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The myth of “shameless self-promotion”

Posted in the following categories: Decision Making, Personal Development

It’s been a particularly wild week in Varol-land, with the launch of my new book, Awaken Your Genius. I’ve been floored by the early response and reviews. This Amazon review from Robert Hill brought me to tears:

This isn’t a book. It’s an operations manual on how to live an extraordinary life. The whole time I was reading this I couldn’t get one idea out of my head… If this was a middle school or high school textbook and taught as a class/course it would literally change the world. It’s that good. You see “life changing” thrown around often on many book reviews, but this gem deserves that description. Almost every page is dog-eared and by the time I’m done with my second read through, I’m sure it will be soaked with a hi-lighter. An absolute masterpiece. 

On the media front, like Roy Kent from Ted Lasso, I’ve been “here, there, and everywhere.” A few of my most popular media appearances so far include Daniel Pink’s Pinkcast, Good Life Project, The Cathy Heller Podcast, and Fast Company.

All of this also means I’ve had zero time to write anything new this week. So I’m sharing a post from the archives on the myth of shameless self-promotion. For obvious reasons, this topic has been top of mind for me lately.


I never got the concept of “shameless self-promotion.”

The phrase presumes that self-promotion is normally shameful. And that if you’re promoting yourself—if you’re putting your ideas and your work into the world—you must be shameless.

But if you don’t promote your creations, no one else will. Life isn’t Field of Dreams, and you’re not Kevin Costner. If you build it, and do nothing to promote it, no one will come. You’ll just be a weirdo who built a baseball diamond in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa.

We often make ourselves small to make others comfortable. We shrink ourselves so we’re not visible even to our own self.

Here’s the thing: Your art enables other people’s art. Your wisdom unlocks other people’s wisdom. Your expansion inspires others to expand. Your voice can change the way that people think and act. But it can’t do any of that if you keep your mouth shut.

This doesn’t mean you spam people or take advantage of them. It means you promote with kindness. It means you promote with respect. It means you promote to people who’ve given you permission—who’ve raised their hands and said, “Yes, I want the thing.”

If you don’t promote your book, the readers won’t come.

If you don’t promote your product or your service, the customers won’t come.

If you don’t promote yourself, the job offers won’t come.

Self-promotion is not an act of shame. It’s an act of love—for others who want what you created.

It’s also an act of courage. It’s to say “Here, I made this” and risk the possibility of rejection in response. It’s to be vulnerable—and to be unselfish. It’s actually quite selfish to refuse to promote your creations in order to protect your own ego.

The alternative to self-promotion is to hide.

It’s to come up with ideas and not execute on them.

It’s to write poems and not share them.

It’s to create things and hoard them.

It’s time to take the shame out of self-promotion.

If there’s any shame, it’s in not promoting something that can move others and enrich their lives.

P.S. Here’s a bit of non-shameful self-promotion: If you haven’t ordered Awaken Your Genius yet, the two wildly popular bonuses—worth at least 10x the cost of each book—disappear at 8 pm Eastern TONIGHT.

Those bonuses are: (1) the Awaken Your Genius mini video course and (2) a recording of my 30-minute, much-talked-about keynote based on the book.

👉 HURRY! Grab the book and the bonuses at this link.

P.P.S. And here are a few favorite photos from readers posing with their newly arrived copies of the book.

Awaken Your Genius Awaken Your Genius Awaken Your Genius
The Contrarian Handbook
The Status Quo.

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