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Do You Have a Brag Partner?

Image via Tom Wang/

I had an important meeting today that was preceded by a stress dream last night. For me a stress dream stems from my fear that I’m going to fail at something, disappoint someone or not live up to an expectation that I’ve set for myself.   For example, in college when I worked in a restaurant the stress dream was about forgetting about the drinks my customer ordered, or in college it was about showing up for class after having skipped the whole semester only to find out it was final exam time.  In my dream last night my stress stemmed from feeling like I had no control over a big meeting I was supposed to lead.

I survived my dream and the meeting today went extremely well.  Using Inner Voice (which is one of our values at Corner Alliance), I have to say, I was proud of myself  today.  I called my husband to tell him how it went and he was, as he always is, happy to hear me happy.  I then called my good friend who also knows me professionally.

My friend has been on the journey with me for years to slay my Fraud Monster and tame the anxieties that I inevitably face when preparing for certain types of engagements.  She is aware of the demons that I’ve allowed to hijack my own success and she deals with her own versions of “self-induced” professional drama – so we can relate to one another.   

When I called her today she was quick to tell me she was on a plane and had only a minute.  I said, perfect…”I wanted to tell you how proud I am of myself – I did a really great job facilitating an important client meeting…I actually feel a bit silly about saying this and even a bit childish.  AND, I really want to acknowledge myself.” 

She was thrilled to hear me say what I said. She said, “I have the same issue…I’ve been up since 3:45 this morning stressed about the workshop I have tomorrow.  I know I’m going to do a great job because I usually do, yet I’m stressed.  And tomorrow after I’ve done a great job I’ll want to share that with someone but I probably won’t because of what you said:  feeling silly or childish.”  

I proposed that she and I create the possibility of being BRAG partners--a person who can act as an accomplishments confidant, allowing you space to acknowledge the things you do well without holding back. She loved it. I love it. As for stress dreams tonight I don’t anticipate any as both my meetings tomorrow are cancelled.  If I have trouble falling asleep maybe I’ll count fraud monsters instead of sheep.

UPDATE:  my friend sent a text tonight, it said:  Brag moment:  someone in today’s workshop said he has had 60 – 70 weeks of sales training over his career and that today was among the best.

How do you make space to acknowledge your own accomplishments? 

Image via Tom Wang/


Sarah Agan is a regular contributor to Excellence in Government. She has spent the past 17 years working with clients across the federal government with a focus on helping individuals and organizations thrive.

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