Standing up for yourself in the workplace can be daunting, especially if you’re an introvert like me! While it can be nerve-wracking, knowing your value and how to relay it to those around you is essential. While you can’t control how others are going to talk to you, you can control how you react and what you choose to do about it. Don’t be passive, be assertive.

You’re in Control

You’re in control of your own actions. Going along to get along sounds like a peaceful approach to interacting with others, but the truth is, learning how to stand up for yourself (this includes knowing when to say no, knowing your worth, and understanding how to ask for what you want) is a much more effective approach to getting ahead in your career. It’s important to be in touch with what you want and what you need and learn how to relay that to others.

Be Clear with What You Want

Shift the focus from what others need to what you need. If you’re not sure what you want yet, try brainstorming on a piece of paper where you want to see yourself by the end of the year. How about in three years? Five years?

Start small and build your confidence up slowly. You don’t have to tackle everything at once; you can start by changing how you approach your week. Are you setting a plan for how you want your week to go? Are you taking steps toward getting what you want? If not, what steps can you take to start to achieve this? Over time you’ll find that the more you remain assertive and stand up for your needs, the less stress you’ll feel. Because you’re actually communicating your needs rather than brushing things under the rug and letting them build up.

Fake It Until You Make It Mentality

Guess what? You don’t have to be the most confident person in the room. You just have to make others believe you are. Think of the most confident person you know, and channel their energy for the day. It’s like you’re playing a role. But the more you do it, the more you’ll actually start to feel the effects and notice a difference in how you approach things.

Try Power Posing

Body posture plays a huge part in building confidence. It’s been shown that there is an actual physical response to taking up more space and that assuming a power pose for two minutes can lead to hormonal changes that reconfigure the brain in ways that make you more assertive and less reactive to stress. When you walk, try to walk with your head up and shoulders back and keep your focus on what’s in front of you rather than looking at the ground. Or, when seated, try to make yourself as big as possible. Put your hands behind your head and stick your legs out.

When I was starting in my career, I found myself to be incredibly shy and sort of paralyzed by imposter syndrome. I remember watching a Ted Talk about how using an expansive power pose can actually give us confidence. The more I practiced this kind of posture, the more I found myself naturally making those power poses because that was how I truly felt.

Embrace the Learning Curve

Understand that all of this will be a learning curve. There will be times when you feel that you’ve overstepped or realize that maybe you should have spoken up more. And that’s okay. Embrace your mistakes and try not to be too hard on yourself. You’re learning how to stand up for yourself and how to embrace your own needs in the workplace. Putting yourself first and building your confidence will take some time.

Think things through before acting on them. Always try to avoid anger when standing up for yourself and opt to use a calm, friendly approach with careful reasoning. This might mean stepping away from the situation for a moment to figure out the best way to approach it. Often, when people approach something with anger it becomes counterproductive. Make sure to choose your words wisely, and speak to people the way you would like to be spoken to.

For even more helpful tips on standing up for yourself and building your confidence, check out my DevelopHer Membership. I created this membership to provide a dedicated and supportive community for thousands of hard-working women in tech. We have two monthly coaching meetings where we make sure you’re on track to reaching your goals and getting ahead in your career and daily, bite-sized challenges designed to help you level up your career in less than five minutes a day!

I want to help you get the career you deserve, and that starts with knowing your value and how to relay that value to others. When done correctly, standing up for yourself will feel empowering. And I want to help you achieve that!

Take Control of Your Career.

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Take Control of Your Career!

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