Speaking up takes courage. When you look at your life, you may find yourself tongue-tied and apprehensive when you need to speak up about what you want, what you need, and what doesn’t feel good or right for you.
Too often you may find yourself feeling like the other person should know what you want or need, which is unrealistic when you think about it. How could they? Is he or she a mind reader?
Other times you may feel intimidated or scared to speak up for fear of what the other person may do, such as judge you, stop speaking to you, make fun of you, or ignore you.
Here are five areas to consider where you could make a huge difference in your life today if you were only willing to speak up:
- Relationship Partners – I have known many women who don’t speak up in their intimate partner relationships to their partners, but will speak up to anyone else who will listen. If you don’t talk to the person you are in the relationship with, how can you expect him or her to understand what you need, what you want, or what you feel? Relationships are built on the successful or unsuccessful communications between two people. When you have the courage to speak up in these intimate relationships, you will find ways to make the relationship stronger, better and happier for each of you.
- Family & Friends – Many people feel nervous and scared when they need to speak up with family members or friends, especially friends they have known for a long time who feel like family. Speaking up to these people in your life can make a world of difference for you – and them. Each of them has no idea what your experience is like with them. They don’t know how they make you feel. They have no way of knowing what you want or need. Some of them may ask; others may not know how.
When you garner the courage to speak up and tell them what you want, need, like and don’t like about your relationship with them, you are giving them and the relationship you have with them the opportunity to change, to serve you better, and ultimately to serve the other person better too.
Life is too short. Growing and deepening these relationships of a lifetime takes time, energy, effort and courage. Don’t wait to have what may feel like tough conversations. If you wait too long, you may not be able to have them and find yourself wishing you could have.
When you do have them, you may just find that you wish you had done this sooner so you could enjoy them more.
- Medical – So many people I know go to the doctor and don’t ask questions about the things they don’t understand. They simply take whatever the doctor says as the way to address their ailments, not really understanding why or what potential side effects may occur.
I always ask questions at the doctor’s office. I also speak up about my concerns when a physician wants me to take a prescription for an ailment. I’m concerned about what anyone is asking me to put in my body, how it may make me feel, and what conditions I may experience as a result of doing so. If I’m not willing to take the risk, I’ll ask about what other treatment options there are and express my concerns to the doctor.
Our bodies are our temples. They are the foundation for our living experiences. When we feel good, we tend to do more. When we don’t feel good, we get to do and experience less of life.
Take an interest in your health and make sure you understand what your physician is doing, why they are doing it, what test they are doing, how it works, what the results mean, and anything else you don’t understand. Your body is your responsibility. Speak up for it! After all, who else will?!
- In Business and At Work – Speaking up in business and for your career is entirely up to you. No one can give you permission to do it. That permission ultimately is something you give yourself.
If you find a way to do something better or more effectively, tell someone. If you want to know how to serve your customers better, ask them. Don’t try to figure it out within the four walls of your company. Trust me – they’ll tell you, if you only give them a chance to speak up.
Interviewing for a job? Ask questions about the company. See what you can find out about what others are saying about it – in the press, on their blogs and articles on the Internet, and what they are saying about themselves in their company reports. Interviewing for a job is bi-lateral. It is the company speaking up and inquiring about whether you are the right person for the job, AND it is also you inquiring about whether the company is the right place for you to add value, learn and grow. Have the courage to speak up so you can find out what you need to know so you can determine if the company is the right fit for you.
- For a Cause You Care About – If you see something, read something, or hear something about an issue that bothers you or disturbs you, don’t just sit and stew. Do something. Find either an organization that you can join and work with to make a difference for it or start your own. This could be as easy as putting on a fundraiser for a child diagnosed with cancer in your neighborhood to working on the board for a large organization and donating your time.
If you want to feed the hungry, you can go to your local soup kitchen and prepare and serve them dinner. If you want to help children get a better education, donate your time as a mentor or offer to lead a local program for kids. If you want to address the way the elderly are treated and left alone, offer to be a visitor and go to a hospice or senior living community and volunteer to talk with those who have no family to care about them.
Speaking up takes courage. It is where most of the best things in your life begin. I encourage you to speak up and ask for the life you want. Let others know what you need and want so they can help you get it.
Speaking up can be one of the most powerful tools in your kit to living the life you want.
So Speak Up!
For more about speaking up, watch this video of our founder, Jennifer S. Wilkov, talk about why it is so important to speak up and the impact you can make when you do.
Go to http://www.SpeakUpWomen.com to learn more and to register to attend the Speak Up Women Conference at the United Nations on March 5th, 2016.