Confidence in your personal story

There are many times in life when you may feel like you have been treated unfairly or some outcome has not turned out in your favor despite your hard work and best efforts. You can either sit back, suck it up, and take it, or try to find out more and advocate for yourself. Although there are some situations where you might need to just accept an outcome, that is not always the case. You can often do more.

Here are some ways that you can advocate for yourself in a variety of circumstances (and not just in the face of failure):

  • Ask Questions. Direct inquiries towards the person in charge of the outcome and ask how the decision was (or will be) made and all of the aspects that are involved. This will help you better prepare for or respond to a situation. As an example, I once received a rejection about something that was very important to me, but then asked questions and ended up getting a second opportunity which led to an even bigger success. It always pays to inquire and take a deeper dive. You never know what might happen as a result.
  • Gather More Information. I find that I often assign my own meaning to a certain outcome or situation, and it is not always accurate. When something big is going on, related to your future (personal or professional), gather as much information about the process and all aspects that are involved. Don’t make any assumptions as they can wrong in many cases.
  • Weigh Your Options in Terms of a Next Move. If something happens that contradicts your goals and plans, look at what you can do to move forward. How will you readjust your plan to get to where you want to be? There is not a singular path to success. In fact, there are many ways to tackle it. Figure out what your new route will be and how you must adjust to put yourself on it.
  • Make a List of Your Positive Attributes. Advocating for ourselves has a lot to do with touting our positive attributes and knowing when and how we need to showcase them. The more that we practice identifying and listing them, the more likely we are to be ready for an opportunity where we need to advocate for ourselves. Know your own worth and be ready to demonstrate it when you need to.
  • Tie Your Skills to Results. After you’ve forged a list of all of your positive attributes, you should be able to tie those traits back to demonstrated results. For example, if one of your positive attributes is that you’re creative, you should outline how that creativity has led to beneficial results in your life or at work.
  • Develop a Plan of Attack or a Strong Argument. If you’re hoping to advocate for yourself in order to get a new opportunity, brainstorm about and develop your plan of attack. How will you get there? Who can help you and what are the steps along the way? If you’re advocating for yourself when something hasn’t gone your way, brainstorm about how you can present a strong argument to the decision maker about why you deserved the opportunity or expected a different outcome. Revisit your skills/positive attributes and, once again, link them to results.
  • Talk It Over. Sometimes things are just out of our control. In those cases, it pays to talk the situation over with others who are in a position of authority or someone who can help you. Think about who can give you advice or mentor you. These people can really help you advocate for yourself even more.
  • Set Your Vision for the Future. You can’t stand up for yourself and make a plan for the future without setting your vision. What do you want? What does that look like to you? How will you get there? What’s your next move and who are your allies? Answering these questions, will enable you to better advocate for yourself and get to where you want to be. You can do it!