Six or seven months ago I engaged in a digital debate with one of the members of my inner circle about how someone who is 13 years younger than us got his current job and whether they deserved it.
They told me they were frustrated because this kid had a habit of taking long lunches and producing mediocre work.
I said luck only goes so far and that sooner or later someone would notice his shortcomings.
“No they won’t, you like to think the world is a fair place but it is not. He is smarter than both of us.”
I remember rolling my eyes at the last part and thinking that intelligence had nothing to do with this other guy’s success.
Sometimes a Dunce finds a way to fool a Mutton Head for a little while but the how and why aren’t complicated.
It was marketing and self-promotion combined with a British accent that he used to fool Americans into not looking closely at what he was doing.
Are You Familiar With The Law Of Self Promotion?
I don’t know if there is an actual law of self promotion but I do know that if you are not advocating for yourself it is unlikely that others will do it for you.
We like to believe that people are paying close attention to what we do and say, especially at wherever we work and that this attention will lead to good things.
If personal experience and the stories shared by friends, family and colleagues are to be believed most of us don’t hear much about the quality of our work.
Unless that quality impacts the people we work for or with we all go about our business.
When I was new to the workforce I found the silence to be troubling but that was because my school years were always punctuated by grades and reactions to the work I turned in.
But the workforce wasn’t like that and it wasn’t necessarily because people didn’t care but because they didn’t have time to.
They were too busy and so they focused on the tasks they had in front of them and didn’t look up unless they had a reason to.
And that my friends is where that law of self promotion comes in because if you are interested in being noticed and if you want that notice to lead to positive recognition you have to do something.
You have to be the motor that powers the self promotion engine.
Don’t ask me to provide you with scientific evidence or poll results to support that.
This is a blog post, not a thesis. I am not trying to convince a panel to grant me a doctorate, I am just sharing a few thoughts and hoping you’ll join the conversation.
You Must Obligate Your Friends & Family
If you buy the argument pushed by a successful blogger you need to look around you and find who you can obligate to help promote and push your work.
“You must obligate your friends and family to promote your work. You must make them feel a need to share and promote your posts.
Those additional likes and shares will give your content weight and that will lead to it being viewed in a more positive fashion by others.”
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t like hearing or reading that. It struck me as selfish and egotistical.
There is nothing wrong with family and friends asking for help but I didn’t want to be obligated to share things I might not agree with.
But when I thought about it I had to nod my head and say I appreciated how this blogger was trying to game the system.
More shares, more likes and more activity were a good way to try and convince people and algorithms that the content was worth looking at.
Still didn’t stop my from shaking my head about how weak the actual metrics some people use to measure influence, but that is a different topic altogether.
I suppose another part of what I don’t like about obligating friends and family is how Machiavellian it feels to me.
Is my personal success so important I am willing to do whatever it takes regardless of the consequences?
I know some people who will tell you I am overthinking it and that it is not a big deal to ask our people to share a link.
But we all have lines we draw and I know where most of mine are.
I won’t ask for recommendations and endorsements from people who haven’t worked with me and I won’t give them to people I haven’t worked with.
When my daughter was around seven she told me she wanted me to tell her how to become a millionaire.
I told her she could work hard, win big or marry well and that none of those were guarantees.
When she told me to be serious I told her again to work hard and added learn how to get along with others.
Almost everyone in my circle has a story about someone that resembles The Dunce I mentioned in the beginning of this post.
You can argue and debate whether any or all of them deserve a label like Dunce or Genius but the one thing they prove to me is that a promotion isn’t always based upon merit.
And if it is not always based upon merit then there is some wiggle room in how to make it happen for ourselves.
Ask, Don’t Obligate
The girl who at seven believed I held all of the answers for how to become a millionaire hasn’t asked for my advice on the matter for a long while.
But if she did I’d tell her again to focus upon hard work and getting along with people.
I’d tell her not be afraid to engage in some self promotion but I’d push an approach where you ask and don’t obligate others to help.
The smart move is to position yourself to capitalize upon opportunities as they come and to try to do so in a way that doesn’t make others want to punch you in the nose, poke you in the eye or step on your foot.
People remember how you made them feel more than what you do/did/
What do you think?