Today we're talking about the Fine Art of Shameless Self Promotion. I wrote the book on this topic. (Affiliate link.) One would think that I'd have no problem shamelessly self promoting.
One would be incorrect.
No matter how much confidence one may possess, it's hard to put yourself out there. It gets more and more difficult as the noise and the nasty increases exponentially online. Also, and this is a big one, a lot of people take issue with women who dare to shamelessly self promote.
Ladies don't demand attention. Ladies let their work speak for itself. Speak up and speak out, and you may find yourself losing followers, fans, and friends.
Put that away, Lady! No one wants to see that!
Ladies should not be bold, bodacious, nor braggadocious. Ladies should sit back and let the spotlight find them, eventually, by chance. Just a few steps to the right...and...oh sorry, darling. Maybe next time.
This is particularly true for ladies of a certain age, who should be fading away gracefully into the scenery to allow the younger ladies to step forward.
This premise is predicated on the idea that there is only so much room for women to shine, which, BTW, there is not. There is infinite room. Ageism is just another form of sexism. This idea that older women are tired and useless and need to disappear, is tired and useless and needs to disappear. Older women have plenty to bring to the table, because they've lived more, experienced more, learned more. We should be celebrating older women, not dismissing them.
I've said it before, and I'm likely to say it again, "There is room enough in the sky for every star to shine."
Instead of being threatened by a Super Nova, be inspired to shine your fabulous self even brighter. We are not dimmed by the light of others. If we all shone our lights and celebrated each other's sparkle, how fucking brilliant would that be?
Still, shameless self promotion also requires asking other people for their support and assistance. This is often awkward, at least it is for me. One cannot succeed in a vacuum. One does not want to suck, either. Therefore, asking other people to help you shine means reaching a new level of shamelessness. This is best achieved by offering a little tit for tat, because no one wants all tat and no tit.
It goes something like this:
"Hello, person I know, kind of. I am sending this semi-awkward correspondence to request your support as I attempt to defy gravity. In exchange, I will shine a spotlight on you. Then, perhaps, we can shine together."
Underneath this request in subtext is this, "I wish I had money to pay you for this. I am pulling rainbows out of my ass every day, but I've yet to reach the pot of gold. I'm just a woman standing in front of another woman asking for her support."
I spent the day yesterday sending out awkward emails. Every time I hit send I felt a heady mix of excitement and trepidation. I've been on the other end of these emails. I don't want to be the person asking for a favor and offering that nebulous thing called exposure. Nobody can pay the rent with that.
I think too much, which is a blessing and a curse.
So, in thinking too much, I think, should I articulate my trepidation in the email or does it start to sound too weird?
Then I hit send and say, "Fuck it." Either they'll be insulted or excited and I can't control that.
I have reinvented myself many times, and every time that I've succeeded it's been because I was willing to ask for help, to put myself out there, to be bold, bodacious, and braggadocious. I've also paid it forward, backwards, and sideways every step of the way.
As a woman over 50 who is just getting started and fighting the cultural attitude that it's time for me to step aside, I'm going to have to dial up the shameless even higher. After all, that's what my book is about! In the process, I'm going to encourage other women to do the same.
Shameless? Yes I am. There's no shame in shining, women.