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Your Guide to Self Advocacy In The Workplace

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Self advocacy

Self advocacy is so important, but it can be challenging to navigate! I used to find the statement ‘A closed mouth doesn’t get fed’ to be so presumptuous, as if it’s just soooo easy to speak up for yourself. But once I started doing it, I realized that this is one of those statements that’s simple…but not easy.

Oftentimes we feel hesitant to communicate what we want or need. Whether that be due to fear of rejection, failure, or causing conflict - we instead choose to just put our heads down, suck it up, and push forward.

You know how you’re feeling like the work that you’re doing is a little mundane? Or that you’re under-resourced and simply need more support? Maybe you’re ready for the next level in your career, but you’re not sure how to get there. Well lean in because I want to tell you a little secret…

There is so much power in communicating to others your feelings, wants, and needs. Equally, there’s power in asking others what they need!

That’s right - it’s about finding a balance between self advocacy to receive, as well as understanding others in order to give. Here’s what I mean…

Gaining Clarity Through Coaching

I was speaking to a woman recently who shared with me that throughout her career, opportunities have just seemed to come her way organically. Opportunities to join a new team, to take on stretch assignments, to receive a promotion. However, she’s been noticing that her career has been a bit stagnant lately. She hasn’t been doing work that interests or challenges her, and she hasn’t been given a pay raise or promotion in quite some time. It’s making her feel devalued, and stuck in her career because she isn’t feeling the movement that she’s been so used to!

After some further discussion, digging deeper into what she’s experiencing, I was able to uncover the fact that because of opportunities being handed to her, she’s not used to asking for them! It was a lightbulb moment for her, and it was amazing to see 💡. I shared with her some examples of ways that she can effectively communicate to her manager what she’s currently feeling, and what she wants instead; then she was off to the races. She gained so much clarity from this conversation, and confidence to have those discussions with her manager.

On the flip side, I’ve spoken to plenty of women who are ready for the next level but are unsure of how to get there…and the solution is simple.

Make it known that you’re ready for more, and ask your manager what they need to see from you to feel certain that you’re ready to move up.

This likely won’t be a quick fix (‘Can I get that promotion like…next week!?’), but more of a path to your end goal. You’ll leave with a clear understanding of their expectations as well as a sense of timing. There are so many factors that go into giving/receiving a promotion, so it’s important that your expectations are set so that you don’t get antsy along the way.

Then there’s the very familiar question..."Should I stay, or should I go?"

This is a question that we all find ourselves asking from time to time. When you're feeling stuck in your career (bored, unchallenged, unfulfilled, at a stand-still), you start to wonder 'do I try to make it work where I'm at, or do I look elsewhere? I change careers altogether?!'. It stirs up so many questions and doubts. Believe it or not, this comes back to using your get the answers you need in order to make this decision!

So what do you say? What questions do you ask?

My Journey to Self Advocacy

I spent the majority of my life being a shy, quiet, insecure girl. Self advocacy was such a foreign concept to me! The woman that you see today is nowhere NEAR the woman that I used to be. Sitting around quietly just waiting and hoping for things to happen for me in my career is what really held me back for so long.

So you may be wondering how I overcame that. Well, it happened out of a sense of frustration. I was frustrated watching others climbing the proverbial corporate ladder more quickly than me. I was tired of feeling like I wasn't in control of the trajectory of my career, but was instead at the mercy of those above me. So...I decided to get out of the backseat of my career, and jump into the driver's seat. I did it scared, unsure, and without any guidance. But the important part is that I did it. And I'm so proud of where it led me.

This is why I'm so adamant about helping other women gain the clarity & confidence they need to thrive in their careers. It starts with you using your voice...effectively (because Queens always communicate with tact 😉 👑).

A Resource to Support You

I’ve created a resource to help you understand how to reclaim your time, advocate for yourself, and get clear on what questions to ask in order to get what you want!

Are you ready? Let’s go!


Curious about the other ways to advocate for yourself? This article summarizes all of the areas of self advocacy that I had to learn the hard way…through trial and error.

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