bisila bokoko

We share with you a post published in ‘Thrive Global’ in which you can learn more about our speaker Bisila Bokoko:

“I don’t Know How To Sell Myself


“I don’t know how to sell myself” is a common statement that I hear all of the time. People ask me, “I have been in business for a long time, I have great experience, and I know I am good at what I do, so how do I market myself? How do I get out there?”

I have had this conversation with professionals, entrepreneurs, CEOs, artists, college graduates, and mentees. Knowing how to sell oneself is a challenge for many people in all walks of life.


I have observed that the dimension of this issue varies by culture. Some cultures are more receptive than others are to the concept of selling themselves. For example, in the US it is not perceived as a sign of arrogance to sell yourself openly and show others your gifts and skills. As a matter of fact, this is what you are supposed to do! In Spain and in the Latin American culture, if you sell yourself out loud, you are at risk of being considered too full of yourself.


A few years ago, I watched a motivational video of Oprah Winfrey in which she said, “I consider it a compliment that I am full of myself”. What she meant is that when you are full you are overflowing, and you have so much to offer, so much to give. When she is full of herself, she is also not afraid of “honoring” herself—meaning stepping into her own power. Isn’t that what is required in order to be able to sell ourselves?


Growing up, I could not help being noticed. Since I was born in Spain to an African immigrant family, I was the only black student in school, and I stood out in a crowd.  Instead, I desired to fit in and to be like the others. I had no interest in standing out. This led to a desire to be seen and heard as little as possible.


After college, it wasn’t easy for me to get a job. Since I was so used to underplaying myself, during interviews, hiring managers saw in me a person asking for a favor.  I lacked confidence and I didn’t feel I had the right to work for certain types of corporations. I finally started believing in myself due to a combination of the empowerment I received from my parents and the self-development books that I had started reading at that time. (…)”

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