11/21/2013 05:14 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

If You Can't Brag About Yourself Find Someone Who Will

Am I good enough? When do you ask yourself that? Before you raise your hand, step up to the plate, make the big pitch, ask for the promotion?

It's been said that women don't raise their hand enough for something they're not absolutely sure they can do. And, that women resist telling people how good they actually are. I myself can attest after interviewing some of the most influential women in Canada, most of us are often quick to credit anything and everything, other than themselves, for getting them to where they are today.

It's also been said that this doesn't help us get ahead, in fact it hurts us.

Do you know who doesn't do this? Our champions. Our champions are people who know us. And our champions are awesome because they tell people how great we are, for us. Champions know what it takes to get our job done, what kind of person we are, how our talent makes us special and why other people should take note.

Champions never miss a chance to share how incredible they think we are. But when they tell people, they don't list our accomplishments, the number of deals we closed, or the number of boards we sit on, they communicate who we are as people.

This insight hit me over the head when I read the following quote in Time Magazine. The passage quotes Jodie Foster talking about how great Jennifer Lawrence is at her craft. What's magical is that she doesn't list the numbers of awards Jennifer has received or give a standard PR sound bite, or cut and paste from a biography. This is what a champion can do:

By Jodie Foster: "You'll remember where you were when you first felt it, how you were stuck to one spot like a small animal considering its end. The Jennifer Lawrence Stare. It cuts a searing swath in your gut. A reckoning. I remember going to the cutting rooms of Winter's Bone. I thought, 'Sure, this girl can act. But, man, this girl can also just be.' All of those painful secrets in her face, the feeling that there's some terrible past that's left impossibly angled bone and weariness in its wake. She's worn from the pain of living -- something none of her characters would ever have the energy to articulate. It's just part of her, like skin and muscle. The good news is that Jen, her good-humoured, ballsy, free-spirited alter ego with the husky voice and a propensity for junk food ... Jen, the spritely tomboy from Kentucky -- that Jen's got it together. A hoot. A gem. A gem with a killer stare."

There are only two people in the world who could talk about you like this; you and your champion. If you're not going to do it, well, you better get out there and find someone who will.

That's how the most influential women in Canada get ahead. And, that's why we interviewed the champions for the Top 25 Women of Influence for their magazine profiles, instead of the winners themselves. What emerged was personal. They are stories you couldn't read anywhere else, and they might bring our readers as close as some might ever come to these role models.

Read the profiles of the top 25 women of influence from their champion's point of view.


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