When Is Enough Enough?

  A few moments of preparation may give your words more influence than you’d expect.

Self-promotion or “tooting your own horn”, as it was referred to it in the last article (click here to read it), is often difficult for many. It can initiate dozens of alarming feelings which are often associated with selfishness. Yet sometimes it’s a necessary part of the job description. Athletes, for instance, frequently use it as a psychological tactic against their opponents and anyone running for political office can’t go on the stump promising only miraculous mediocrity.

So how does one know when enough is enough? What is the appropriate amount of self-promotion for any occasion? Perhaps you’ve surmised by now that there is no single answer for every situation. However, a little preparation can be extremely helpful for any challenging circumstance in which you may find yourself.

Remember, there are numerous conditions and contexts that could possibly demand different responses. A job interview, for instance, requires a better-crafted speech than a casual conversation you are having with a complete stranger.

An extremely prudent step would be to actually practice what might be said in more challenging environments. Mull over in your mind or better yet, write down what you could say or do. In private, it’s okay to exaggerate or embellish some of your hidden talents, strong abilities, and fortitude. This kind of practice is especially helpful for those who are inclined to sell themselves short. Focus on the important aspects of why you are promoting you and not how conceited you think you might sound. The advantage of practicing this kind of speech will develop your words into a more naturally flowing and confident statement.

There will always be those that no matter how sincere your intentions are, will scrutinize everything you say and search for any thread of evidence which they believe proves you are just another blowhard patting yourself on the back. But you’ll know within yourself whether or not you are being sincerely honest and truthful, or smug and arrogant. In the end, that is what really matters.

Self-confidence is a key ingredient for a happy, productive life. Many of us have been impeded from gaining it or even falsely taught that it is not true. But those who seek to rob you of this ability are really trying to gain power over you and in doing so, prove they are the ones who are truly arrogant and lack a sincere form of confidence in themselves.

It may not always be clear when enough is enough but practicing using the above techniques will help in those crucial times. The more opportunities you take, the more you’ll learn to be discreet and when to taper or even escalate your hidden talents. It is not easy and no doubt mistakes will be made but think of them as learning opportunities which will sharpen the ability to toot your own horn.

If you have any additional questions or would like some assistance with learning the art of self-promotion, please feel free to contact me. It will be a pleasure to help in any way I can.


John Dunia
John Dunia
John has a passion; and that is helping others heal from past difficulties and abuses. Healing became important when he realized how much it freed him from his own past and now works to help others experience that liberation. The key to his success was discovering that the most debilitating damage was his own shame and the destructive things he believed about who he was. Throughout his own healing journey, he became hyper-aware of how shame was affecting him while having little clue of its presence. Others noticed these changes and reached out to him for help. His methods were so effective that he made it a mission to shift his career into helping others. Adopting the term “ShameDoctor”, he continues to teach others to empower themselves through his remarkably effective techniques. “Shame is one of the biggest yet least talked about issues we face as individuals and society yet so very little is mentioned about it.” It is his purpose to change the way the world perceives shame and promote helpful and viable techniques to heal and overcome those past struggles. John’s book, “Shame On Me – Healing a Life of Shame-Based thinking” was self-published in 2016. In addition to working with clients, John also writes healing and insightful articles each week. He is also looking forward to speaking on the topics of shame and healing throughout the globe.

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  1. Important words. I was raised to believe that I would always fail which made self confidence very difficult and always whispered you’re weak, you don’t deserve to win, you’re not good enough no matter how I tried overcome the feelings. And even though I fought to elevate my self image and gained success that little voice even today pounds my self worth into the ground. Physical abuse when a child is horrific but verbal abuse can be just as devastating. It always leaves me wondering what I could have been with the reply that, maybe there’s still time

    • Hello Johnny. Yes, there is still time. This is what I do. Help others heal from these types of abuses. Let me know if you’d like further information. Thank you so much for your heart-felt response.

  2. Well said, Susan Rooks! In addition to all of Susan’s points, some people may be confident in their abilities, but “tooting their own horn” isn’t one of their strengths. Some people don’t market themselves well, even though they may be great at what they do. And, in addition to preparation, a little humility goes a long way.

    Thank you for sharing this piece. It’s definitely an important topic and your honest perspective is refreshing.

    • Thank you for your input as well, Melissa. I find it much easier promoting the talent/capabilities of others. In fact, when I consult with people, I tell them (in the case of self-promotion) to think of yourself as a good friend you know…..only that good friend happens to be you.
      I think it also depends on the situation; is this a job interview or are you among friends. As much as we may not like doing it, it is a viable skill to have.

  3. This is a tricky issue to navigate successfully, John! On social media profiles, I wince when I see so many superlatives written by the person whose profile I’m looking at.
    Reading “I’m a world-renowned …” or “I’m the only one you should ever consider hiring for …” makes me wonder why they need to write that way. It’s a turnoff for many and marks them as a braggart.

    I would rather draw my own conclusions from facts about a person without reading all those unnecessary (to me) self-chosen superlatives.

    I believe that if we need to shout out how wonderful we are … we’re unsure. That may certainly come from a childhood where praise was doled out seldom, if at all. It’s tough to see ourselves in a positive light if that’s true, right?

    And even if we had a decent amount of love, praise, or success, we might still not be sure. But to self-praise doesn’t usually work; we do come across as … all the things you mentioned.

    I guess that’s why LinkedIn or other platforms give us a place to ask for recommendations, which allow others to sing our praises so we don’t have to!

    Keep singing your song, John; you help more people than you can know with your honesty and wisdom.

    • Thank you as always for your comments, Susan. They are always well thought out. It is a difficult road to walk. But I also think that with some practice, we can learn to sound confident rather than arrogant. And you hit the nail on the head about over-selling yourself. It is often a ploy that others see in a better light than what we see ourselves.