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  • Writer's pictureGeorgina Sturmer

Having a voice: how to ask for what you need at work

When we want to ask for something, we are often carrying around a lifetime of invisible baggage on our shoulders. This baggage weighs us down in all kinds of ways. It might make us feel as if we undeserving, and that we should be putting other people first. It might overwhelm us with worries and stress about how we will be perceived. It might remind us of how we felt in the past when we asked for something, and our needs weren’t met. All this baggage can paralyse and stop us fro having a voice when we need to speak up. I spoke to Stylist Magazine all about how to ask for what you need at work. I've included some of my comments below, but you can click here to read the full article.


Figure out what’s stopping you - what are you afraid of? When we think about voicing what we need, sometimes we become overwhelmed with negative thoughts. Thoughts about what other people will think of us, and how they might respond. This swirl of thoughts can race around in our heads, making us feel anxious and stuck. And it’s usually based on fear, or a collection of fears. Perhaps we are scared that we will embarrass ourselves, that we will get something wrong, or that we will be viewed in a negative light.


Start small: It might be easy to suggest that we just tune out our fears. But the reality is that it can take practice. So instead of jumping in feet first to ask for that new client opportunity or that promotion or that change to your work schedule, I’d suggest that you start small. Find a ‘low stakes’ way to ask for what you need, and see what happens. How do other people react? How do you feel? And if you had fears beforehand, were they realised? Or does it give you an opportunity to see that the reality is less terrifying than you initially thought.


Using ‘I’ statements: When we are trying to voice what we need with other people, it’s helpful to explain things from our own point of view. So rather than saying ‘when you do this, it makes me feel … ‘, we say ‘I feel this way, and so I need …’. This doesn’t just apply to personal relationships. It’s also helpful in a work context. It helps you to express what you need without worrying that you will look like you’re blaming other people.


Keen to explore more? In counselling we can take a deeper look at your feelings and how you cope with the world around you. Click here to contact me, or click here to book a 30-minute introductory call.



Having a voice: how to ask for what you need at work


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