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.