Are you a show-off? And if not, why not?

Are you proud to show off your talents and achievements? Or do you hide your light under a bushel, afraid that people may think you’re showing off?

This week, our new Sunday blogger, the Daring & Mighty Katie Phillips explains why you should be proud of your hard work and and shout about your success from the rooftops!

Are you a show-off?

All too often, women modesty hide their talents and step away from the spotlight. But why is that? And how can we learn to be more proud (and loud) about our achievements?

Today I want to SHOUT about women getting out there, being daring and mighty, revealing the amazingly talented people we really are, and generally taking up more space.

What are we afraid of?

All too often women, consciously or unconsciously, derive their sense of self partly from the groups they align themselves with (and therefore define themselves by). These groups could be their national or cultural group, their company or industry, their family, their religion or their group of friends.

And while there’s certainly a lot of comfort to be found in company, does this group-identification have a price? And could that price sometimes be inheriting the cultural prejudices and conditioning of a group to the detriment of our individuality?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not for one minute saying ‘ditch your mates’, but the very nature of group-think can be contra to your true self. You see, many women feel uncomfortable with standing out, as if stepping out of their comfort zone may cost them the protection of their tribe.

How we’ve learned to become careful

In Britain, restraint and understatement have almost become national characteristics. It may be that we inherited the post-war mindset of a couple of generations ago – one of being careful and cautious, and definitely not being decadent, standing out or causing ripples.

We may also have inherited some religious conditioning – remember that pride is a deadly sin, and that old chestnut the Tall Poppy Syndrome, which can mow you to the ground in an instant.

As a result, we’ve become careful. We make sure that our light is not too bright, that we are not too radical, too beautiful, too celebratory of ourselves, too authentic.

What do we risk by standing out?

Why do we do this? If we found the courage to celebrate ourselves, what would we risk? If we started that business, if we wore bright colours and kick-ass heels, if we dared to follow our true and authentic dreams, if we led the way and broke the mould, what would the real danger be?

Perhaps we might think, ‘I’ll lose my friends’, ‘My family won’t accept me’, ‘People will think I’m vain or narcissistic’. Or maybe we’re afraid that we’ll outshine others and therefore lose their acceptance somehow.

I had a little experience of this last one recently. I was with my business mentor at her LA coaching Academy and had packed my Diane von Furstenberg dress, which is a showy little number that I reserve strictly for high days and holidays.

Anyway, a girlfriend said, “Why don’t you wear it to the conference?” What? In the day? Not to a party? Why would I want to be glamourous in the day? I tried every trick in the book to avoid wearing my DvF but not (and here’s the rub) because I thought I wouldn’t look good – but rather because I didn’t want to stand out or be too attention-seeking.

I didn’t want to be noticed for my body, for my hair or for my height. I didn’t want to show myself off, to shine too brightly and be judged for it. Well just how limiting is that? So I wore the dress and received loads of compliments. It raised my vibration and I felt amazing all day – really daring and mighty.

I challenge you to be a show-off!

So I hereby vow to have the courage to release my fears around how others perceive me – after all it’s not really my business. The only opinion I can really control is my own and I’m now giving myself permission to shine!

And I challenge you to do the same. To step into yourself, take up more space, and celebrate yourself. Be bigger, louder and more unashamedly feminine. To have the courage to live life on your own terms – and if that means something as simple as wearing an outfit that lights you up from the inside and makes you feel great, then go do it!

Katie Phillips is the founder of Daring & Mighty, an organisation committed to sharing the importance of having a healthy, loving and conscious relationship with yourself.