This Sunday night at the Emmy Awards, you’ll hear the name of Gwendoline Christie from “Game of Thrones” among the list of nominees for Best Supporting Actress in a drama.
The epic fantasy HBO series scored 32 Emmy nominations for its final season, a record for a drama, and HBO submitted numerous talent for award consideration this year, including Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington and Peter Dinklage — but not Christie.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, networks typically aim to cap the number of actors submitted from each series. So Christie, along with co-stars Alfie Allen and Carice van Houten, nominated themselves, stumping up the $ 225 entry fee to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to put their names on the ballot.
Christie told the Los Angeles Times that although it was a challenge to advocate for herself, it was important to take control.
“It’s something I find hard to do, like everyone else,” says Christie. “But I would like to be in charge of my own destiny. And I would like to endeavor to give myself opportunities. Particularly when working very hard on something very special and you’ve pushed yourself beyond.”
Since it’s harder than ever to shine among an abundance of noise and talented people, we should all take a cue from Christie’s playbook, says Sunny Bonnell, co-author of “Rare Breed: A Guide to Success for the Defiant, Dangerous and Different” (HarperOne).
“How do you stand out in a sea of sameness?” she says. “Christie is a perfect example. Her role in ‘Game of Thrones’ is extraordinary, dynamic and notable. It takes courage to believe in yourself and toss your hat into a ring. If you don’t fight for yourself, who will?”
Jennifer Brick, a career success strategist in Soho, agrees. She became a master at advocating for herself as a manager for a Fortune 500 company in Tribeca. She consistently increased her team’s annual revenue growth by 200% and created a winning program, so Brick arranged meetings to highlight this.
“I shamelessly shared what I was creating,” says Brick. “Not only to get recognition, but so all stakeholders could see the opportunity if my initiatives were adopted by the core business.”
By communicating accomplishments to her boss, Brick seized every opportunity she could. And it wasn’t entirely self-serving, since her wins ultimately became her boss’s wins, too.
“I shared information I knew they would want to pass up the chain because it would make them look good, while putting a spotlight on my work,” she says. “My visibility skyrocketed and opportunities opened for me,” she says.
That’s the same approach Leah Jonas took. As head of global partnerships for the Hudson Yards-based Celsius Network, a financial platform leveraging block chain technology she realized that self-promotion is necessary — not optional — to accelerate your career.
Since May, Jonas has been working in the Tel Aviv office and saw that the lack of sales structure could impact the firm’s plan to scale.
“I chose to take on the mammoth task of creating an internal structure and standardized process that would give us a foundation to grow,” she says of her work in Israel. “It was out of my pay grade, so I knew I would need to approach it with confidence and convince the executive team that I was the best person to push this critical initiative forward.”
She wrote a proposal and met with the management team to gain their support. She detailed talking points ahead of time as to why she’s the best person for the job and identified skills to assure she had their best interests at heart.
Be aware, though, that your self-promotion approach needs to be well timed.
Rafe Gomez, co-owner of VC Inc. Marketing, which provides executive positioning, content creation and competitive analysis for clients, experienced backlash a few years ago by sharing specific accomplishments to a management team via email. He also mentioned his achievements on “The Groove Boutique,” a tri-state area radio show that he DJs.
“Unfortunately, several executives at the station were hugely resentful,” he says. “They equated the promotion of my work and brand with egotism and braggadocio. I was dressed down in front of my co-workers by one VP who told me to just shut up and play my music.”
Gomez learned to “be very careful how and when to share details of milestones. Others will be jealous and will seek ways to use your enthusiasm, energy and achievements against you.”
Now, he’s cautious and brings up noteworthy wins only when opportunities arise in the midst of a conversation.
Bonnell says the best time to self-promote is during performance evaluations, salary negotiations and job promotions. “The wrong place? During a team lunch, or a meeting with a client.”
Another no-no? “Pulling your boss aside with no context for the conversation,” she says. “Mostly, you want to avoid daily reminders to everyone around you of your greatness. That’s going to have the opposite effect. A tempered amount of bravado is good. Hubris is not.”
It may feel awkward, but you can’t expect anyone to be a better advocate than yourself.
“Career success is not always comfortable, and your best results will come from the discomfort zone,” says Brick. “If you don’t speak for yourself, you are surrendering control of your career. Who can you trust to keep your best interest at heart more than yourself?”