How to Stand up for Yourself at Work

ShoomKloom Editorial Staff

I’ve always been a horrible team player. So to change that I learned loads about consensus, compromise and collaboration. But truth is that none of this stuff ever really worked for me. It all turned out to be empty promises of a shore I would never see (getting pretty poetic here). 

I have always been a doer, a bit on the crazy side, and when I have an idea I immediately run with it. But it happened as it had to, each time around it was the same. I tried all I could until I got utterly frustrated. There were these others in my team, always being so damn careful. So everything just took ages until all the original cool ideas went rotten and ultimately I just gave up (on myself).

Self-Sabotaging Thoughts Keeping You Unhappy

  • I should not speak up now, later it will be better
  • They are right, their ideas make much more sense
  • I need to think about my suggestion one more time before I put it out
  • I don’t know how to express my idea
  • Something is still missing for my idea to be perfect
  • It (I) will not be good enough
  • This is not the right moment to ask for a promotion, I first need to finish this project
  • It’s better I keep in the background, that way at least I will not lose my job

So I collapsed into my well known role of being the victim – using all of the above thoughts to not go for what I want – and spent most of my time blaming the others. It was just so easy to tell myself that it was all their fault. I was constantly talking to myself in my mind, either blaming or trying to downplay and justify the situation: This is just how this f*ucked up world works. There is nothing I can do. Nobody can. It will always be that way.


Surely none of this chatter made me really feel better but instead just kept me busy in my own little movie. And like that I could continue drowning in my depression. This used to be my usual work life. If by now you are surprised that I didn’t jump out of bed in joy and bliss in the mornings ready to take on the corporate world and rock’n roll – I should never write a blog again.


At some point I thought that I just needed to learn to see the value of the others as this was what I was told. So I tried that. Next I tried to sit back and relax but that also just back fired.


Soon I realized that all this fake and forced stuff simply killed my creativity. All this trying and adjusting stopped my juices from flowing. I ended up being stuck in my mind, calculating and weighing up all and everything – not far off from being a human computer: Action A and B will have consequence C.

Giving up on yourself in other life situations. Familiar?


  • You compromise in your relationship and it leaves you with this shitty feeling
  • You say yes to a birthday invitation even though you just want to be on your own
  • You give up in a discussion because the other is just more articulate
  • You listen to someone while all you want to do is walk away
  • You are going to an event to not be alone at home and yet you still feel lonely
  • You are smiling at your mother while all you want to say is: “Leave me the f*uck alone!“

To continue my story, I got bored and even more depressed with all this overthinking. At the same time I didn’t want to break the status quo: Why it had to be me again against the rest of the world? The story of my life. I am just too different, too extreme, the outsider. Never fitting in anywhere.

I was a coward, afraid that if I would truly show up as Karen – no way it could work out and I would be laughed at and ridiculed. So I made myself smaller and smaller and slowly died inside.

5 Steps I finally took to stand up for myself

#1. Taking responsibility (for real)

While attending ShoomKloom classes something shifted. I began taking responsibility. Sounds simple, right? I have heard this so many times before in all the self improvement and therapy courses I took. Just that I never fully got it.

Before ShoomKloom I thought that taking responsibility means to take responsibility for the consequences of my actions – that it actually comes after the action, as a result. But now I see that it comes even before any action on my part. It is about taking responsibility for my thoughts and feelings. They are mine and nobody else is responsible for them.

#2. Stop blaming the others and resenting the rest of the world

I loved blaming the others too much (this is not taking responsibility!) and resented life for what I didn’t do (makes no sense but that’s what I did). But then I realized that with this blaming I was actually only hurting myself.

#3. Stop holding back and allowing to be me

Holding back myself, my love, my passion, my crazy side, my intuition, my joy and laughter – that was the frustration. Nothing else and nobody else. I recognized that this small me does not serve anyone. It caused me to be miserable and unfulfilled.

Now, I put ideas out even when they are not ripe yet. I am not scared of any feedback any longer. I say what I think and I stopped pleasing. In truth, I have all options.

#4. Recognition that the empowered ME supports the whole team and permits others to do the same

Now, the amazing thing is, that in going for what I want while trusting – I relax in the team. I don’t mind if and when we change things I suggested. It can even become the opposite. I hear the others because I first listen to myself.

There is an invitation and permission for everyone to be real – manic, stressed and peaceful aspects included. And despite my belief that this could not be possible – it acually is. Things are flowing by themselves, so much more is being created. What starts with the idea with one of us is coming into full bloom when each one is adding their individual touch.

#5. Exploring new aspects of me and bringing them into the work

There is no need for me to overdo or be extreme any longer. I am exploring nuances about myself which I never knew were there. I am still a doer but I am soooo much more. I can be slow now, laze around, let an idea bake and grow, take a break when needed.

Being me is discovering myself new in each moment, exploring the options which are presenting themselves freshly. It is offering myself and my gifts in the team play.


Today I enjoy my life to the fullest in deep gratitude – as an entrepreneur as well as walking in the woods alone, or meeting friends and loved ones. This I attribute mostly to the fact that I am fully going for what I truly want.



How to Overcome Fear and Anxiety Instantly (and to Live Happily Ever After)

“Oh shit was the first thought I used to wake up to almost every morning. This first thought led to another and immediately my mind started racing in comparing myself to everybody. I should get up earlier, work harder, have a partner, a family  and a house, be more aware, look healthier and younger.”

How to Heal Your Broken Heart Today (and Find True Love)

When your heart is broken it can feel to you like you are dying. I remember break-ups in my life where I really thought that this is what the end would feel like. How little did I know that I could not be further away from truth.

How to Stand up for Yourself at Work

“I’ve always been a horrible team player. So to change that I learned loads about consensus, compromise and collaboration. But truth is that none of this stuff ever really worked for me. It all turned out to be empty promises of a shore I would never see (getting pretty poetic here).

How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

Comparison really sucks! Maybe a blunt statement but I am speaking here from my own experiences. I have been in agony comparing myself to others and created stress for no reason. When I see this comparison from a distance; it is easy to tell myself: ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING? JUST STOP IT!’

How to Avoid the Christmas Blues

I cherish the feeling of the Christmas season, the flickering streetlights lightening up the winter darkness, the smell of wood fires and Christmas trees, the coziness of a decorated home…But don’t you just hate the whole media hype around Christmas? Those layers of expectation, more and more presents and glittery clothes to buy and having to make that day one of the best days of the year.

How to Make Sure You are Having a Great Date (or not)

“Tomorrow I have a date with a man I really like. So I want this date to be really good. If it is perfect … everything will be wonderful. We will date again, be a couple, get married and walk off into the sunset … or so the story goes. That has been my romantic dream all my life.”
Most of us have a lot of expectations when we are having a date. We want…

How to Deal with Your Social Anxiety and Shyness

Social Anxiety; What it looks like, what is the cause of it, how we cope with it and steps to shift it…

Social anxiety or social phobia creates the following labels about you: withdrawn, aloof, shy, timid, quiet, awkward, nervous and fearful. Others might perceive you as disinterested, arrogant, judgmental or snobbish. Your fear results from….

How to Be Kind and True to Yourself (or From Compromise to Compassion)

We have learned (and finding loads of literature) about the goodness of compromise – the art of compromise. We believe that compromising will get us ahead in life. We mistake compromise for love. We think great relationships need compromise. We all grew up with this belief system. We drank it in our mother milk.
But does that mean it is true?

5 Tips To Release Your Sadness (and Let Your Life Be Joyful)

Have you noticed how babies cry with ease? They don’t have any filters, images or ideas about themselves. They don’t think about what their sadness could mean. They are just expressing what is in the here and now. You see, a baby cries in the moment without thinking: ‘I will not look good when I cry.’, without analyzing: ‘Is this a good time to cry or will I upset someone?’, without judging: ‘I should …

How to Live Your True Purpose (and Go Beyond Your Doubts and Obstacles)

“All my life I have looked for a meaning. I ran once around the world, looking for it everywhere, missing the Olympic Games by 0.45 seconds. I spent 400 dollars on the suit for my first interview. I have lived on 400 dollars a month. I cleaned toilets. I cried and screamed in therapy. I made friends and I lost sight of them. I stayed in five star hotels and I put myself in a mental hospital. I fell in love many times. I had my heart broken the same amount of times. And was always on the run – looking for the answer: What am I here for?

Develop Self Love (and Strengthen Your Relationship)

‘It’s not your job to like me; it’s MINE!’ Byron Katie

Love is to be nurtured within yourself. Self love doesn’t require the presence of the other.

Once you know what love is about, you are free to love. Then love becomes a natural expression of yourself and is no longer something you are looking for or feel you are lacking.

Get Our Newsletter Freshly Delivered to Your Inbox

* indicates required


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.