Have you heard about self-advocacy before? According to Wikipedia, the term self-advocacy means speaking up for oneself and one’s interests. It is the ability to say what you need, want and hope for in life. Now, speaking up for oneself, going for what you want in life and expressing yourself might not be easy as it feels like but there is always a first time, to try. It is enough to say that self-advocacy is a skill that is necessary for your personal and career life.
However, learning the art of self-advocacy as a skill is crucial to your career success and it is important to engage in your abilities and know what you deserve before and during your career. It is understandable to make some mistakes while starting out on your professional journey, however, the whole point of self-advocacy is self-expression, making sure that your voice is heard, asking for help in your career so you can move forward. The goal of self- advocacy is freedom, achievements, and relevance and the first step to achieving this is becoming your own advocate.
I can hear you loud! You just asked, “but how do I advocate for myself?” How important is self- advocacy to my career? Not to worry. Career experts have confirmed that self-advocacy can change the trajectory of your career in a twinkle of an eye, it can be the difference you have been looking for in all aspects concerning your career, it can be an increase in salary, a promotion, being selected for a training, being valued as an asset etc. However, enjoying the products of self-advocacy means you also must put in some work.
One of the strategies for self-advocacy is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. What are your strengths? What makes you unique? How can you apply these qualities to your recovery? Be aware that everything in life is about balance, and true confidence comes from awareness of ourselves, both the positive and negative. Therefore, any true advocacy stems from the confidence you have in your abilities. What are your hard and soft skills? Are they required by most companies? Also, work on improving on your weaknesses. It is important to know that self-advocacy only works or is effective with a sprinkle of confidence and professionalism. Back up your claims with your achievements, and this also, will be effective when you communicate better. Now, if you have a problem with communication, sign up for a communication class, speak up during group discussions and help will come. The journey to of self-advocacy is not travelled alone, you also need to seek the opinions of people you value and let them speak of your performances, assess your strengths and weaknesses and this will help you identify areas you need to work on. Secondly, speak up for yourself! This is beyond your career but what you have achieved in your career, your achievements. Spell out your work ethic and how each is a contributing factor to the success of the goals of your employers. Talk about how you bring value to the table and how every value has its own advantage. For self-advocacy, the only tool you have is yourself, use it wisely and in terms of blowing your trumpets, no one will a better advocate than yourself.
Furthermore, one of the greatest strategies for self-advocacy is evolvement. You need to evolve in your career first and all other things shall be added, take every opportunity you know can affect your career positively and go for it. Let go of fear, do not advocate, or evolve too little because you think that is what you deserve. Strike a balance, be self-aware because you have what is takes.
It is such an important skill to be able to speak up on your own behalf, tap into that skill now!