Can you write yourself a recommendation letter?

“The best recommendation letter is our lives. Everybody can read our actions and our deeds.” – Laila Gifty Akita

Humans are social beings and therefore from forming relationships to nurturing them, we use some level of instinct and good insights. Often times in order to get an idea of the people you relate with in whichever space it is, there’s a tendency to ask for recommendation or rather just ask more about them from those you trust or feel are credible enough to tell you the truth. This led to the era of recommendation letters because individuals are self-promoting in every space and therefore if we get to hear an account of who they are from another person then we stand a chance at having a clearer picture of who they are. This is why most applications we make have a provision for a recommendation or rather you give a referee in your resume who may be contacted to put in a good word for you.

This case of recommendations go in two different ways. You can be the one in need of one or the one to write one for another. Either way it is a responsibility and a test on your level of integrity. This is especially challenging if you are the one to write it when you know it puts another individuals’ chances at stake. Whatever you write for them has a bearing on how they perform and for this matter it’s a critical decision. In the last couple of years I’ve asked for recommendations more than I can count and in one way or the other, it so happened that the individuals who were to recommend me often switched the card and put it on me to draft a template on which they would make adjustments. I doubt you’d lie to someone bound to either put in a good word for you or fail you altogether. On this account, I have always tried to do my best to tell the truth but on the other hand it pushes me to work extra hard so that whenever I’m faced with the task of drafting my recommendation letter I have substantial content to write. Today I had a moment to reflect on this particular subject matter in the context of how much effort we put in our obligations & responsibilities. Often times we do the bare minimum, the problem is that when we are to make a transition we have no account of what our contributions have been and for that matter even asking for a recommendation letter becomes a challenge. In other words, we passed through the system.

Today as you read this piece, it’s my ask to you to evaluate whether if presented with an opportunity to draft your own recommendation letter you’d do it and if so what would be top of the list as your greatest attributes? If you can do this and be convinced with your contribution in the different spaces you’ve ever been in then you are good to go. Otherwise, you need to push yourself to do better. It’s the failure to do our best that pulls us back in our growth journey and if we can just put in extra effort and deliver with diligence then we are bound to reap in leaps and bounds.

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” – Mark Zuckerberg

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