How to (Properly) Toot Your Own Horn

I’d like to start this by saying we all toot our own horn. I do it all the time and I enjoy it! I often do sarcastically to flirt with my wife because she gives me this little eye roll thing that just drives me wild (it fuels me). We are all hungry for attention. We all need acknowledgement. It’s a shame that sometimes people do need to truly toot their own horn to recharge themselves. If you must, there is a way to do it that gets you far more volume than your standard noisy cymbal. I think we can all agree that it is not truly satisfying to do it the way everyone else does it.

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The key to this unique toot is this..you ready? It’s quiet and it’s not really about you at all. If what we want is attention, the best way to get that is to be acknowledged for your actions. If you really have to speak up so loudly about yourself there are two possible things wrong here:

  1. You aren’t doing enough “doing” to get truly noticed. Maybe you need to narrow down what your reward expectations are and refocus your energy into that.
  2. You are surrounded by people that do not know how to properly encourage you. This is an unfortunate truth for a lot of us. All you can do is keep doing what you’re doing, champ. Drop some direct conversation on that person that should be acknowledging you to let them know where you stand. Good managers know how far an appreciated employee can take the company, and a good wife or husband knows the reward they get when they give the proper acknowledgement.

So what does that look like in real life?

At your job

As a leader, I will find a way to acknowledge you in front of everyone if you are that quiet worker who does the right thing because it’s the right thing. Oh yes, I see you calling your own name for every good work and you will be rewarded for that, but for the person that quietly does the right thing without copying every manager and leader along the way, I see you so much more. I am ready and eager to make sure every important person in the company knows the good work you are doing. Please allow me to toot that horn for you.

In your relationships

There is a scripture that says, “A man who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:28) I absolutely love this scripture because it is so powerful. Powerful, in my opinion, is something that is actually productive-something that produces a result. There is nothing more productive than taking care of someone else so they will also take care of you. Everyone wins! At the same time, you get to toot your own horn in a very powerful and unique way: by quietly (without drawing attention to) loving your wife (or husband, this applies to you ladies, too!). Loving is much deeper than good sex or buying them dinner every once in a while. I mean the 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love that forgives, gives patience, offers support, listens intently, cares deeply, and so on. You do that consistently and you will have the toot heard ’round the world! Any of you guys or gals that aren’t currently in good standing with your significant other are especially open to the benefit of this because it won’t be expected.

As a Christian

This is a big one to me. I see so many people throw their name in on someone else’s accomplishments and sometimes even throw in the Lord’s name as a side note to themselves. Jesus was not about that at all! He was as humble and wise as they come. The entire chapter of Matthew 6 describes various situations where He says you should do good things in secret, specifically to avoid tooting your own horn. It’s called humility, and it is extremely powerful and lovable. One of my favorite scriptures tied to this topic is 1 Corinthians 13:1. It talks about doing all these powerful things that draw great attention because of the label it carries but at the end of the day, if they can’t love on people from the goodness of their heart, they are just a clanging cymbal. This is huge. It is commonly understood that no one really likes a showboat. Sure, sometimes over-confidence is attractive and bold, but for the most part, people prefer humility and acceptance above all. If we can’t show this, we do nothing for the faith because we do nothing for the people. Anytime we are the only one to benefit, there is more we can do.

I don’t know how everyone in your life operates, but I can promise you that there is something in us that admires a quiet worker of life. You have every right to call some attention to yourself if you are not getting it, but I want to encourage you to hold on, bite down, and keep going for a little while longer. It’s the right thing to do and it will always be more satisfying. There are people eagerly waiting to acknowledge you if you are in the right place. Toot on, folks!

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