, and reading serious academic books. Which is really not too bad for someone whose most fervent wish is to die in her sleep as soon as possible.

    It's like momentum or something. Caffeine-fueled momentum. Mmmmm, coffee.

    1. Oh shoot, Anonymous Lurker, this is honestly kinda heart-wrenching, because you sound SO strong and capable and courageous (and eloquent and soulful and smart) and yet you find yourself in a situation that does not seem easy to endure. And yet you do, with much bravery.

      I'm a bit worried given your level of suffering and wonder if you have some resources to call on or supportive people in your life who can help out?

      Please email me if you get the chance, I don't know the circumstances that you're dealing with and can't imagine what you must be going through, but I'd like to help if I can.

      And thanks so much for stopping by and delurking, hoping you continue to hang out and contribute your thoughts!

    2. Yes - please email Crabby or someone!! You sound like an amazing person and definitely NOT someone whose life should be empty or meaningless of purpose!!

    3. And crap, ust realized I might sound like I'm trying to sell you coaching, I meant email me as a reader/blog friend, and maybe I can help with some resources or at least commiserate, sorry to be unclear about that!

    4. I hope you don't mind virtual hugs because I'm sending them.
      You also have a good sense of humor and an ability to write.
      I hope you reach out and get support and that you find whatever you need to have a truly happy life.

  14. But I'm in the mood to whine! How can I brag?
    One of my problems with underselling myself is feeling that surely I needn't mention my obviously awesome qualities; surely any reasonable person would notice them without my pointing them out. The other problem is that when I'm asked in a job interview what my strong and weak points are, I have to bite my tongue to keep from saying "How the hell would *I* know?"
    It boils down to: I've gotten this far, and I've had a lot of fun along the way.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

    1. I agree Mary Anne, it does seem annoying that people often need nudging to notice what's right in front of them, but the great thing about being the "underselling" types is that I think we can figure out how to do it in a less obnoxious fashion than people who are in the habit of pointing out how great they are all the time.

      On the "how the hell would I know" what my strong and weak points are? Interesting, because I feel like I know, but heck, maybe I'm totally off base! Probably I should seek out honest feedback more often. Though I think I prefer wishful thinking!

    2. The thing is, Mary Anne, we don't get to see you or hear you enough in this setting to be able to spot all those amazing qualities. I mean, your comments make it clear you're a person it would be great to meet & chat with, but that never happens. I am loving this post and the comments 'cause I feel like I am getting to know all these cool people just a little bit better. Thanks, Crabby!

  15. As they say in Texas, if you don't it, it ain't braggin'. Anyway, i would say i'm pretty good at raising orphaned kittens.

    1. Messymimi, the way you so generously give your time to take care of kitties (and people) in need is truly amazing! Plus you could brag a little about your wonderful blog if you ever felt like it. You are a very entertaining writer with great stories and observations!

  16. I am fighting a new computer and OS ( Windows 7) and am holding my own!

    1. That is indeed bragworthy Leah!

    often :-)

    1. Love that about you too Carla!!!!

    2. This is a wonderful skill to have!

  18. Ha! 'Shy, brainy, geeky, under-confident, cautious, analytical, overthinky types' is so me. Unfortunately, I am really bad at setting life goals, so I am not sure what there would be to coach me toward...

    This post made me think of a brief exchange I had with my Mom not long ago. We were brought up to be humble, not to brag or have too high an opinion of ourselves. I don't necessarily think that is bad, but if your natural tendency is to be self-effacing, and stay in the background, it may be not such a good thing to reinforce that, I don't know.

    Anyway, I was talking to my Mom about my role at work and I said 'because I'm good at it'. She got this look on her face, and I could swear she was biting back a comment about not bragging or something along those lines. She didn't say it though.

    The thing is, it's not bragging. It is recognizing your strengths, which is a good thing. How can you make the most of your abilities, how can you make a meaningful contribution, if you don't understand where your capabilities lie?

    I'm still really bad at describing my strengths, mind you. I have a hard time identifying and articulating my skills. It took me a long time to get even this far; to be able to say that I am good at my job, so maybe over time I'll get better at the rest of it too.

    1. Wow, I'm just trying to imagine the impact it would have not to be able to be able to admit to your own mom that you're good at your job! I think that's both totally common but also kinda tragic.

      So obvious from your blog and comments here how talented and smart and thoughtful you are, and I hope you're able to recognize more and more (and even say out loud!) all the things you're good at.

      And actually, I think huge ambitious "life goals" are overrated... seeking an increasing ability to enjoy each day and feel good about how it went, for example, is a great framework for exploration and experimentation. Which I think you're already doing! :)

    2. BTW, wrote this comment hours ago but blogger put it in Spam! Too funny.

    3. I absolutely agree with you about the difference between bragging and recognizing your strengths... (and I'm glad your mom didn't actually say anything in that moment).
      I think you will get better at describing your strengths and I really hope you also like the job you're good at!
      I think Crabby's point about "increasing ability to enjoy each day..." is brilliant and will go on my desktop to look at again.

  19. I LOVE this Jan!!! Honest, just reading you for all these years, I have no doubt you are an amazing coach!!!! Reading this makes it even more so - you are amazing! I really do like the way you are moving in your coaching skills - makes you happier too so a benefit!

    I am very good at underselling myself! ;) It is hard with so many amazing & qualified peeps out there - ones with certifications & degrees too!

    My biggest obstacle is that I don't have all those degrees & certs BUT I do have life long lessons from my 30+++ years at this & even if you have a degree or cert, if you have not been &there & done that, I may know a bit more. :) Also, at 56, I really wish companies would recognize what I have to offer with all these years behind me & PAY me vs. just want me to promote... it is tough out there!

    GREAT POST!!!!!!

    1. I've been watching you, reading you (in blogs and comments) for a few years now and I think you do have so much to offer based on your experience and your ability to communicate so well, kindly and generously.
      Here's hoping you get PAYED!

    2. Jody, I hope you give yourself LOTS of credit for the amazing and inspiring person you are!

  20. I was actually just thinking how ready I was for the next one of these posts so I could gather up some good vibes... But I was more in the mindset of confessing my failures...
    Maybe this is better. I am just one day into trying to remember who I am in some essential, core way. Something that's gotten lost during the years of aiming to do and be better. (usually starting with being thinner, or rather not fat).
    At this moment, what I do feel confident about is that I truly desire to create love and beauty in this world. And I think that's a good thing.
    I'm blogging again (linked to my name, I think) and I also have an ArtFire store here:

    whew! that was hard. I think I'm actually blushing. Sitting here alone, blushing. Geez, don't we age out of this sort of thing?

    1. Tree!!!!!!!!!

      It always brings a smile to my face when you stop by and so generously spread your warm kind fun positive energy around and boost us all up! Yay, Tree is back!

      Will check out your links ASAP, but it's really quite endearing that posting your comment made you blush! I LOVE the "desire to create love and beauty in this world," what a lovely thing to put your energy into.

      Sorry that failures are looming large, but I think you're right, it's a good time to focus on all the positives you may be overlooking and letting yourself appreciate some of your awesomeness. Thanks so much for the multiple and thoughtufl comments!

  21. I just finished the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and this sounds totally in line with some of the things she talks about (women tending to avoid self-promotion). She suggests we talk each other up because it's usually easier to talk up a friend/coworker than yourself. I've been trying to figure out good ways to do this with some of my coworkers who struggle as well, and it seems like a useful solution.

    Hmm... I'm... great at my job. I'm driven, I'm analytical, and I'm fast!

    1. I've been meaning to read Lean In, HH, and I love the idea of promoting each other! It comes more naturally to us and some how seems like a nice way around the dilemma of not blowing our own horns too much.

      "Good at your job, driven, analytical, and fast"... great qualities! I can relate to the "analytical" but the "driven" and "fast" are SO beyond me that I totally admire those qualities in folks like you.

    2. Have you seen Sandberg's TED Women talk? It's outstanding!!! I loved Lean In!

    3. Gotta check it out, Lucky Mama, thanks for letting me know.

  22. This set of comments is really interesting as we get to know more about the familiar commenters...

    I am really good at making music (singing, piano, clarinet, and just taken up the sax for fun and to learn jazz improvisation). This isn't my job, it's just for fun. However I'm also pretty good at my job too. I also have a lot of random knowledge gained from reading (I'm a very fast reader and get through a lot of books during the commute to work). The final thing about which I will toot my own horn is that I've won a local photography competition twice in the last 3 years, mainly with pictures taken from our holidays.

    Also, I am a previous coach-ee of Jan's and very glad I clicked on the discount-for-readers-coaching icon. So worth it !

    Now off to look up various links etc mentioned by other commenters....

    1. Fliss!! First off, thank you so much for the kind words about the coaching!

      You have much to be proud of and it's so cool when people are well-rounded like you are; I love to hear about folks who strive to be good at what they do for a living, but also read widely and explore and create. The world needs more beautiful music and lovely photography!

  23. Oh, this is a fabulous post! Talking myself up is something I'm really awkward with. During performance reviews or interviews the part I dread most is the "tell us why you're the best for the job" section. Inside, I'm thinking: "Because I do my job...? Because I like helping people...?"

    I did read a book that helped (though I still undersell a lot) called "Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It" it's well worth checking out.

    For my own bragging today, I'll say: I work in a public library, and I'm the one who loves the 'The cover had umbrellas on it, and it was a family that visited a lake' questions. I will also hook you up with whatever book you're looking for, without judging you. From biography to historical fiction to hardcore sci-fi, it's all good. And yes, I can give you recommendations for, you know... one of THOSE novels. :-)

    Perky, geeky, helpful, talks with their hands nerds FTW!

    And, because of all you lovely folks, I got to spend the bus ride home with a big smile on my face. Thank you!

    1. OMG Selinarah, I LOVE helpful librarians! I am always amazed at those of you who have the nonjudgmental patience to guide us to just the right resources. SUCH an important job and it seems to attract my favorite fun geeky thoughtful friendly non-braggy people. And you made me realize I need to spend more time hanging out at public libraries!

      Thanks so much for your awesome comment, you sure made ME smile today, really appreciate it!


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