Embracing Empowerment: The Power of Advocating for Ourselves in the Workplace
In today’s competitive world, we often find ourselves immersed in work culture that demands more than just our skills and expertise. While it is true that companies should strive to create a great work environment, it is equally vital for individuals to take charge of their own well-being and advocate for themselves. By setting personal boundaries, staying resilient, and focusing on work-life balance, we can not only enhance our productivity but also ensure a healthier and happier life.
- Setting Boundaries:
Advocating for oneself starts with defining and communicating personal boundaries in the workplace. These boundaries can be related to workload, working hours, and even interpersonal interactions. By clearly expressing our limitations and sticking to them, we can prevent burnout, stress, and feelings of being overwhelmed. Remember, it is okay to say “no” and seek support when needed. Respect for our own boundaries sets the stage for others to respect them as well. It is ok to be a bit selfish, this means that you are learning to prioritize yourself when needed! Set aside time each day to do something that is important to YOU.
- The 4 C’s of Communication:
Learn to get comfortable with speaking – speaking Clearly, Consistently, Concisely and with Candor. By speaking clearly and concisely, others hear our “bullet points” and the message we are trying to convey is generally received, whereas if we communicate by story-telling or in long, drawn out explanations, our message or request may be lost. Communicate clearly to ensure the audience can hear and understand from a volume and language perspective. Communicating with candor is essential to building trust with any audience – the more transparent we are, the more trust is built with our teams over time. We should never assume that anyone can read our minds, so speak up!
- Resilience and Not Taking Things Personally:
Resilience is a trait that can transform how we handle challenges and setbacks at work. While it’s essential to take pride in our achievements, it’s equally vital to understand that not every decision or comment will be in our favor. Developing a “thicker skin” can protect us from getting demotivated by criticism or workplace drama. Rather than internalizing every situation, we should view them as learning opportunities and focus on the path to growth. At times, this is easier said than done, but taking a breath, grounding ourselves back in reality and setting aside the emotion is often the best choice. This leads to improved emotional intelligence – the ability to understand, use and manage our own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate more effectively, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.
- Avoiding Office Politics:
Office politics are inevitable but can be toxic and detrimental to our well-being and productivity. By steering away from unnecessary drama and gossip, we can maintain a positive work environment for ourselves and our colleagues. Instead of engaging in gossip or unhealthy competition, we should channel our energy into building meaningful relationships and supporting our teams. Focusing on cooperation and collaboration will lead to a more harmonious workplace. Additionally, if we see something inappropriate occurring in our workplace, having open and honest conversations to call out the misbehavior is required. Drama and negative politics cannot be left to fester as the situations will usually become worse if left untreated.
- Work-Life Balance:
In the pursuit of success, many fall into the trap of becoming labeled a “workaholic”. The glorification of working long hours, working after hours or during vacations can negatively impact our physical and mental health, which ultimately can lead to burnout. Remember, real success lies in maintaining a healthy balance between professional and personal life. Taking time off to recharge, pursuing hobbies, spending quality time with loved ones, and engaging in activities outside of work are necessary to make us more productive and fulfilled in the long run – both for the business and personal.
- Never Forget Where You Started:
Let’s give ourselves some grace. Take a moment to reflect on how far you have come! Never lose sight of where you started – how and when did you start learning your craft, what have you learned, what did it take to make it to where you are today. Those are huge milestones! We should never compare ourselves to anyone else’s story. We own our story, and the happy ending is ours to write.
Advocating for ourselves is an essential step toward personal growth and fulfillment. While companies should strive to create a positive work culture, it is crucial for each of us to also take charge of our well-being by setting boundaries, communicating effectively, embracing resilience, avoiding drama and cheering ourselves on. Remember, true success is not defined by overworking but by finding a balance that allows us to thrive both professionally and personally. By prioritizing self-advocacy and work-life balance, we can pave the way for a happier and healthier future, not just for ourselves but for those around us as well.
Head of Operations