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Growing up, many of us were taught that bragging about yourself in any way and at any time was just plain, old rude. Well, apparently, that advice sunk in pretty deep. According to a new study explained over at Fast Co., women actually feel bad while trumpeting their own accomplishments.
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Researchers at Montana State University noted that females often experience "discomfort, anxiety, fear, or nervousness, as well as physiological symptoms such as increased perspiration or heart rate” when singing their own praises. As Fast Co. points out, this could be attributed to the normative practice of raising girls to speak softly, act modestly, and just not make a fuss about themselves in public. It may also be one of the reasons why females typically don't climb the business ladder as swiftly as their male colleagues.
There is a cure, however, for this imprinted aversion to self-promotion. In this same study, female research subjects were asked to write about their own accomplishments while being led to believe that all the anxiety they were currently experiencing was caused by a "subliminal noise generator." When women attributed their nervous feelings to an outside factor, they performed the task better and with more ease.
So, what does all that mean for you? Well, a little bragging can be useful in your career. But, in order to do it tactfully and effectively, you'll need to overcome this reaction. Since the study's placebo effect isn't available to help you out, the next time you're in a position to talk yourself up to your boss, try breathing deeply and recognizing any automatic fear response as just that — an automatic response. Acknowledging that what's happening to you is a passing impulse may give you the confidence and clarity to tell people why you'd be awesome for that job/promotion/internship/etc. Just don't jump on the conference table and pull a Kanye West on us, okay? (Fast Co.)
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