Bragging about my accomplishments is not something I would typically consider myself “good” at doing. In fact, most women typically are not good at bragging about themselves. However, I recently had the opportunity to participate in a “Bragging Rights” session through my work’s Women’s Network.
How Bragging Rights Works
The bragging session is based on an Agile Coaching practice that is great for team building. This particular exercise, called journey lines, takes an audience through the highs and lows of one’s career and personal life. Each bragger only shares as much as she is comfortable with sharing. In our sessions, the small audience of about 15 people are given plastic mini-clappers to “applaud” the bragger as a way to show support of the topic just hit upon.
Nerves Set In
My husband, who works at the same company as me—and who is also my biggest cheerleader—nudged the organizers of the new monthly “lunch and learn” to ask me to be a participant. I immediately said yes because I know that I need to work on my public speaking skills, but as my presentation day drew closer, my nerves started to get the best of me. I started out with a bit of a shaky voice.
You Know Your Story Best
In my head, trying to calm my nerves, I told myself—no one knows this story better than me…because it’s my story, my journey. After my FitBit showed that my heart rate hit above 140 for a few seconds, I was able to take control of my nerves and took everyone in the room through my journey.
I bragged on my highest of highs—meeting my husband back in 2002, marriage, my son’s birth, and yes, even being broken up with by a mediocre boy a decade ago, which led me to purchase my first home on my own. I still own that little 1940s condo. I talked about the lowest lows that I felt comfortable sharing—Katrina, almost losing my dog several years back. And then I hit on things in between—my career moves, being turned down for raises and promotions, my decision to leave a job 4 months after returning from maternity leave. I shared lessons learned throughout all of these instances.
The Unexpected Outcome
All in all, the exercise was therapeutic, invigorating and empowering. I couldn’t help but smile when I heard the plastic mini-clappers in support of times when I took charge in my life and felt accomplished. I also felt a sense of validation by standing up in front of others saying I knew that I had worked hard and deserved XYZ raise / promotion; but in hindsight, not getting it was not technically a low for me since it forced me to get out of my comfort zone and change what I was unhappy with.
The attendees also shared feedback once I wrapped up. My favorite bits of feedback was that I am ‘wise’ and a comment that said “You’re the best. I’m so proud of you!” I bet you I know who the latter comment came from!
Why Every Woman Has Bragging Rights
Some of us grow humans inside of us, while others may deeply struggle with not being able to. (And yes, some of us may choose not to.) We raise tiny humans, some of us as working moms, some of us as stay at home moms. We all have high points, low points and everything in between. We all have a journey that is unique to us, one that is our own. Every woman has the right to brag. So go ahead, toot your own horn.