Lately, there has been this massive trend of advocating for yourself. The reality is that it’s hard to advocate. Beyond that, it’s hard to advocate for yourself in one sitting. The best-laid advocations (is that even a word?) are built up over time, the series of a handful of small successful advocations that lead to the advocation of all advocations.
Since that sentence probably won’t make sense to anyone else, let me break it down. Advocating for yourself is like a muscle. You don’t go to the gym one day and max out the leg press machine without first learning how to leg press!
That being said, you don’t wake up one morning a bomb advocator, you have to start small, you have to get it wrong, and you have to learn how to advocate when it matters.
For example, if I fight tooth and nail over where we’re going for dinner – I’m going to have to fight even harder to pick the post-dinner plans. If I could care less about the food, I shouldn’t fight over it. Advocating works the same way. If you advocate and advocate and advocate at some point, you’re going to be exhausted, and everyone else is probably going to be annoyed.
You have to first learn to pick your battles and understand why you’re going to fight.
In my own life, this journey of advocating started with my hours. Who wants to work five 8 hour days a week? Not this girl!
I decided I wanted to work four 9 hour days and a 4 hour day so I could have longer weekends/really harness my morning productivity.
This ask was low impact. If they said no, whatever – but the odds of them saying yes were much higher. The point is that starting small and getting a yes built my confidence.
I was comfortable asking for what I needed.
As the day to day asks for what I needed became a normal part of my life, it was time to level my advocation skills up. The big advocation took place 2 months ago, and I can’t tell you what happened, but I can tell you getting that yes taught me that I really am my best advocate.
People can know what’s going on, but they won’t ever understand how it affects your day to day until you can lay it out for them.
My advocation recipe?
Build your case
– Gather all the information needed to present a thoughtful and compelling case. I’m talking about data, numbers, research, whatever makes sense for the situation – gather it.
List the facts
– Present the information you gathered intelligently and thoroughly. If that’s is a conversation, use notes. If it’s an email, don’t write it in a rush.
Make the ask
– Schedule the conversation, hit send on that email, do whatever you need to do to make the ask and don’t waiver.