What the World Needs Now… Is a Generous Helping of Self Promotion

by | Dec 9, 2008

Self promotion, some feel, is selfish.
In fact, authentic self promotion is one of the most generous things we can do. To understand why this is, let’s look at what’s behind much of our discomfort with self promotion.
Of Bathing Suits and Three Way Mirrors
Self promotion is a bit like buying a bathing suit.
You screw up your courage and venture into a tiny dressing room where a three-way mirror and overhead lighting expose every real and imagined flaw.
Gee. Why don’t you do this more often?
We avoid self promotion to the extent that we fear what we (and everyone else) will see in the harsh light of the dressing room.
That we aren’t perfect.
But Perfection Isn’t What the World Needs
The world isn’t hungering for more super models or crying out for manicured lawns and good hair. The world doesn’t need more perfection. We need more humanity.
And there’s nothing like self promotion for bringing one face to face with one’s own humanity.
Hey, Could You Turn that Light Down?
Self promotion shines a light on the things we want to share with the world, and, in the process, it’s illuminates things we’d rather not advertise.
That’s a good thing.
For every accomplishment we can claim with pride, there’s bound to be a corresponding flaw, error, or oversight. For every strength, there will be a weakness. There will be instances of our failure to live up to our own standards.
Conscious self promotion requires us to accept ourselves as we are without defense or justification. And it won’t let us get away with delaying life and work until we get one more certificate, one more degree, one more insight.
The Gift of Not Measuring Up
The world can’t wait until we’re perfect. (Right. Like that’s going to happen. And if it did, how would I know?)
Life, the Universe, and everything wants us to participate Here and Now.
Self promotion is one response to the call to participation. We promote ourselves not to compete against or exceed others, but to join the dance.
Far from leading to ego inflation and grandiosity, conscious, authentic self promotion calls us to humility, to a right-sizedness that is grounding and enriching in the best sense.
Self Promotion Is Creative
When we promote ourselves and our work from where we actually are (as opposed to where we think we ought to be), we invite change.
By promoting ourselves consciously and authentically, we loosen our stranglehold on our self images. Having offered them to the world, we open them (and thus ourselves) up to radical refurbishing. Like the Velveteen Rabbit with it’s bare spots and missing eye, we may be rubbed raw (and we will be made more beautiful).
But only if we are willing to be found out as less than perfect.
Self Promotion Seeds Compassion
The practice of authentic self promotion transforms the way we see the other travelers on Spaceship Earth. Because we know what it is to publicly affirm values we do not always embody, we may find ourselves strangely moved by the other Human Beans who fall short of their ideals.
In these and so many other ways, conscious, authentic self promotion is a generous act. When we accept the challenge of “putting ourselves out there” as a call to deeper engagement rather than shallow manipulation, we are putting our small selves on the line for the sake of something bigger than we can imagine.