Do you find yourself time and time again in situations at work that bring up negative feelings? Are you unsure about what to do?
Good news! It's never too late to advocate for the changes you need to move closer to feeling better. 😌
For me personally, I've always been afraid to advocate for myself, but seeing my mental health decline to a low point prompted me to work up the courage to self-advocate. Now that I've done it once, it's less intimidating to do it again!
Here's what I learned from my experience, summarized into 3 easy steps. 🙌
1. Get Curious
Understanding the problem will help you articulate it well when it's time to advocate for yourself, so get curious! 💡
Identify the feeling and the situation: For example, I started noticing that I felt increasingly irritated after meetings for a particular project. Noticing that was a good place to start. 👍
Go deeper: When I dove deeper, I realized the irritation was signaling to me that I was already very busy and the unproductive meetings made me feel that my time wasn't respected. Knowing the source of my irritation helped me brainstorm specific solutions. 🧠
2. Narrow down solutions
Good solutions are known to:
address the problem
consider other important factors
be achievable in the short-term
Imagine you're me in my specific situation. Which solution would best address my irritation at unproductive meetings?
3. Get ready to advocate!
It's normal to feel nervous before speaking up for yourself. I learned a few things that help:
Practice out loud: Talk about the problem, its effects on both you and the company, and how your solution(s) address it.
Remember your strengths: List the skills and experience that make you valuable to the team. This will build your confidence and will come in handy should you feel they're relevant to the conversation.
Recruit help: Run the problem and the solutions you came up with by a supportive friend.
You really need some time off to counteract high levels of work stress, but you're nervous to ask for it. What action would be the LEAST helpful in this situation?
Advocating for yourself can seem scary, but by following these 3 steps, you're on your way to speaking up and feeling better!