Be Dangerous: Developing the Courage to Market Yourself


One of the most important things I learned in all my years of schooling was the ideal that, “you are dangerous”. The concept that there’s a ferocity, a desire, a passion inside each of us that is shaped by our lives, our experiences, our family and friends, all of which honed us into who we are today.

Far too often that danger, that passion, gets buried under a sea of self-doubt or fear. Fear of failure, fear of what someone else may think of you or simply a fear of succeeding. When your environment and your circumstances have successfully managed to suppress that passion it’s generally replaced with complacency.

I’m guilty of it myself. I often find myself sitting back, deflecting compliments, attempting to downplay my accomplishments simply because my own feelings of self-doubt, coupled with the general feeling that I’m not “good enough”, make me uncomfortable. Far too often I play the “aw shucks” character in hopes that people will see past that and realize I just hit the ball out of the park.

In reality, that rarely works. Unless you have the confidence to take someone by the hand and show them exactly how you crushed it, there’s a good chance they’ll never even notice it. Then, when someone comes in behind you exuding confidence and says, “hey come look at this sweet freaking double I just hit,” you may find yourself riding the bench behind someone you know you could run circles around. You’re not getting overlooked because you lacked the skill, you’re getting overlooked because you lacked the confidence to market yourself.

There’s a fine line between being confident and being an arrogant asshole, but, assuming you can back it up, there’s a decent chance that even an arrogant asshole is going to get noticed before the person that’s too afraid to market themselves effectively. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, “confidence is 90% mental, the the other half is what you bring to the table.”

Five Ways to Market Yourself Effectively

  • Be direct. If you’re presented with a problem and you have the solution, do it and do it well and don’t be afraid to take credit for it.
  • Take pride in your accomplishments. If you help the widow next door take out her garbage and she tries to praise you for that it’s OK to play that down, hell it shouldn’t be a big deal to help someone out. On the other hand, if you’re presented with a problem at work or with a client and you solve the shit out of it you don’t need to play that down. What may seem like a “simple” solution to you likely couldn’t be accomplished by a majority of people without your skill sets and ability to problem solve. Don’t brag and be a jerk, humbly accept your accolades and move on, don’t try and down play them, this can just seem like false modesty.
  • Be humble. This may seem counterintuitive to the previous point but they actually go hand in hand. Being confident isn’t synonymous with being a braggart. With humility you can learn to listen and act decisively. Your decisions won’t be made based on our ego, they’ll be based on the confidence you have knowing that you can accomplish the task at hand.
  • Take responsibility. Nothing can shatter your confidence like feeling as though you have something to hide or that a mistake you made may catch up with you at any moment. If you make a mistake point it out and ask someone to show you where you went wrong. If you’re working by yourself, take the time to research it and learn what you did wrong.
  • Share it! You can have all the knowledge and confidence in the world but unless you’re willing to reach out and help people, to share your knowledge, no one will ever know. If you’re a blogger don’t be afraid to write about what you know, share your insights, make connections and develop a community of like-minded people that you can share thoughts and ideas with.

So, are you dangerous?

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2 thoughts on “Be Dangerous: Developing the Courage to Market Yourself

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Be Dangerous: Developing the Courage to Market Yourself — James Poling -- Topsy.com

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