Are You Advocating for Yourself?

This conversation further explores a previous live event about advocating for ourselves. Advocation can be both proactive and reactive yet the energy between the two is vastly different. Proactive advocating is a confident assertion and reactive advocating can be laced with guilt, shame and anger.

March 2, 2021

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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness journey podcast. This little banter is about a car ride long in features your hosts, JJ Parker, and Melissa Albers. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.

JJ Parker  0:17  
Melissa, so we did a super fun event. This week, we had the self awareness journey live.

Melissa Albers  0:24  
We did. It was fun, and loved it.

JJ Parker  0:28  
It was funny, because we have been thinking a while like, how else can we engage with our tribe? Right? And we've got our newsletter that you can sign up for. We've got the podcast, but it feels really rough one way, right? Yeah. It just like we throw stuff out there in the universe. And some people comment on Facebook, but it's just kind of like a one way conversation, it feels like sometimes,

Melissa Albers  0:52  
which is the exact opposite of what we really want.

JJ Parker  0:55  
Right? So we thought, Hey, why don't we do this thing that we call TSA j live, we'll just like, spin up a zoom call, invite everybody to it, see what happens. And it was great.

Melissa Albers  1:12  
And it was great. And the topic was even more great. Talked about advocating for yourself, right? Yes.

JJ Parker  1:20  
The question we posed to the folks that came was how good are you at advocating for yourself? And so I asked you that question right off the bat. Yeah. And then you asked me that question. And I was like, Oh, crap, I'm not prepared to answer questions on this thing.

Melissa Albers  1:42  
See, we didn't lie. We really don't prepare for this stuff. While we're preparing all the time, but maybe not as intentionally as we should in those moments.

JJ Parker  1:51  
I think it's better when it's just on the fly.

Melissa Albers  1:53  
Yeah, yeah.

JJ Parker  1:55  
So we talked about advocating for yourself, which I think is a great topic, we felt we should do a podcast on this topic. Because what I thought was great is like the things that we came into that conversation with, right, I have my little notebook, and I've got a bunch of bullet points written down about what I think we should talk about. But what's awesome is the folks on the call brought all sorts of other perspectives, which I thought was awesome.

Melissa Albers  2:22  
They really did. And you know what else I was? So I don't even know the word but I was so honored and touched about was the legitimacy of people's comments. How everybody, we had 25 people on the call roughly. Yeah. And we the number of people that were willing to comment authentically, right off the bat, you know, it just felt so good. Yeah. Yeah. I just loved it. And especially the topic, because how well do you advocate for yourself, you know, like, we would automatically go to a place that says, Oh, you advocate for yourself in these external moments. When you want a new job, when you want to win something, or get a project or something like that, we went to the place of work. But then the conversation became so meaningful, as it talked about how when we don't advocate for who we really are on something personal or something internal, how that whole energy shifts into something completely different than positive.

JJ Parker  3:27  
Yeah, right. So let's jump in. So yeah, let's do it. Like, I'm just gonna ask you again, how good do you think you are at advocating for yourself?

Melissa Albers  3:37  
I just can't remember.

JJ Parker  3:40  
Just hearing your answer better be the same as it was on Wednesday.

Melissa Albers  3:45  
On no pressure, I have like, a squirrel memory. I would say that I actually I answered in twofold, because and I do still feel this way. So it's a good thing I answer truthfully, it's what I always tell my kids just tell the truth. And you don't have any stories to remember, right. But I think when I'm advocating for myself, or something that's related to business or something, I feel fully resourced. And like, if I'm advocating, like in a proposal where I'm getting a new client, or I'm, you know, suggesting something in my professional life, I feel very comfortable advocating for it. And I think there's an element of I know, it's going to help other people to know, I didn't say that last on Wednesday, but I think that that's true. It's like I can advocate because I know it's, it's what's best for me, but I really know what's best for other people in this scenario. So it's not a problem, and I actually really enjoy doing that. However, if I'm honest, if it's something that I feel like I'm not getting, like if it's at home or my personal life or something like that. I start to feel like why am I not I start to feel lacking in confidence. And then I can't, I don't Yeah, good. About how I do that. So it's very situational. And I actually never understood that until we had that conversation.

JJ Parker  5:06  
Oh, that's interesting.

Melissa Albers  5:07  
Yeah, I really did it.

JJ Parker  5:10  
How about self awareness from the self awareness journey?

Melissa Albers  5:14  
Exactly? Well, we should check that place out.

JJ Parker  5:17  
So I I was, like I said, I was like, strangely unprepared to answer that question. But I actually thought about it quite a bit over the past couple of days, because I was like, I felt like I was on the spot. And what I was trying to explain on Wednesday, was that I don't think I like I'm I'm not, you know, fairly passive, a lot about a lot of things, right. So I don't often just get out there and be like, hey, I need this, right. I don't, I'm not out there. pushing my energy out like that. And what I was trying to explain is that I think the way I advocate for myself is in a more passive way, and I don't wanna say passive aggressive, but it's probable possibly edges. Like, like, sort of, like, I need some, I need some time to myself, so I'm just gonna, like, take that time, won't even at maybe even ask for it. Or say I need it. I'll just be like, okay, yeah. Now, I'm just going to go just retreat into the basement right now. I'm just going to go like, sign up for tennis and go and not really tell anybody, or just say, Hey, now I'm going to tennis. Right? Yeah. So like, that was an interesting thing. And then the other thing I was thinking about was years ago, especially when we did work events, you know, I'm very introverted. So I need this like, recharge time, right? Yeah. When I, you know, when I'm out there talking all day, I need, I need to recharge by myself. And I didn't realize that for a long time. But now I know that. So one way I do vocally advocate for myself is for during work events, you know, I will tell people like, hey, well, I work the trade show all day. But then I have to go to my hotel for like an hour before we go out to dinner. So do not schedule a dinner, like right after the floor closes, because I will be an ass. And I don't think any of us want that. So. So I would say as I've understood my own personality and my own wiring better. Yeah, I am actually more comfortable saying like, hey, I need this time, right. And even though, I tried to put her on the spot, and she wasn't taking the bait, my wife was on the call. Right? And

Melissa Albers  7:58  
she was so cute.

JJ Parker  8:02  
But I think in our relationship, she's, you know, she's obviously super supportive. And she understands some of those things I need, right? So what's nice is she knows that sometimes, like, if I'm working on a project, and I just like part of me when I'm in a project, I can't get out of my brain. And I just like need to finish part of it. Yeah. Yeah. And she just kind of knows, like, oh, JJ is like in that mode where he needs to go. Get that project. pregnant. Yeah. For Yeah. So what's nice as our relationship, but that used to be kind of a problem, right? You don't really understand? Yeah, like, maybe why needed this time? Right.

Melissa Albers  8:42  
Yeah. I think you know, what's interesting about all this conversation are the feelings behind that. Like, that's the state when you recognize something, you know, it's like that. Well, I guess, you know, now that I'm thinking about this, I'm learning that this is my response to needing to take care of myself. But what was so interesting to me on our call, and I've actually thought about it a lot since has been the level of emotion that's behind it, and how much guilt we have for for asking for our basic human need. Like what you're describing is a very basic core need for you. It's not out of selfishness. It's not out of getting something over someone else. It's just simply a need for you. It's not a want. It's a need.

JJ Parker  9:32  
Yeah, but it feels selfish. That's the thing. And that's what totally feel selfish. Yeah, yep. Yep. Yeah. Like, why am I putting my needs above other people? Right?

Melissa Albers  9:44  
Yep. And then all this guilt washes in Mm hmm. And then mad, then you get mad about it? Yeah, you know, not you but generally that's like that's that pattern is like, we start feeling like we really need something we just really need something and then we Don't say anything, we don't want to say anything. And it builds and builds and builds. And we start to, you know, because we don't want to say anything, because a lot of people on the call talked about what my parents were like this, and this is just how it was in our house.

JJ Parker  10:13  
Yeah, like, it's like a childhood thing. It's like, upbringing.

Melissa Albers  10:18  
Yeah, hardwired since you were really little to not be selfish. Don't take more than your share. There was a lot of that. And, wow, it's just so amazing that that just runs as an undercurrent without us even really noticing how much that affects our basic caretaking of ourselves.

JJ Parker  10:38  
Yeah, that's, that's super interesting. I mean, the number of times I told my kids to share or not be selfish, right. It's like, hundreds and hundreds of times. And that is now programmed into them. And maybe, for many of us to such an extent where it's harmful, right? It's not helpful. It's actually we are, yeah, putting ourselves almost too low. Yeah, right.

Melissa Albers  11:08  
I think too, for me, um, yeah, yes. And I think for me, everything is on a continuum, I think, what makes the difference and not to not to bang on the drum that I bang on all the time. But self awareness is really the key here. Because if you understand that, that's a process that was in your house, when you were a child, it came from a good place they met, everybody met well with the process. And by ignoring your needs to the point that you hold on to that process, because you were told to without actually going in and going well, does that really? Does that really apply in this situation? Yeah, that true? Yeah. You know, and having that awareness about your own internal dialogue is so critical, I think.

JJ Parker  11:56  
Yeah, I would say that some of that early childhood stuff was about very basic things, like a finite number of Legos that we have in the house or something, right.

Melissa Albers  12:11  
But yeah,

JJ Parker  12:12  
as adults, when we're interacting in our universe, and you and I, you know, talk about, we're in a universe of abundance, then there's, there is plenty for everybody. And the, the idea that you have to be so scarce on the resources isn't, isn't really that helpful mindset? No, but it's interesting when you apply that right to yourself right? Now, right to your own need for something like sleep.

Melissa Albers  12:45  
Yeah, or happiness. Or something as basic as happiness, being content. How we can go from that, you're right, that abundance mindset to that lack mindset, and how we apply it to emotions to

JJ Parker  13:01  
Mm hmm. Yeah, that's, that's super interesting. The thing that you talked about, with advocating for yourself that I really loved and, and a couple of people mentioned, even after was this idea of reactive advocation. And proactive, right, yeah. Right. So, like, an example of reactive would be like, you know, I know, I've been up with the kids three nights in a row. I'm dead tired. I need someone else to deal with the kids tonight. Right? I need to be able to get some sleep. I'd like very bad ones, like really in your face, right? Because we've probably all experienced, like, lack of sleep. But that's reactive, right? Like, like these things happened. And now you've been so drained or pushed out to center that you have to it's like your breaking point.

Melissa Albers  14:05  
Yeah, you're at almost fight or flight piece by

JJ Parker  14:08  
Yeah. Yep. And that one's super common for people to recognize, right? Because we've all been had that breaking point that at some point, and you have to step up and advocate for yourself.

Melissa Albers  14:21  
Right? Right. The that when we went into that conversation, and even right now, the first thing that's coming up for me is how worthiness. Our own sense of worthiness, is directly tied to our ability to advocate for ourselves early in the process, not when we're so far gone. advocating sounds harsh and defensive. There's a real difference, like in your example, because it's such a good example and it's such an easy one without a lot of guilt. I mean, maybe there's guilt around a bit like, yeah, a young couple has kids. And for two nights, three nights, they aren't sleeping well. And so one spouse is up three nights in a row. Yeah. And they're doing it, maybe because they feel obligated. While the other one works, and I don't want to bother them, or, you know, or they had a migraine today, and or they had a tough day, and I all just do it. Yeah. And that starts to collect, it starts to collect, right? And then by night three, you're banging into walls. You're so tired, you can't see straight, you know, you have a stomach ache, a headache, you feel dull, you can't think and you start to get mad. Like, why is this? Why is my spouse letting me do this?

JJ Parker  15:52  
Yeah, yeah, we talked about that, how that can push into resentment. Totally. So when you might have, it might start off well intentioned, yeah. Like, Hey, I'm going to take the baby at night, because you know, my spouse works. And then it's like, grinds and grinds, you get, you get more and more tired, that well intentioned idea flips into resentment, straight up

Melissa Albers  16:23  

JJ Parker  16:24  
which is not healthy, which is not where you want to be. Right? That wasn't your intent. But that's where you ended up,

Melissa Albers  16:29  
right. And so if the emotion of resentment is tied to advocating for yourself, it sounds totally different. It feels totally different. You know, because then there's fight, then there's something that you're fighting about, and there really is nothing to fight about.

JJ Parker  16:42  

Melissa Albers  16:43  
if you think about it earlier in that same exact scenario, that it's really interesting. And I think that when people start to have that resentment, it's also tied to, I must not be as good as you know, or I'll be selfless, I'm going to just be that I'm going to be the bigger person here. I don't really think I should, and I don't really want to and I'm really, really tired. And, you know, they should be the big person because I'm, I'm okay are die. That's the self talk that starts that often. And that's when you start to feel like I'm not as good as, and then you start to feel. Is that what they really think? Don't they think I'm good enough? Why can't they and then boom, that resentment starts.

JJ Parker  17:27  
Yeah, like you'd become the martyr. Right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So that was that's interesting that following that line of logic, and that train of feeling, yeah, is really interesting. Because then when you think about it, a lot of times, culturally, I feel like, like saying that you advocate for yourself is sometimes not positive. Right? Right. Like, like, I get, it might sometimes come off as selfish. But when you follow that line of thinking that we just went through, you're like, wait, it's not selfish. It's actually like more healthy for these relationships. Right. Right, exactly. So I think that's an interesting bit to uncover for people to think about, when they feel selfish, the collateral damage can be worse. That's what they thought,

Melissa Albers  18:23  
Yes, exactly. Right. Because then those emotions are really amped up and you can end up having fights with people or it is, don't you think it's kind of interesting. Like, it's sort of on a continuum, right? The extreme versions of both don't feel very good and are easy to watch. Yeah, in other people or in ourselves, yet, that continuum is a very normal. Like, that's all really normal, like having a hard time. You know, building your own self worth. It's okay for me to do that. Like that's very, very healthy. And yet if someone spends all their time doing that, then they become like that. That person you're like, Oh my gosh, I can't watch that person in this game. They're so over the top right, right there. Yeah. to the extreme. Oh, that person needs a little help. And they're just not asking you that's Oh, and that person is starting to get kind of crunchy. That's the word I always use. That person's really crunchy now because they're way off the deep end. Yeah, of not asking. And now they're wrapped around the axle really bad. Everyone that they touch and everyone they talk to. It's an it's a thing, it now becomes between those two people.

JJ Parker  19:35  
Let's talk about being proactive. Like we talked a bit about proactive like, and the great example for proactive advocating for yourself. Yeah. came in the form of like asking for a raise at your job.

Melissa Albers  19:51  

JJ Parker  19:52  
right. Like most people probably like, can recall that feeling of Like, okay, like, I think I've been working hard. I've been here, like quite a while I feel like I deserve a raise, I'm gonna prepare myself to walk in my boss's door and advocate that my hard work and excellent output and everything deserves a raise. Ah, I'm so scared. Everyone freaks out. Well, once like it does you have like, there's a lot of emotion when anxiety and excitement like there's a lot going on when you're standing at the threshold of that door.

Melissa Albers  20:36  
Yeah. And fear, there's fear. Yeah, you know, fear that you might not be good enough fear that you, you know that they don't have enough to give you what you want, you know, fear of the unknown. Yeah, there's all kinds of fear. And how about this story Don gave us in that group where she was giving the example of being a new young employee, and how in that environment, they had to share a computer to new people had to share my computer. And the boss came through and said, well, what's it gonna take for you guys to get more productive? And and she sat right up even as a young new employee and said, You want us to be more productive? How about you give us each our own our own computer?

JJ Parker  21:16  
And they did. And for all the kids listening, this was like, in the 80s, when computers were like a very rare thing.

Melissa Albers  21:23  
I was picturing a big huge monitor. Yeah.

JJ Parker  21:27  
We'll get you into a computer, the semi truck, we'll be here next week. Oh, that's interesting. This preparing yourself to advocate in that proactive way.

Melissa Albers  21:42  

JJ Parker  21:43  
You know, it's a whole different set of feelings. Yeah. Well, I wouldn't say it's a whole different set of feelings. But you go into it sort of in a diff with a different approach, right? Yeah.

Melissa Albers  21:52  
Yeah, different feelings, different emotions, different energy. And, you know, I'm always the one beating the drum that says, people read your energy before they hear your words. People constantly are checking out how you're showing up before you even talk. They're listening to your body language. We've said that, you know, body language represents 86% of your communication. So if you're coming in with happy, enthusiastic anxiety, people feel that. And that's kind of fun to see that with some people sometimes, if you come at it with anger and resentment, like I'm really mad, you're not doing that. People aren't listening to your words. They're watching. You're angry, and they're setting themselves up for protection.

JJ Parker  22:34  
Yeah. So what? What tips did we get for proactively advocating for yourself?

Unknown Speaker  22:43  
Oh, do you remember remember?

JJ Parker  22:49  
I wasn't really listening to be honest. I think what we had another, we had another, like, young professional on the call, right? Yeah. And I think what she was talking about was you go, it felt like it was moving around like, the, the calf, you you said confidence, right? It was there was some stuff around the confidence thing. And then not being sure AI? Like, like, should I advocate for yourself? I'm not or myself? Like, is that the right time? Is it appropriate? Yeah, right. Trying to figure out those, what those interactions should look like in a professional,

Melissa Albers  23:37  
right context, right? And her feedback was almost more like sit back and wait, don't be unpopular, don't stand out. And I think the group consensus was like, it's fine to stand out, it is fine to ask. And if something isn't Okay, if you ask with that good perspective, you'll understand why you'll either get what you're looking for. Or if it's a no, you'll have a better understanding of why so it's, it's not getting in your own head and telling yourself the story before you even ask.

JJ Parker  24:11  
Yeah, yeah, I, I, we had a young lady that worked for me for quite a few years. She came in like very junior and shortened sales and I don't know maybe like she'd been there for like a year. And like, she, like kept on asking for raises. To the point where it was like sort of annoying her manager. Right. But for me, you know, like, that's okay. Right. Like, in my company, I was very one on make sure it's very clear like, like the relationship between Like the employee and the company, it's like, gotta work for both parties, right? Like, I don't want, right this thing where like, employees don't feel supported, they don't, or they don't feel like they're paid enough or paid what they're worth or anything like that. I mean, there's like, limits on our budgets. Right, right. We have to get everything balanced out. But But I don't want that to, I want that to always be a conversation that people feel safe. Having, right. But she would ask all the time, and I thought it was really interesting, because she did a great job of saying, like, hey, like, you asked me to do this, I overperformed. Here, this is the horizon. And it was and it was great. And while it annoyed her manager, I talked to him quite a bit about it. And it's like, it's okay. Like, let her do that. That's great. That's actually good skill. She, she has this great skill to have in sales precisely. Ultimately, she ended up having Chin up going to find another job, because like, we just didn't have a space for her for where she wanted to go. Yep. Which was totally fine. It's great that she was at our company for a while, learn some skills and moved on. Right. Exactly. Sometimes, in those professional settings, I feel like advocating for yourself. If you've, you know, again, there's some toxic cultures out there. So I don't want to say like, Yeah, but I would say in general, my experience is that it's not bad to advocate for yourself. And watching those looking out for the spots where there's a, there's a power imbalance, right? employee? employer, there's often feels like there's a power imbalance,

Melissa Albers  26:55  

JJ Parker  26:56  
almost Parent Child style, right? And understanding, and really, a lot of the feelings you have, when you would go in and ask for a raise, I think come from that power imbalance. More than, like, you know, you just, you know, should you be compensated more like anything performance wise, it is so often more about the power imbalance feeling than it is anything else? Yeah.

Melissa Albers  27:27  
You know what I mean? It's about the feeling, right? Exactly. Yeah.

JJ Parker  27:30  
And sometimes, you know, you might advocate for yourself, and, and something might happen, like, I knew career is not saying, Well, you could get fired, there's like, no, like, it would be like clear, like, well, I've hit the end of the road here. It's time for me to find a new path.

Melissa Albers  27:49  
And I think that's what what you're saying is, that's all fine. And I it's

JJ Parker  27:53  
all fine. It's all part of it. It's all

Melissa Albers  27:55  
part of it. And that's how you grow your confidence. And that's how you grow who you really are. And understand yourself as by being able to get those conversations that you're having in your mind out into the room with people who can help establish your next step. Establish who you are validate you validate your own beliefs about yourself. You know, I think that's really, really good. Speaking of advocating,

JJ Parker  28:21  

Melissa Albers  28:22  
yes. What we want to do

JJ Parker  28:24  
what, what do we want to

Melissa Albers  28:25  
do listeners of this podcast? to please go sign up for our newsletter? Remember, we almost forgot again,

JJ Parker  28:33  
that's so funny. We talked over and over by house how we're bad at marketing. Yeah. And, and self promotion. And I was like, you know what we should do? We should right in the middle of the pod ask everyone to sign up for the newsletter. And then we forgot, because we're so into. So everyone should stop right now? Yes. Go South Florida, stirring calm.

Melissa Albers  28:57  

JJ Parker  28:57  
the self orange journal calm and sign up for our newsletter. That would be awesome. If you're driving, do it after you stop. And why do we want people to do that? Because it helps us communicate with everybody. Because right now, if you're listening, it's just like a one way thing. Yeah. You know, it's, it's hard to reach you and we would love to. Yeah, just share more.

Melissa Albers  29:23  
Yeah. And I think also we've got a lot of cool things that we're going to be doing further we're growing the self awareness journey, and for us to be able to connect with you more personally would be absolutely fabulous.

JJ Parker  29:37  
Well stated, well advocated. Nice job, Melissa.

Melissa Albers  29:41  
What a good conversation. It's been this morning. I've enjoyed this. We hope that you've enjoyed today's episode. Our mission is to help people become happier and more effective by gaining insight into their own thoughts and feelings. We'd love your support. First. Share this podcast with anyone you think might enjoy. Second, leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast site. This helps others discover the podcast so we can reach more people. And third, sign up for our newsletter at the self awareness journey.com. This will help us communicate better with you and build our community. Thank you so much for joining us in the self awareness journey. We'll see you next week.

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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