Every year you will experience various types of achievements. Some are massive milestones, while others are small, little victories. Either way, you crushed a goal and you should be proud of that.
Too many times, we downplay our achievements and make them seem like something they are not. You might…
- Make it seem like it was easy: “Oh, really, it is nothing” … “Honestly, it was cake to get it done.”
- Focus on something in the future: “Yeah, I am proud of myself, but I cant wait till I finally achieve _________.”
- Ignore your own achievement and pass the celebration on to someone else instead: “Yeah, but did you see how well _________ did it.”
Bottom line: it is a bad habit. It does not help you grow.
I recently was granted tenure for my school district (woo!). After some reflection, I found that I was downplaying my achievement when others were talking to me about it before my meeting. Honestly, it IS a big deal! I put my heart and soul into teaching the past four years. I am well deserving of praise and should not be afraid to scream that from the mountaintops!!
Easier said than done. Celebrating your achievements is a skill and a practice. So, my focus lately has been on finding ways to begin to learn how to do this without sounding like I am bragging. When it all comes down to it, this is directly linked to self-love.
In this post, I am going to specifically explain why downplaying your achievements is lame.
I will also give you three practices you can use today to begin to celebrate your achievements authentically!
Why You Should STOP Downplaying Your Achievements
You put in time, dedication, & heart!
Whatever achievements you experience, it takes time. Most don’t just fall into your lap. And, if they do, that is straight up luck (nope…not the same thing!). An achievement is when you work your tail off trying to get somewhere. You might be working towards a certain career. Or, you just want to get those loans paid off! Heck, your goal might be to only watch ONE Real Housewives episode every other day—they can be quite addicting. Regardless, these all take time, dedication, and heart.
If something you are working towards achieve takes a lot of time and effort, why would you want to act like it is no big deal? I do not know the answer to that. But, we all do it.
You might spend 6 months getting together the money to buy a new car. You have been driving that beat up Honda since senior year of high school. The sacrifice? You stayed in most times when your friends went out. You skipped that Cabo trip. You downsized you apartment. But, when someone tells you, “Congrats on your new car! Are you enjoying it?” You respond with, “Eh, it’s a car! No big deal. Just glad it doesn’t break down every other month like my old one.”
No. You spent 6 months dedicating yourself to reach that $7,000 mark you wanted to use for a down payment. And that car you bought? You had your heart set on that color. That brand. That year, make, & model.
Stop downplaying how proud you are that you reached your goal. Focus on saying you’re excited that you were able to put a downpayment on the car by yourself. That you love how it drives and the memories you’re going to make with it.
You send people a message that you are less than AWESOME!
When you act like your achievements are “nothing,” you are sending the same message about yourself. You cannot control what other people think of you. What you do and say is interpreted by others based on their experiences. But, you do have control of giving people information about yourself. How they process what you tell them is up to them. Everything that comes out of our mouths contributes to perceptions that we, and others, form about each other.
For example, you’re proud that you got a promotion. When others congratulate you, you explain that you worked so hard and staying late for three months definitely helped. You are sending a message that you value yourself. A message that you worked hard and, when others work hard, they will get something in return. It will send positive vibes into the universe and will inspire others to try to crush their own goals.
Downplaying your achievements just contributes to our “not enough” society. It breeds perfectionism and makes it difficult for others to find peace in each achievement. Instead of celebrating, people are left reaching for more and more and more. Never an end in sight. Never a glimpse of happiness…or “enoughness.”
So, choose to stop setting unrealistic standards for others. Choose to acknowledge all of the hard work and motivate others to keep pushing forward themselves.
It is inauthentic. People will have a difficult time connecting with you.
Really… if you are downplaying your achievements you’re being a big fat liar. Why is that, you ask? Because you actually care that you met that goal! You worked for three years to reach this point. You sacrificed hours of sleep, time with your friends and family, and you haven’t had a home cooked meal in four months! Or, you just really freakin wanted to reach this point in your life, this goal, this mini dream.
Whatever it is, you WANTED it! You set a goal and you conquered it. Heck, it doesn’t matter if you are proud you just ran your first mile loop since third grade. If you feel proud, happy, excited… well then, sista… show it! When you play it off like you don’t care, that is inauthentic. That makes you a stinking liar. You are acting like someone other than you’re self. Tell your story! Ok…don’t brag about it. No one likes that. But, say you’re proud! When you don’t, people have a difficult time connecting with you.
The truth is… people connect with real struggle. They connect with dedication, blood, sweat, and tears. Everyone has dreams and goals, both big and tiny. When you act like your achievements don’t matter, people will have a hard time relating. Because, in their own lives, they’re working hard towards goals like every human.
So, be honest. Share your journey. Talk about the hardships. Both the good and bad moments. When you do that, you will not only be demonstrating authenticity. But, you will attract genuine people in your life!!
How To Celebrate Authentically:
Focus on all of your hard work.
Instead of brushing achievements off like they are “super easy” or “no big deal”, focus on the work you did. Don’t go overboard saying every little detail about your journey. But, give some details to share that it was not easy. That all the hard work got you to where you wanted to be. When you do that, people will respect you. And, if they don’t show it… they’re probably just jealous they aren’t working hard right now towards their own goals.
Also, don’t fall into the trap of using “but” when describing your achievements.
- “I worked hard to make it to this position, but I realize I have a long way to go in the company still.”
- “I cannot believe I just bought my first apartment. Such a great feeling, but I cannot wait for the day to own a house.”
Focus on how awesome your achievements are in the NOW! There will always be time for more. When you use “but,” you’re negating you’re achievements. State the facts for what they are and say them proudly!!
Share allllll the feels.
People LIKE struggle… they LIKE stories of success. That is what makes us all connect. People naturally want to know they are not alone. Chatting about all the feels around achievements can also be a great piece of a conversation. At the end of the day, don’t we all want to feel good? To feel happy? So, say it girl! Say that you are proud of your achievements and it has brought you joy in your life.
- Instead of saying, “I ran my first marathon last weekend.” Say, “I am so excited I was able to complete my first marathon last weekend! All the hard work has paid off and I feel so accomplished and motivated!”
- Or, instead of explaining, “I can’t believe I went to the gym for five days this week. I have never done that before!” Say, “It feel so good after going to the gym five days this week. I never thought I could do that before and I feel accomplished and now realize my potential.”
We are all human and have feelings attached to everything we do. Especially to our achievements. The way you explain your achievements is interpreted by the listener. When you explain your actual feelings after accomplishing a goal, you are sending people a message. They realize that there is light at the end of the pile of crap it sometimes takes to get to your goal.
Be real… be you!!! You can never go wrong with authenticity.
Spread the love & focus on being grateful.
Nobody likes a braggart. State your success, but don’t drag on and on about how amazing you are. A great way to celebrate your achievements is to share the love! Many times, especially when the achievement is big, you had help. You had cheerleaders and people who assisted you on your steps to the top. Acknowledge those people. Share with others how grateful you are for the help from others. Why should you do this? Again, CONNECTION is key.
People like being able to relate to others. When you take all the credit for something (and you shouldn’t), people will think you are arrogant. Our achievements are usually woven with the help of others.
- Try, “I am proud I made it to here. Thankfully, I had the support of ______________ on this journey.”
- Or, “With ______________ and __________________ by my side, this was able to become a realistic goal for me.”
Spreading the love in conversation shows character. It demonstrates that you are hardworking and motivated, but also kind and grateful. You will be admired by others for giving credit where credit is due.
But, little key fact, DO NOT give ALL the credit to someone else/other people if you worked hard toward your achievements. That is lame and a bad habit. It makes people think you don’t care about yourself.
Don’t act like others are THE reason you made it… YOU worked your tail off.
Share your recent achievements & celebrate them proudly!
Do you have any other suggestions for how to share your successes with others?