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Toot Your Horn


trumpet1After writing two posts about how challenging it was to downsize and move, I wanted to write about how absolutely wonderful everything in my life is right now. But… I hesitated. Why is it that we, as women, feel the need to play things down?

I was taught not to “toot my own horn.” I was also taught not to complain because “half the people you tell don’t care, and the other half will think you deserve it.”

The sad truth is, societal expectations of women still place a high-value on modesty and collaboration. Many women see self-promotion as “bragging, egotistical, a guy’s game.” We want to be relatable. We want to make those around us comfortable so we wait to be noticed, but by doing so, we miss out on opportunities and end up feeling bad about ourselves.

Are we sorry we are earning a good living? Should we apologize for achieving a dream we worked hard for? Need we downplay our success in order not to intimidate others whose lives may be more modest?

We must learn to be comfortable with who we are and with our accomplishments. Now is not the time for humility, because by sharing our knowledge, experiences, and accomplishments, we raise the bar for all women.

Tara Mohr, in her book Playing Big, suggests one way of doing this–rather than promoting ourselves–is to think about making our work more visible and being of service. Marie Forleo reminds us “The world needs that special gift that only you have!” By owning our achievements, and making them more visible, we set an example that allows other women to recognize their own competence, strengths, dreams and desires.

By sharing our experiences, we let women know that things may be tough, but they get better: My downsize into a small apartment has turned out to be a good move.

We let them know that working steadily toward long-term goals will pay off: We finally bought a motorhome.

And most importantly, we show other women that we can accomplish anything at any age: My first book, Sick and Tired… & Sexy, Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness is available this week on Amazon.



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Donna O’Klock spent 35 years in the beauty business, talking, teaching, and learning. These days, she’d “rather write than talk. It’s better that way because I can edit.” She writes two blogs, and, and is the author of  Sick and Tired & Sexy: Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness.

Austin, Texas, has been her home since 1978, but she and her fiancé have downsized and are traveling the country in their RV.

12 thoughts on “Toot Your Horn”

  1. Such a great post. I love to hear the accomplishments of others. But many people are threatened by them. Maybe they feel insecure about their own lives. I’m don’t. I find them very inspiring.

  2. We’re thrilled about your new book–BRAVA–and happy that your downsizing adventure is working out. You give me hope! I know a little bit about chronic illness. It’s debilitating on every level. I’m glad you’ve learned how to cope and live your life and have shared your experiences with us. So valuable! xoxo, Brenda

  3. Congratulations on your book, Donna! It was a joy to witness your journey of becoming a published author, and I know your book will be a huge encouragement to so many. You are a beautiful friend! And you have every right to toot your own horn. XOXO

    • Thank you, Susan, for your encouraging words! I’ll dig my trumpet out, and and give it a good polishing!

  4. Congratulations on your book, what an achievement! And I love this post, it’s so true that we downplay our success and achievements and yet we inspire others when we go after and achieve our dreams. I was striving to hard to be relatable to some of my old friends until I recently realised that they are only going to relate to me if I sit on the couch and let life pass me by, no thank you! Esther xx

  5. Thank you, Esther! I am glad my words rang true for you…and even more glad you aren’t going to let life pass you by.
    That’s the spirit!

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