Deborah Oyine Aluh

In a world that seems to thrive on self-promotion and social media validation, the question of sharing success stories becomes a delicate balance between inspiration and self-aggrandizement. We often find ourselves torn between the desire to motivate others and the fear of sounding like a braggart.

Recent events have inspired me to write about this today. In this era of social media, a sizable portion of one’s professional credibility is tied to their profiles on specific platforms. On one hand, it is important to share success stories to showcase our skills and achievements and to motivate and inspire others. Sharing our accomplishments can serve as valuable evidence of our capabilities and encourage those who may be striving for similar goals. These success stories can serve as inspiration, demonstrating what can be achieved with dedication and hard work. On the other hand, there is a risk of coming across as constantly bragging or self-aggrandizing. As a very private person, I prefer not to share my accomplishments or failures with people outside my circle. I find comfort in maintaining a close-knit circle of people who support and understand my ambitions and struggles. Navigating these complex waters of marketing one`s skills and inspiring others while maintaining privacy can be challenging.

Arguments for and against posting accomplishments and success stories seem valid. An interesting article on Psychology Today caught my attention, highlighting how being too modest might hinder career advancement opportunities. This is especially true when one is still growing and needs to stand out. I wholeheartedly agree with this perspective. I have always believed in being low-key, but the experience of having the members of the jury for my Ph.D. fellowship search for information about me online during the interview was an eye-opener about the importance of marketing oneself strategically on relevant platforms. As I near the completion of my PhD, I am actively seeking opportunities to advance my career. Naturally, showcasing my achievements could be essential for gaining a competitive edge. Does this mean I must create posts specifically highlighting every accomplishment? To me, that seems subjective. I believe it is not imperative to constantly share every career milestone. While it can be argued that sharing achievements serves as inspiration and motivation for others, we can’t overlook the fact that this has been abused. Not everyone has these honorable intentions.

Also, people are growing tired of constant self-promotion. Should that prevent us from expressing what we feel strongly about, though? Well, no. Sharing our achievements is akin to walking through a hallway filled with mirrors, where misperceptions and misinterpretations of our true intentions are inevitable. The way I see it, there are no fixed rules in these matters. Engaging in self-reflection can lead us to question the motives behind these posts. Are we seeking validation through the accumulation of likes and comments? Are we striving to prove wrong those who doubted our abilities? Or do we want to inspire and motivate others? There are no right or wrong reasons for sharing our accomplishments; all these motivations hold some merit. We should do what feels right for ourselves and bring us inner peace. However, we should also be aware that research shows that people often overestimate how proud and happy others will feel for them when they engage in self-promotion, while underestimating the annoyance it may cause to recipients.

When we do share our achievements, let`s remember that it is like adding spices to a meal. A sprinkle of these accomplishments can enhance the flavor of your professional journey and inspire others. However, just like too much seasoning can overpower a dish and make it unappetizing, flaunting accomplishments excessively can come across as boastful and detract from the intended message of motivation. I think the key lies in finding the perfect balance so that it sparks curiosity without overshadowing the essence of the story. What do you think?

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