Be Confident: Smile and Say Thank You!

Lucinda is an excellent marketer, confident in her abilities. She knows her products, her market, her customers and her competition incredibly well. She’s creative and energetic, with a passion for her products that shows in everything she does.

Lucinda is quite successful. She wins office awards for brand performance, and publicly thanked by managers and peers. But Lucinda hates the public recognition. Why? Because she hates saying thank you!

Saying thank you, graciously accepting credit for what you have accomplished, is an important skill. When you say, ‘it was nothing’ or ‘anyone could have done it’ you undermine your own value. Was it really that simple to grow a brand in the face of newly launched competitors? Was is really that easy to cut costs in your department without losing people or productivity? If it was, why is the company paying you?

Confidence vs. Arrogance

Why is it hard to say thank you when someone complements you? Most of us worry about appearing arrogant, over-confident, or pushy. In reality, if you worry about being considered arrogant, you’re unlikely to be that way. The differences between people who are arrogant, and those who are justifiably proud of their accomplishments are simple.

 An arrogant person markets themselves aggressively, taking credit from others and focusing only on themselves. This is about dominance, and often hides low self-esteem or profound self-doubt. It’s as if they are saying ‘I don’t think I’m good, so I will flood you with information about how wonderful I am and you will never notice.’ But we always do! Tell the arrogant person he’s done a good job and he’s not likely to say ‘thank you.’ Instead, he builds up himself and his accomplishment even more, telling you how great he is, until you are sorry you brought it up!

People who are confident in themselves don’t need to put anyone else down to make themselves look better. They can accept a compliment, and talk about their accomplishments without being overbearing. Because they aren’t trying to hide their fears of incompetence, they are comfortable giving credit to all who deserve it, including themselves. Tell this kind of person that she did a great job, and she’ll thank you for the complement. You’ll hear much less ‘I’ in her response than you heard from her arrogant counterpart.

Head of the table

How to say thank you

It is possible to thank someone for recognizing your achievements without sounding arrogant. And yet, so many of us still struggle to do it. And yet by not taking credit for our hard work, we appear less confident! Saying thank you isn’t that hard. You just say two little words. Say them out loud now: “Thank you.’ Try that the next time someone complements you.

If just ‘thank you’ feels too short, here are some other options:

  • Thank you, I enjoyed working on the project
  • Thank you, I am proud of this contribution to the business

There are really endless possibilities.  Here’s two more:

  • Thank you, I am also pleased with how it turned out
  • Thank you, I am proud of our team’s success

Don’t downplay your achievements. Don’t undermine your own confidence. If you don’t consider yourself worthy of recognition, why should anyone else?

Marne Platt

Dr. Marne Platt is the President of Fundamental Capabilities and the author of 3 books (so far): Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way; Professional Presence; and PREP For Success. Originally a practicing veterinarian, she built a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. She founded Fundamental Capabilities to ‘pay it forward’ by providing career development workshops and coaching for women. ‘Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way’ is an ‘older sister in your pocket’ packed full of advice for young women on building their own independent and exciting life. 'Professional Presence' and PREP For Success' help you strengthen your spoken and unspoken communication and leadership presence.

You may also like...