No, I don’t hide my success because it is not just mine to hide. It’s my partner’s. It’s my mother’s. It’s my friend’s.
I can tell it’s starting to become annoying. I know that for some, every time I announce a new opportunity or revel in a recent accomplishment, eyes roll and loud, aggravated sighs exit otherwise pursed lips. I’m starting to realize that some people think I’m self-centered, self-involved and, well, nauseously self-indulgent. I can tell that some people were just happier with me – or at least more inclined to spend time with me – when I was struggling and poor and somewhat (definitely) miserable.
And as a woman, I have learned that the “right” thing to do is to hide my excitement or happiness or pride when something professionally positive happens. I know that I am supposed to be humble, to the point of frustration, and dismiss compliments entirely. I know that it would be more comfortable for others if I put my head down and didn’t say much and acted surprised whenever I reached a career goal.
Wow, I can’t believe it.
I don’t know how I got so lucky.
This is simply astounding and I don’t know how this happened, but I’m so grateful.
Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat.
But the truth is, I can believe it and I do know why I am so lucky and I’m extremely aware of how this all has happened. In fact, I expect these things to happen because I have worked hard for them, and I am not surprised when they happen because I am acutely aware that others have worked hard for them, too.
So when I announce a new career opportunity, I’m telling my partner thank you. I’m asking him to join me in unapologetic celebration because he has watched the baby so I could make a deadline or taken him to another room so I can attend a conference call. He has volunteered to stay up with our son in the middle of the night, so I could sleep and be refreshed for another work day, even though he will leave at 7:00 am to start his work day too.
When I celebrate another career opportunity, I’m telling my mother thank you. I’m asking her to pat herself on the back because she sent me money when I didn’t have any and covered rent when I was in danger of being past-due. She never told me my goals and aspirations were ridiculous but was constantly supportive and steadfast in her faith in me and my abilities. She did what she could, when she could, when I felt like no one else could (or would).
When I try for a greater, possibly more difficult career opportunity, I’m telling my friends thank you. I know that they’ll be positive and uplifting and constantly encouraging, reminding me of everything we have been through when we didn’t have anything to lose. They’ll understand if I have to cancel plans and they’ll be sympathetic when I find myself completely burnt out, reminding me that I would do the same if (and inevitably when) our roles are reversed.
When I stop and appreciate every career opportunity I’ve ever had, I’m teaching my son that he should always take a moment to stop what he’s doing, appreciate how far he has come, and say thank you to those who have helped him along the way. While he is young and incapable of completely comprehending the world around him—or the many ways his father and I sacrifice for him – he can still learn that even the greatest of accomplishments are never made alone. Everyone—from partners to parents to friends—contribute to an individual’s success. While personal responsibility, accountability, sacrifice and determination are paramount, success in any capacity cannot be met by one solitary, single person.
So no, I don’t hide my success because honestly, it is not just mine to hide. It’s my partner’s. It’s my mother’s. It’s my friends’. It’s everyone’s who has ever helped me, sacrificed for me, invested in me, believed in me and supported me.
Be proud of your accomplishments. Sure, some people might get annoyed or roll their eyes or let out aggravated sighs. Yes, some people might think you’re self-centered, self-involved and simply self-indulgent. But those are the people who didn’t help you reach the success you’re celebrating because the people who did are the people who know that it isn’t just about you and it isn’t just your success you’re celebrating.
Be unapologetically proud of the work you’ve done and the results you’ve obtained because of it. You, and the people who have aided you, deserve it.
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