Last fall I heard Dee Dee Myers, former Clinton White House press secretary, speak at my local women’s foundation annual luncheon. Meyers was out promoting her book Why Women Should Rule the World. She made history as the youngest and first female press secretary in US history and is now working as an author, political pundit and social commentator. Her talk was funny, insightful and thought-provoking as she shared her experience working in the male-dominated White House. I walked away from her talk with a number of insights but the one the stuck with me the most was her plea for more women to “take the credit” for their work. Meyers said that too many of us demean our talents by downplaying our accomplishments.
Admit it, how often has someone given you praise for a job well-done and you either dismissed it outright or chalked your success up to luck or teamwork? I don’t know if it’s because many of us have good girl tendencies and fear being criticized for being arrogant or self-centered or it’s just that we have low-self esteem and don’t believe we deserve praise. Either way, it’s a career killer. When you don’t take the credit for your work, you are giving other people permission to devalue what you do. And think of it this way, if you don’t give yourself props, why should any one else?
The next time some one gives you kudos for a job well-done, just say “Thank you. I worked hard.” That wasn’t hard was it?
What do you think? Do you have a hard time taking the credit for your work or accepting praise?
I needed this. Last year I worked on a $25million portfolio and my boss told me how impressed he was. All I did was smile and walked away. I called my husband and boasted about my accomplishments, but I never told my boss how much hard work I had put into making the year a successful one. In my mind, I figured he knew. Thanks Portia. I wish I was at the talk, Meyer seems like someone I could learn a lot from. Do you happen to have a copy of her book?
Oh, Blessing. I can so relate to this. One the one hand, we don’t want to let our colleagues see us sweat but on the other hand if we make it look too easy, our work isn’t totally appreciated. You DO work hard and you DO deserve to own all the credit. Next time I predict you will :-). I still call my husband when I knock one out of the park but I really try to remind myself to accept the compliment from colleagues – especially my boss. Dee Dee Meyer’s book is great though it’s a bit on the political wonky side (which I love). It’s not the best book I’ve ever read but she has some good insights and is worth going to hear speak if she comes to your town.