Are you Hiding Your Achievments?

Why do you water down your achievements – when you really don’t need to?

Why do you go out of your way to take the spotlight off you when you are ‘in danger’ of being praised publically!

Why to you go all ‘meek and humble’ when you have just done something special or been paid a compliment?

Good questions eh?

Well – let’s explore one answer and what lies behind that answer.

I have a theory that is worth considering next time you find yourself holding back from enjoying success and sharing that joy.

Before I unwrap the theory – what prompted this question?

A podcast clip played by James O’Brien on his LBC radio show recently.

It was from his ‘Full Disclosure’ podcast (good listen) – and it was something that his guest Ed Byrne said when remembering his early days doing comedy spots at gigs where he was the new kid on the block among the big ‘stars’. Small fish in big pond – but good!

“The better an open spot you do, the more meek and humble you need to behave around the professional comedians”

Ed Byrne

I instantly got what he was saying – and it was totally aligned with the ‘squashed self’ stuff I talk about.

I wanted to unpack what lies behind this very human behaviour.


It is just one of the reasons we stay in the shadows when we should be showing up to share our achievements.

There are too many aspects of this ‘holding back’ behaviour to explore in a short article – so I will keep this tidy by using my FIBs framework.

FIBs that hold us back. Fears, illusions and baggage.

When applied to holding back on sharing your achievements – the FIBs approach would look like this:

Fears Illusions and Baggage Trisha Lewis TEDx Talk

Hiding achievements out of a fear of ‘not being liked’

It’s the big one – fear of rejection. I don’t need to ramble on about this – you get it! It’s a ‘need to belong’ deep rooted thing. Of course we all want to be liked – even if we say ‘bothered?’ (Remember Catherine Tate’s character?)

Hiding achievements because we believe we ‘won’t being liked’

How often do we believe we are mind readers? A lot! How often do we make assumptions? A lot! How often do we veer towards the negative when it comes to thinking about how much we are liked? A lot! It is human – probably a warped version of a survival instinct.

I cover this more in my TEDx talk linked below!

Hiding achievements because of what happened at school!

Anyone else remember being ‘ganged up against’ at school? I don’t want to trigger seriously traumatic memories of bullying – I am thinking of the everyday obstacle course we all ran in which we had to avoid being ‘ganged up against’ or ‘teased’ in a hurtful way.

So what would we avoid doing?

We would avoid looking like teacher’s pet because we did well or sharing our newly aquired ‘lifesaving badge’ in case it looked like we were showing off!

Fast forward to early jobs or friendship groups – and those dreaded moments when you did well and someone got jealous and started bad-mouthing you to all and sundry.

Enough! No more bad memories!

The point is this baggage from the past – as well as the very human fear and illusion stuff – holds us back from showing up to share our achievements.

And that is not good.

So how do we deal with these pesky FIBs?

Welcome our good friend – the REFRAME.

Sharing your achievements is not showing off.

Repeat this simple mantra when you find yourself holding back when you should be joyfully showing up and sharing:

  • There is a big difference between being an obnoxious ‘show off’ and simply celebrating a well deserved achievement.
  • If they have a problem with my achievement – it is their problem! They have a wobbly self-esteem thing going on – be compassionate but stay in the driving seat!
  • I don’t just share my achievements – I share my ‘mess ups and muddles’.

And spend a relaxed 10 minutes watching my TEDx talk – ‘Beware the Self-Squashing Prophecy’. You will spot another thinking trap that we so easily fall into – and how to avoid it.