I was just on Instagram having a little chat with the marvelously talented and beautiful Cara of RainyBayBlog (hello!) about self promotion. She made a wonderful post about her many accomplishments and how proud she was of herself. She mentioned that she felt a bit “cringy” about being so vocal and we both agreed that it’s something people need to do more often.
As a rule people are much more likely to list the things they can’t do rather than things they can. Brits especially. It’s viewed as bragging or being boastful and is left to pretty much every other culture to do. If you’re a Brit and a women, it’s a near impossibility.
As an expat I have seen this over and over. I have so many friends that have asked me to check over CVs. Aside from being surprised at the very different styles that come from different countries, the language differences shocked me.
As you may know, I am an amateur linguist. Totally amateur. But I love how different people talk. You can tell so much about them. You can tell when they are being genuine, or when they are hiding their spite behind words of kindness. As an aside, my favourite thing is when people are trying to talk above their intellectual grade and use big words out of context. They always look so proud but it makes me inwardly (most of the time) chuckle.
Enough of petty me for a moment. Back to words.
The CVs I have seen, both to help friends and as an employer, have been very telling. I am going to generalise here, so forgive me but:
American CVs make it sound like the candidate is positively the best thing that could ever happen to your firm.
British CVs sound borderline apologetic.
Canadians are a humourous mix of the two. It’s like, “I’m great, but wait a minute, sorry, I am a bit concerned you may think I’m better than I am”! (With the notable exception of one that I read which was the biggest heap of lies I have ever read and I am astounded that the person ever gets a job, let alone the succession of jobs that they have had over the last X years – most of which are of course missing because you can’t get a new job when your next employer sees a list a mile long of failed attempts!)
Again, enough of me being a bit petty/bitchy. It’s not me. Also there was a really interesting article on what constitutes cyber crimes in the UAE and I don’t even want to start to infringe on any of those laws!
Back to my point. People need to get happy and comfortable with the self promotion and self congratulation. Why shouldn’t you be able to say something when you’ve done well or when you are pleased with yourself? Why should you dim your light so others don’t feel intimidated? Why shouldn’t you celebrate the amazing person that you are?
With this in mind, I have a challenge for you. One that I will also do myself, below after I have finished explaining…
I want you to write down 5 things that you feel are accomplishments. These could be anything from “I got out of bed today” to “I was just nominated for a Nobel Prize”. Because depending on who you are, these are both big things. If you’re suffering with depression then I know getting up can be a huge task some days. That is more than enough and you should be proud.
It doesn’t matter where you post your 5 points either. You are welcome to comment here. If you’re a blogger then maybe you can blog your points and encourage people to do the same so that this message reaches more than the 4 of you who will read this! Tweet them if you want. Text them to me? Or, simply write them in a notebook so that you know that you are celebrating yourself.
This is not a competition. There is no prize. This is purely about shining your light as brightly as you can.
Here are my points:
- I am writing this. This is an accomplishment for me at the moment. I struggle with minor depression and fairly major anxiety at the best of times, and then recently I came under attack by a faceless internet user. Their aim was to unseat my relationship, but they did so under the guise of concern. It didn’t come across that way though at all. I felt violated and bullied. Thankfully The Boy was on hand to hug me, love me and make it all better. Today is my first post since because a) I feel very strongly about this subject matter, and b) I realised that my voice cannot and should not be quietened because someone doesn’t like me, agree with my relationship, or anything else for that matter. It is my voice, being used in my space, to talk about what I want. This is a big step and I am proud of myself for rising above my own insecurities and fears in order to write something I hope will help others.
- I am a great dancer. Admittedly I need a few glasses of liquid encouragement before I really let go, but it’s true. I have rhythm and I have timing, and have a great (big) set of hips to shake along to my favourite tunes!
- My typing speed (just tested to make sure I am being truthful) is 97wpm with a 98% accuracy rate. I have long nails at the moment which accounts for both the drop in speed and the decline in accuracy since my last test. I am quite happy with the results though. It means I can use lots of words super quickly! I actually type quicker than I write with a pen and it is a damn sight more legible too!!
- I have lived in three incredibly different countries. England, where I was born and raised. Bermuda, which I moved to without knowing a soul aside from an email friendship with my first flat mate who I met through a website for buying and selling things. United Arab Emirates, which I moved two knowing 2 people (a lovely couple) in Dubai and one person in Abu Dhabi. Each country has bought it’s own ups and downs. Each has it’s own place in my heart. I am very proud of myself for being brave enough to up sticks and make a life for myself somewhere new – twice! I have thrived for it actually. I have moved forward in my career. I have learnt about different cultures and ways of living, and embraced them. I have made friends who I love like family. I have lived my life to the fullest. When I reach the end I know that this portion of my life may not have had the most money, or made the most sensible decisions, but I have lived and loved and laughed to the best of my ability.
- I have an open and pure heart. This may not seem like an accomplishment, but I think it is one of my greatest. It has been severely tested over the course of my lifetime, but I have come out the other side a little bruised maybe but with the ability to see the good in people and to trust. I am a bit slower to let people in now, but when I do you have my full friendship. I may not see you every week, or even speak to you weekly, but you know that I am always there for you no matter what. I value my friendships above all material riches. I love my international tribe of weirdos. I miss them all so much and wish we could all live in the same place, but I recognise that we are all following our own path and that we are better people for it which in turn makes for better friendships.
So that’s it from me. I hope that I have encouraged you to look at your own achievements, no matter how small you may think you are, and to hold them up high with pride.
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Also, why don’t I have you on Insta??!!
No clue! The link is on the side so go find me!!
The link is broken 😢 my username is @expatpanda 🐼
South Africans CVs are always kind of… “Please hire me, I am a hard worker despite what it may seem like” 😀