Monday, May 25, 2009

Tooting Your Own Horn

My son plays trumpet in the 5th grade band. He's been tooting his horn since October and has improved greatly. The school pointed us in the direction of an online program called Smart Music that has helped his practice time immensely.

In fact, he has even taught himself how to play Happy Birthday and Hail to the Victors. He loves to toot his own horn both literally and figuratively, willing to show off his talent for anyone within earshot.

Sometimes it makes my wife and I uncomfortable the way he brags and boasts about his accomplishments. Which begs the question... When is it okay to toot your own horn? When does it cross the line from importance to arrogance?

There is a new book coming out this Thursday by national retail consultant and best-selling author George Whalin titled, Retail Superstars: Inside the 25 Best Independent Stores in America. Toy House and Baby Too is one of the 25 best.

Is it bragging and boasting for me to highlight this accomplishment? Is it arrogance to shout to the world about being in this book? Believe me, we are humbled to be included. But at the same time, I have an opportunity with this book to make some noise.

If my son doesn't blow his horn, it makes no noise. No one is going to blow it for him. Likewise, as a business owner, when presented with a trumpet like this book, I need to toot loud and clear. My son will play for any audience anywhere. Shouldn't businesses do the same? Especially when you get a chance to reach a new audience.

No one remembers the seventh trumpet in the back row quietly playing along with the rest of the band. We remember the soloist who stands up and plays loud and proud.

Yet too many of us are afraid of the spotlight, afraid of what some might say about us. Every soloist has his critics. But far many more praise his talents and enjoy his music.

Should you toot your own horn? Of course you should! Play it loud and proud. You'll gain far more fans than critics.

But don't forget to practice.

-Phil

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