Friday, February 05, 2010

professional tip #15: write your own letter of rec

I just wrote the most outrageous ode to my own awesomeness:

"With her help we have become a model of advocacy in the region and we’re proud of the generous way she shares her knowledge with our sister associations to build capacity. We now enjoy a reputation for being ahead of issues, for being a ‘first-responder’ on issues critical to victims of assault and working poor families. It’s difficult to ascribe direct causality but there is no doubt we could not have achieved this without her combination of guts, smarts and resourcefulness."

There's more but I'll stop there.

I'm applying for a competitive leadership bootcamp in DC for May and part of the application is two letters of recommendation. Who'd I pick to recommend me? My CEO and COO (I think having leadership behind you matters).  But they're busy women so I wrote the letter for them, sent it to them, said they could edit it as they saw fit  - and I'd do the rest.  One down, one to go.

Writing it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. 

Have you written a letter of your own awesomeness?

On my path to get to The Next Step I'm becoming a big believer in being your own biggest fan - especially if you're a woman.  Remember that article folks were talking about a month or so ago, about what women needed to do to be more successful - and the upshot was 'be more like a dude'?  Well, no.  I wouldn't know how to be a 'dude' if I tried - but I like being one of the smartest people in the room (and I'm not afraid of being that person in the room who also says 'I don't get it.') I like knowing what I'm capable of and doing it; I like knowing that there are things I can do better than other people. 

Why be ashamed of it?  Why be apologetic for it?
(I'm not saying be a dick.  Just be...who the hell you are. Unless you really are a dick. I can't help you with that.)

To me, not apologizing for being you (constructive warts and all) is being your own biggest fan. And being forced to write it all down makes you define who you are for yourself.  That's why I don't understand people who ask for recommendations and then leave it up to others to say something nice about them.  You're really going to trust other people with your reputation and image?  Really??  Risky.

Anyway, it felt good writing this letter.  It reminded me of why I do the work I do and why I've stayed where I am.  It returned to me some of my purpose.  And when my CEO signed off on it with a fluorish without changing one word, I squee'd a little inside.

Now if I could just conquer my fear of the networking event...


Tameshia said...

Are you applying to PLAN with NWLC? I did it in 2008, and it was a great experience. I know you don't know me, but if you want more info on it, let me know.

Delia Christina said...

yeah! i am! guh. i'm working on it right now, actually.

i'm in the weeds!

Tameshia said...

Yay! The program definitely needs more women of color!! Based on your writing here (and that Tiff told me you are pretty awesome!), your application will be great and they would be CRAZY not to accept you. Shoot me an email if you want any suggestions on your application -

Delia Christina said...

girl, i'm SO in the weeds.
this one question is making me think i'm not 'grassroots-y' enough.

i just emailed you!

オテモヤン said...