by Rose McClement
DO YOU TOOT YOUR OWN HORN? Is that something that you are comfortable with doing?
About two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending Abigail Klopper’s Cafinnate Academy online coffee meet-up by means of Facebook Live. Towards the close of the meetup, this issue of ‘tooting your own horn‘ came up. “Do you do it?“, was the question. That touched an open spot for me. It got me thinking about this issue, although I will admit, not very seriously at the time.
This morning sitting on the edge of the bed, feet on the ground, I was taken back to what I had experienced and felt during COVID. I spoke about it in my last post. It was about the issue of honouring my own voice, my own inner knowing, and just switching off the outside noise and voices. This was something that was going at full tilt at the start and early days of COVID and lockdown.
Today, I almost want to say to this Rose person, “Who are you and what have you done with the Rose that came before you?” That Rose was not tuned in to her own voice, her own opinion, her own mind, her own heart. She was swayed by all the voices around her – gave them more credence and validity. She second and third guessed herself most of the time. She always felt that others knew better than her, were better than her and despite her leadership qualities allowed others to set the pace. She literally handed her power over to them. It was helluva stressful and helluva confusing. There just was no ‘off-switch’ to flip when it came to holding her own space.
Until recently, within the context of my work as an interior decorator – well, you can just imagine – confidence in my ability to create a lovely interior space for my clients was on shaky ground. I had loads of enthusiasm, loads of proactivity, loads of commitment and loads of personality. All which worked as a surprisingly good smoke screen and can masquerade as confidence.
My passionate journey of interior exploration and work is a long one. So, I will skip over a great deal of it and just say that despite myself, because I threw myself wholeheartedly into this creative work, my talents and skills developed over the years. Yet, even after many years, I took an awfully long time before I was willing to admit that I am an ‘Expert‘. I mean, I would never have dared to adopt the title of ‘Expert‘ – who does that for Pete’s sake?! Others, but not moi! Who would dare to toot their own horn? Who would be that cheeky? Really!! Others out there maybe – but definitely not me.
Only in the last 7 to 8 years have I started to ‘notice’ myself. Notice the expertise I gained from over 30 years of working in this industry. Notice that I could add value to my clients and myself for that matter. It has been a slow transition from that place of ‘hiding my talents under a bushel’ to being able to ‘toot my own horn’.
Starting Design Monarchy in 2010, with Marica at my side, brought into focus the necessity for visibility. I must admit that becoming visible to the market and to our ideal client was always a puzzle to me. How does one do that? How can Design Monarchy be visible to the outside world? I mean really visible! Marketing – yes. What else? The question was asked, “Do you toot your own horn?” OUUCH!! “A little bit” was my reply. “I network,” I said sheepishly.
Well, this week past during an online networking session my dear friend Gwen Serrotti, owner of Xtraordinary Women, took me to task about this business of ‘hiding‘ my achievements and talents. She reminded me of the fact that Design Monarchy projects have been published in one of the top national home magazines in both English and Afrikaans. More than once – including a 12-page spread – with a front cover exposure. Gwen was determined to drive this point home for me. She reminded me of all the times I had been asked to give ‘Expert advice‘ for publications as well. She went on to share that she had read about me even before I had attended my first network meeting back in 2000-and-something (2013 or 2014, I think).
Sitting there staring at Gwen’s image on my laptop screen during that Zoom Session, it began to really dawn on me that it is completely and utterly ‘okay’ for me to ‘toot my own horn‘. I had earned my stripes over the 30-odd years, even more so during these past 15 years. What has been achieved is honouring my authentic self. In fact, right now it feels that I should have a bit of a ‘coming out’ party. I like this new Rose that I see!
I always thought that ‘tooting your own horn‘ was arrogant. NO – it feels good! It feels real and it feels YUMMY!! Point taken Abigail and Gwen. Thank you both.
Furthermore, I know like I know, that I am not the only one that has experienced this type of journey. I know that many of us are inclined to hide our light under the bush. We are not keen on mounting the lamp on a pedestal for all to see as well as draw benefit from that light.
I am so very keen to hear your story, your challenge with ‘tooting your own horn’ and how you either got there or intend to get there. TELL ME, I’M WAITING!!!
Are YOU ready to toot your own horn? It does not have to be a magazine publication. It could just be some other way that you have seen your value and your worth.
Okay, the ‘tooting of this horn‘ is done (for now).
Until next we speak. Cheerio