Advocacy, Boundaries, and Leadership, Oh My!

Are you a strong advocate for a cause? Are you at that same strength when it comes to advocating for yourself? This superpower is necessary for our lives.

You may have seen a version of the following floating around on social media memes, “I work for the kind of place where if you are really good at your job, you get to do other people’s jobs too!” Maybe you have been the dubious beneficiary of this reward system. This is the kind of reward system that disengages our best people.

I have also seen variations on this where if you work really hard the response is “cool, keep doing that for the same pay while we promote our buddies”. Another variant is, “can you just add this work for the same pay?” It isn’t big business-specific or industry-specific. It is leader-specific. Leaders are creating this culture.

Are you that leader?

Or are you the leader that will see a follower doing amazing work and allow them to become a mentor, receive benefits, promotions, development, and recognition the way they want to be recognized?

In other words, are you a leader?

Having been fortunate to work in a variety of fields, at a variety of levels of responsibility and authority, I have seen a variety of leaders. I have also learned how to navigate them. And the single thread that winds through these interactions is my ability to advocate for myself.  A few things I can offer from my experience.

  1. Know your strengths. Don’t wait for external validation of where you are strong. Figure it out yourself. Jo Miller in her book, Women of Influence: 9 Steps to Build Your Brand, Establish Your Legacy and Thrive offers a good activity on this. (get it here, it is amazing*)She asks us to reach out to 6 people and ask them to give us three character traits that describe us. Sit with these and decide if these strengths others see in you are the strengths you feel. Perception can be a reality, but you can also shift that perception and reality with your actions.
  2. Be honest about whether the activities you are engaged with are allowing your strengths to activate. If it feels like a drain, it is. If it feels energizing, it is. Pay attention to this and respond accordingly. No one else needs to get it.
  3. Learn that no is a complete sentence. No. Practice it, let it float around on your tongue as you verbalize it. Stand in front of the mirror and feel like a goofball and say it until you release the compulsion to explain yourself. Not every situation needs an explanation. No.

More than one woman has shared their frustration with boundaries with me lately. I think we are realizing that we don’t need to sacrifice ourselves in the interest of fixing the world. Instead, we can find the connections that are reciprocal. Maybe I am too optimistic, but I believe they exist. And I believe they exist in the workplace as much as anywhere else.

If you are a leader, create them. If you are a follower, create them. If you are frustrated, release the things that don’t work. If you are feeling good, lift as you climb.

This may all feel contrary to popular rhetoric and may even feel dangerous to buck the system. This is a risk work taking. This risk allows you to be more of who you are meant to be in this world. Live Dangerously, Be You.

Reach out to me at if you need help developing these strengths. I am a coach and helping others feel more connected and able to act on who they are is what I do. No, it isn’t free, but it is worth it. 

I have been a coach for over 10 years working with individuals, leaders, business owners, and the spiritually curious. Each one has a desire to make an impact on the world and I help them get clear on how to do that. My background as a military leader, corporate leader, strategist, small business owner, social science researcher, spiritual advisor, and more gives me unique insight into the stories you share with me. Let’s talk: or follow me on Instagram @murphymuses

Oh, and there is a book too…The Art of Living Dangerously, How to Thrive in a World that Expects you to Conform. Get it Now


*the link in this post is an affiliate link and may net me a few pennies if you use it to buy Jo’s book. If you aren’t okay with that, use this link to purchase it and support this author.

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