"The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize." (Robert Hughes)
There is certainly a lot of swagger and narcissism in our industry. Some of it earned, but a lot of it is a consolation prize.
Some swagger is just plain offensive, but it’s almost always annoying and often disrespectful.
I confess I struggle when I see and feel the presence of unearned swagger, but I have a deeper concern for those worthy souls who don’t swagger at all, whether by choice or inability.
As a kid, I remember someone saying “it’s not being conceited if it’s true.”
There are ways to tell your story that will resonate with bosses, bookers and almost anyone in a position to help you advance your career. Regrettably, good work doesn’t always speak for itself. People in your circle may be too busy to notice or they simply may not know what your work means to your audience.
Or, they have no concept of “good work.”
Some have been taught to remain humble, to never boast or brag. Others just don’t want to come off as the annoying self-absorbed agent of irritation.
A former boss told me I needed to “brag more” about my accomplishments. (He made that remark at a meeting after I detailed my accomplishments over the previous 12 months and expressed my disappointment over receiving a 1½% raise.)
I have two brilliant colleagues who will never be at risk of engaging in offensive swagger. I hope their current accomplishments and the many certain to follow will not be their best kept secret.
The work you are doing is important. The work you will do next will be even more wonderful, important and necessary.
So please…no more secrets.
(editing credit and gratitude: Briana Younger)