IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR HOW TO TOOT YOUR OWN HORN AND HOW TO BE MORE CONFIDENT (WITHOUT BEING A SHOW-OFF) THEN YOU HAVE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE!
When I was young there were a few lessons my parents ingrained in me.
Don’t be a show-off.
Always wait your turn.
Don’t take anything that isn’t offered to you.
ALWAYS be humble.
While these were great lessons to learn as a child (who can fault them even now?) it translated into me becoming an adult who liked to keep things simple.
For the majority of my adult life I have loved following the rules, talking myself down if anyone praised me (I mean, I didn’t want to be a show-off right?) and avoiding unnecessary attention if I could dodge it.
But then one day it hit me that I was suddenly 40, a published author with 18 books and rather than introducing myself as an author, I would still tell people that I was JUST a mom working as a life coach and part-time marketing manager.
No mention of the thing that brought me the greatest joy (writing).
No mention of the thing that was the source of my greatest pride (well next to giving birth to my kids, those 18 books felt like a great accomplishment. They too felt like my babies that I loved and adored so much).
Because I so badly DIDN’T WANT TO BE A SHOW-OFF, I allowed myself to stay out of the limelight (that was a place only show-offs lived, right?) and kept everything I loved hidden, so as not to make others feel what exactly: uncomfortable? Jealous? Intimidated?
I realized that was a ridiculous notion when I thought about HOW I WOULD FEEL if others did well for themselves.
I personally would be ecstatic, proud, excited and SO, SO HAPPY for my family and friends if they chased their dreams and achieved them.
I realized that only petty, insecure people would feel uncomfortable, jealous or intimidated by other people’s successes.
Most importantly, it dawned on me that while my parent’s lessons were fine, they had left out one vital piece of advice that would have made the world of difference in my life.
And that was this:
SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO TOOT YOUR OWN LIFE IN LIFE
So exactly what do I mean by “toot your own horn’?
Well technically the phrase is defined as follows:
To boast or brag about one's own abilities, skills, success, achievements, etc.
But let’s be honest, the words boast and brag suck.
For me those two words are synonymous with the much feared term “show-off” which is something I was taught not to be.
Imagine though if this definition was intertwined with a touch of humility, a sense of confidence instead of arrogance, a sense of self-respect rather than self-depreciation?
Imagine if tooting your own horn was something that demonstrated that you believed in yourself, your abilities and strengths?
Imagine if it meant that you didn’t need to hide your gifts anymore in order to make other people happy just so they could shine while your own light dimmed over time?
Here are some life truths I have discovered over the course of my life:
-Sometimes you can’t wait for other people to toot your horn for you.
-As you get older, if you talk yourself down, other people will start to believe you.
-Even worse, if you talk yourself down, YOU will start to believe you.
-Dreams don’t just fall into your lap, you have to chase them.
-If you don’t chase your dreams, no one else is going to chase them for you.
You can't build yourself up and grow big by keeping yourself small.
-If you never speak up, you will never be heard.
-If you never take action, because you are too busy downplaying your strengths, nothing will ever change.
-If you hide your talents and strengths, you risk them forever staying hidden.
-Even worse, you risk the opportunity to grow and nurture these talents and strengths and sharing them with the world.
HERE’S WHY I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE (BOTH KIDS AND ADULTS) TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO TOOT THEIR OWN HORN WHEN REQUIRED
1-Sometimes you need to be your own best friend and cheerleader.
There will be days when you need to lift yourself up if you are feeling down.
When you fall, you need to pick yourself up instead of waiting for someone else to come and save you.
And that strength – well… you will need to find it inside of you instead of searching for it in the outside world.
2- Opportunities come to those who are confident in their abilities
Sometimes it’s not the smartest person in the room that gets the job; it’s the person who had the courage to go for it.
Sometimes it’s not the person with the best message that gets heard but the person who speaks up first.
When you fail to toot your own horn, you risk never having your own personal sweet music played to the world.
3 – You can be confident without being a cocky show-off
Cocky people are usually insecure, conceited and arrogant. They believe that because they are good at stuff that that makes them SUPERIOR to others.
Make no mistake – those people are not my cup of tea.
Confident people on the other hand don’t feel the need to broadcast all their strengths to the world. They are self-assured and quietly aware of their abilities, without needing validation from others.
Confident people who toot their own horn when required are to be admired for having the courage to say, “hey this is who I am and I can do this well.”
They set a good example to others who are also skilled in different ways but feel like they have to downplay these gifts because – I DON’T KNOW WHY?
They don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings?
Someone else may think they are showing off or boasting or bragging?
Or they feel like staying small and locked inside their comfort zone will make them a better person?
TRUST ME, KEEPING YOURSELF SMALL DOES NOT MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON!
It just makes you a person who wasted opportunities and the chance to grow and benefit from your gifts and talents.
HERE’S THE DEAL
One day you are going to die.
It’s true, right? You can’t escape that fact…no one can.
One of my favorite quotes by Oliver Wendall Holmes goes as follows:
Many people die with their music still in them. Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it time runs out.
Do you have music inside you that needs to be played?
Do you have a dream to chase or a gift to share with the world?
What are you waiting for?
If you don’t start now, one day it might be too late.
So toot your own horn now.
Toot it loud and clear for the whole world to hear.
Who cares what anyone else thinks.
Let them live their lives and you live yours.
They don't have to suffer with the pain of your regret or discontent.
They don't have to walk in your shoes.
They don't get to live your life, decide your fate, or die your death.
What if you don’t know how to toot your own horn?
Look around and observe examples of successful people everywhere who are happily living their own dream.
They tooted their own horn.
They stepped up to the plate when their name was called.
Or maybe they stepped up to the plate even when the name wasn’t called and said “hey, what about me? I have something special to offer too!”
Or maybe they created their own plate and tooted their horn anyway, because WHY NOT?
WHY NOT TOOT YOUR HORN EVEN IF NOONE ELSE IS LISTENING?
Do it and do it today.
Set an example to your children and learn to walk to the beat of your own drum.
Do it even if only you can hear that beautiful sound playing.
Sometimes that is honestly enough.