03/27/2013 11:42 am ET Updated May 27, 2013

If You're Not Bragging, You Should Be

Reflect on the following questions:

Do you feel uncomfortable when the spotlight is on you? Were you taught to be modest and not to brag? Do you pride yourself on being humble?

If you've answered yes to any of these, you may be sabotaging your success. Part of advancing is being able to let people know you are ready to move forward -- and how are they to know unless you tell them? There is an art to speaking up and talking about what you are proud of -- what you have accomplished alone or as a part of a team. There is no room for false modesty in business; it won't get you ahead. One of the common myths you may be buying into is "I don't need to speak up, they will notice my good work and I will be rewarded for it." Or you may be thinking, "If I let people know all I've done, they will expect more of me." Well, what if they do? You can handle it!

You need to start owning your accomplishments -- and that means you may have to learn how to brag. So how do you slip your achievements into a converation?

Here's how I did it. When I started out as just a fledgling sales person, I watched a male boss of mine assert himself with a new client every time. He would bring up something our group achieved and he would do it effortlessly. That amazed me. I didn't dare try to copy his style in the office, but I started to practice in front of the mirror at home. I'd say, "I'm Helene, and I...".

It took a bit of practice, but I began to feel confident enough that I was soon sharing my successes in passing at networking events and and on sales calls. Today, I've become a master at it and coach other women to do the same.

Want to learn this skill? If so, here's how.

1. Watch how other people seem to effortlessly talk about themselves. Note the things you should copy.
2. Practice doing them in front of a mirror till you get the hang of it.
3. Role play with someone you trust. Pick a situation that could come up, and act it out.
4. Create a mentoring circle with like-minded women where you get together and try out new skills like the one you are learning.

Take small steps and brag at least once a day. The more you do it, the easier it will get. And you'll also be a great role model for other women.