Self Promotion – How to Make It Not All About You

“I struggle with promoting myself. How do you navigate that in a tasteful way that doesn’t make it seem like it’s all about me? I just want to get the message out.”

It’s a common concern for a lot of people (authors, speakers, pastors, and thought leaders especially).

No matter who you are, if you have something to say or sell, there will likely come a time when you are faced with the tension of self-promotion. Most of us despise it but often it’s for the wrong reasons.

In reality what it boils down to is this…

You likely feel as if you have been called to share a message but you’re fearful of being the one to actually share it. You don’t want all that attention on YOU. Sure, you may be genuinely concerned about the message getting out and you not getting in the way BUT if you’re really, I mean really honest with yourself… I’d be willing to bet that a smidge of fear is really the driving issue.

A message can’t get shared unless there is a messenger willing to share it. Tweet That

See the irony there?

Consider this…

You have been gifted with certain talents and abilities for a reason. You are unique and God has put you here on this Earth for a purpose (such a time as this). If you feel called to share a message or help solve a problem then you should embrace it. You can be used to accomplish great things but you can’t let the fear of self-promotion be an excuse that holds you back.

To overcome it, first you need to start with a question.

Ask yourself if you truly believe in what you have to say or sell. If you do, then ask yourself if you believe that it will be of benefit to others in some way. If the answer is yes then you have an obligation to yourself and to others to share it. This becomes your WHY… why you do what you do.

It’s only self-promotion if you are focused on promoting yourself. Tweet That

If your focus is on others… serving, giving, helping, etc. then no matter what you do… it’s ultimately not about you anyways and people will recognize that. When you keep your WHY a priority then nothing you do is self-promotion (unless you start focusing on yourself). You’re simply a tool that God is using to accomplish something through.

And don’t freak out about creating a website around your name or having a Facebook page that people LIKE or a Twitter account that people follow. That’s just how people are wired.

We follow the messenger because the messenger helps us connect to the message.

Your turn…

What about you? Do you struggle with self-promotion? How do you handle it?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I love how you brought up the point about it really all just being about fear. I know that I’ve struggled many times promoting because I felt like I was being ‘self-absorbed’ or some nonsense. However, my mission has always been to help others down the road to financial freedom because it can be scary. I want others to know they are not alone and that is why I believe that the people who do follow me, follow. Thank you for the reminder Daniel! 🙂

    • Thanks Jessi. Looks like you have a great site and mission!

  • Fritz Peters

    Thank you for this well thought out post. Several years ago we left the mission field because it became too much about selling ourselves, and not enough about connecting people across countries and cultures. Our supporters were willing to support us, but did not have a vision for the ministry, or the people to whom we were ministering. In this post you clearly articulated what we felt, and have been struggling to define for ourselves. Thank you!

  • OK. Trying one more time to post this:

    Hi, Daniel – Like Fritz and Jessi, I thank you for your post. It really hit a nerve for me.

    I am the leaving, breathing example of what you are saying. My company’s name is True Voices, and my mission is to help others have the confidence and courage to be themselves out loud. Certainly the goal is their individual empowerment as well as meaning an joy in their lives, but it is also what you said about us each having been given (or simply possessing if that’s more aligned with one’s beliefs) a unique personality so that we will share it, and in that way make the world a better place.

    One of my issues is that I need to practice what I preach. This is easier in my personal life than in my professional life, because of the fear of being seen as inauthentic, and therefore not worthy of being hired (certainly not as an “authenticity coach”). But this, of course, in a blatant paradox, keeps me from being hired because no one knows about me because I have such difficulty promoting myself.

    Another other issue I have here is finding the right words and emotions underneath them to describe what I do in a way and the subsequent results so that people understand and so they can self-select and say “no, that’s not for me” or “yes, I want that.”

    And this leads me to my last point, and this is hard to say. The longer I go along in my business – and I’ve been struggling at it for a loooooooong time – the less confidence I feel that what I have to offer is all that valuable, Certainly I have had successes with clients, powerful but mostly intangible. But on some level, I have come to wonder, “if I can’t make a living at this, does that mean that what I am offering is irrelevant? Am I?”

    Surely, you can see my challenge. I do so love what I do with my clients. And I do so *not* love what I need to do – and/or know how to do it – to get those clients…

    Sorry this turned out to be so long. Thanks for “listening,” and
    thanks for any wisdom you are willing to share.

    All the best to you,

    PS There is one more thing that I just thought, while reading this over
    again: Since authenticity and integrity are among my highest values, and since I am having the thoughts I mentioned, such as, “Is what I am offering irrelevant? Am I?” does this mean that I should tell people this is how I feel? Wouldn’t that run them off? And therefore, once again, I am holding back my truth for fear of not being hired… And so the merry go round goes ‘round. Ugh.

    Again, thanks for “listening.”

  • Lisa Garon

    Wow! This article simply nailed it. I have an extreme struggle with self-promotion. Thank you for the perspective!

    • Thanks Lisa. So glad to know that you found it helpful.

  • 10000000% agree

  • deanshaw

    Create great content. Be helpful and responsive. Do that and you’ll never have to brag. The work will do it for you.

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