Self-advocacy: Improve your life by speaking up - Deepstash
Self-advocacy: Improve your life by speaking up

Self-advocacy: Improve your life by speaking up




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What is self-advocacy?

What is self-advocacy?

Self-advocacy is the ability to speak up on your behalf effectively. You might do this to bring about positive results in any of the various contexts in which you interact — whether at work, in organizations, school, community, or family.

If there are decisions being made on your behalf or conditions that affect your well-being, it’s your right to speak up powerfully about them. You have the right to assert your own best interests.


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Understanding yourself, your values, and your needs

Self-advocacy requires that you first understand yourself (your values, your needs, and your rights) in the context in which you operate. It requires that you are aware of the support that you need and the resources that are available.

Self-advocacy also requires the ability to communicate your value, your needs, and your human rights in a way that will be understood and offer you the greatest return on the ask.


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Understanding your context

You need to understand yourself in the context of your role within the larger group. This means having a good understanding of the organization’s values, rules, rights, and resources. For instance, look at your organization’s mission and your team’s role in fulfilling that mission.

Ask yourself:

  • How do I serve the team and thereby serve the organization as a whole?
  • What are my responsibilities to the organization, and what are the organization’s responsibilities to me?
  • Do our values and talents match?
  • Can I serve the organization?
  • Does my work for the organization benefit me? 


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Build up a support system

  • Develop a robust and direct line of communication with your manager. Your manager is in the best position to advocate on your behalf. They know both you and the organization. I
  • Join — and lead — organizations that are there to support you and others, within and outside of your organization.
  • Be an ally and advocate for others. Speaking up for others is often less angst-inducing than speaking up for ourselves.
  • Continue developing yourself, building relationships with others, and being aware of opportunities and resources within your field inside and outside your present organization.


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How to communicate your needs

Make sure to take the following steps: prepare, consult, draft, and state your case.

  • To prepare, start by documenting your concerns in detail.
  • Do your research. Which laws govern the issue on a federal, state, and local level? What do the governing rules of your organization state about the situation?
  • Consult your support network for their feedback and input. 
  • Begin to draft a solution.
  • Reach out to your network to get their feedback.
  • Now you are ready to state your case with clarity and confidence.


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Benefits of self-advocacy

  • You empower yourself and others by practicing and honing self-advocacy skills. In doing so, you build a psychologically safe and inclusive environment where other people are more apt to share their ideas and flourish.
  • You take control of your own life.
  • You become better at decision making.
  • You become better able to hear the perspectives of others that you hadn’t previously considered.
  • You become an effective problem solver. You know how to research the problem at hand and how to consider multiple perspectives.


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