Do you speak up for yourself? Do you voice your needs and concerns?
Often children, especially girls, are taught to be nice, to think of others, to put themselves last. As a result, they may be very good at speaking up for what they want for someone else, but not so good at speaking up for themselves. This is unfortunate.
In the business world, you will stall your career if you fail to speak up. You are paid for your knowledge and it doesn’t serve you or your employer if you are quiet. In addition to voicing your opinions and thoughts, you also have to speak up for the things you want: training, advice, mentoring, raises, promotions, special projects, introductions – the list is long. When you speak up, you have a much better chance of advancing your career and meeting your goals.
In life it is equally important. It can be the little things, such as deciding where to go to lunch, or something more important. This is true if you are dealing with your partner, children or other relatives, the clerk at the store or anyone else.
When you fail to speak up for yourself, you give others permission to make choices for you, thereby taking control of your life. You give them permission to ignore your opinions, wants and needs. When you do this, you have no basis for getting upset; your only reasonable option is to happily go along with what others decide for you. While this might be acceptable on rare occasions, it strips you of your personal power and self-esteem when done repeatedly.
A few tips for speaking up effectively:
- Know and own the fact that you have the right to speak up for yourself. You do not need permission.
- Rein in your emotions. If you are emotional, you cannot think clearly. Additionally, many people see emotional outbursts as a weakness.
- Be clear and concise. This is not the time to beat about the bush, so get to the point. Make sure there is no ambiguity in your message.
- Be assertive. If you are too passive, you will be ignored. If you are aggressive, you will break trust and relationship. State your mind assertively and you will be heard.
- Listen to the response you get thoughtfully and respectfully. Others also have the right to express their needs and opinions. If the response is not the one you wanted, you have an opportunity to engage in dialogue and find common ground.
It is easy to let others control our lives, but it is not fulfilling. You owe it to yourself to live your life fully. Speak up and make your dreams come true.