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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

Should you brag about your work? [Wise Wednesdays]

It’s not bragging if you’ve done it. That’s what my coach Rich Litvin used to say to me.


I came across a message from a well-respected corporate communication expert. She shared that she had changed her mind about this. A few years ago, she believed that hard work always shows in the end. But recently she started advising people to speak up and ensure their work is recognised.





As a coach, I believe there are trends and tendencies but no one size fits all answer.


You have to understand 3 things about your context: 1) the rules of your environment; 2) your personality or beliefs; 3) your goals.


Cognitive scientists call this Relevance Realisation and Behavioural Adaptation. I like to combine these in one and call it: Relevance Enaction.


Whatever approach you take, there will be consequences. Whether you choose to conform or rebel, there are impacts on you, your career and others.


So no one can tell you exactly what to do. But they can help you understand the 3 elements above and reach your own answer and course of action i.e. your unique Relevance Enaction.



Legends in the making: Sometimes you lean in, sometimes you lean out.


I worked with a client last year who was reluctant to speak up in meetings even though she was in a leadership role. She felt that self-promotion was distasteful and that she had nothing much to say anyway. By working on these beliefs, she started leaning in and sharing more of the great work she was doing on diversity and inclusion in healthcare. She started getting noticed and invited to bigger platforms, culminating in a national Black History Month panel. Another client was very involved in promoting her work at a new company and had stellar feedback until one of the higher-ups took a disliking to her. She started to lean back and look at the bigger picture. As we explored her real goals, she realised that she didn’t want to work in the private sector anymore. While there was some initial grieving as this was a role she had worked hard for, she started to reach out to her academic network in an area she was passionate about. Within a month she found herself in a remarkable position. She was caught in a bidding war between Oxford and Cambridge Universities who both wanted to offer her research roles!


Interestingly both clients ended up leaving their roles for better ones. Does this mean that if you start speaking up, you’ll have to leave your role? No. But connecting with your deeper truth and understanding your context and your aspirations more clearly will lead you to your truer path.


While I don’t work in an organisational environment, I still experience group dynamics in a range of settings. On a group coaching call this week, someone gave feedback about a conversation they’d had with me and presented it in a way that I felt was unfair. I raised my hand to speak but we ran out of time. So I simply reached out to them through LinkedIn and shared my thoughts and a request to acknowledge my contribution more fairly in the future.


Asking for acknowledgement may seem alien but it is a leadership skill for those of us creating our own paths. Hiding and feeling resentful helps no one, especially not you.


Have a great week,



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