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.
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