Before I can advocate for a client at trial, I need to know what a win looks like for my client. I need to know what I’m out to prove. My version of a win may be something very different than his, and it’s important to be clear about what he wants. The best advocacy starts with understanding. You can’t stand up for someone until you know what they stand for.
The same is true when you’re advocating for yourself. The first step in become a good self advocate is becoming very clear on what it is you stand for, and why. The way to get clear is to ask yourself questions. When I first meet with a client I ask them–what do you want? What’s important to you? What does a win look like? I also make it clear that there are some things I stand for–integrity, kindness, joy–that cannot be compromised. When everyone knows what we stand for, advocacy becomes almost easy. Once you know who and what you stand for, the how flows from that and advocacy becomes much easier.
The best companies, with the best cultures, tend to have very clear mission statements. They’re definitive about what they stand for, and that clarity serves a few purposes. It attracts employees who stand for similar things. It sets concrete expectations. And it provides a foundation when things get confusing, as they sometimes do. If you’re working on being a better advocate for yourself, it makes sense to write your own mission statement. Be honest with yourself about where you will bend and where you won’t break. Make it short, and something you can remember. This is what you stand on-it’s your foundation
Being your own best advocate means standing up for yourself. Be clear on what you stand for, and suddenly standing up for yourself will be easy.