Stand up for yourself

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Nobody likes a showoff, but that doesn't mean that you need to fade into the background. If you're like most women, you grew up with some version of "be a nice girl" as a guiding principle. That's fine, as long as you make sure you're nice to yourself, too. That means treating yourself with the same consideration and respect you show others. Here's how to stand up with tact, strength and authority.

Clarify your goals.

Be clear about what your goal is -- whether you need data from a co-worker who is ignoring your request, want to be director of operations in five years, or want your husband and kids to help with household chores. Whatever it is, you need to state what you want clearly. Any salesperson will tell you they hear a lot of nos on the way to a yes. Ask questions about the issue, be clear about why you're standing up for yourself, and give reasons that support your position. Be realistic and prepared to negotiate. You may not get what you originally asked for; in fact, you may get something better.

Cultivate the right attitude.

Be your best self. We've all had moments when we felt powerful and in control -- maybe when you first rode your bike without training wheels, or when you aced the interview that got you hired. Think back to that experience and remember it in detail. Feel it in your body, your posture and your breathing. Learn to call it up and duplicate it when you need it. It may feel forced at first, but with practice, it will begin to feel natural. Attitude is everything. Coming from the stance that you are a powerful and valuable person can change the whole conversation. It doesn't mean you'll get everything you want. It does mean you won't be kicking yourself for not speaking up.

Don't reinvent the wheel. Look for role models who have the traits and skills you lack. Watch them and learn. Find a mentor or coach. And remember: Each time you stand up for yourself makes the next time easier.

Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate station. Deciding to switch gears and write fulfilled a lifelong ambition. She started as a blogger for a diverse group of businesses, and now writes for a number of websites for companies in her hometown in the Rocky Mountains, and provides advertising copy and media buying for national and regional clients. She finds the research as interesting as the writing, learning about subjects as diverse as construction scaffolding, child safety seats, and newest trends in beauty and fashion. As a long-time devotee of SheKnows, she’s thrilled to see her own work on the pages.