How to get what you want
Life can really suck when you’re in a situation where you need to make a change, but you need someone else’s cooperation, and they’re resistant. (I was going to word that more professional-like, but y’know what, it just sucks!). I’ve encountered this before many times in the medical system, but it can happen in many parts of our lives – our jobs, families, circle of friends, or maybe a committee you volunteer with. Today I wanted to share with you the tips and steps I’ve used many times to get a great outcome – this is self-advocacy 101.
1. Know what you want.
What is the the thing you want changed? Why do you want it? Make sure you know exactly what that is, and how to explain it clearly, as well as backwards and inside out. You’ll need to justify your idea, and be able to give a reason for the need to change, so feel comfortable explaining that as well.
2. Know what you don’t want
This one is a doozy, and almost more important that point one. If you have a direction you want to go in, a change you want to make, you’ll have come to that point because of things not working previously. Its often easier for us to identify what we don’t want, and what hasn’t worked, so pay attention to your “hell no!” moments. Know where you’re not willing to go back to. Be able to explain it, defend it and back up why its a bad idea. It can be hard to examine the difficult things in our lives, but they also provide an opportunity to learn something. If you’re in the position where you need to make a change, then examining what went wrong last time and finding a way to learn something and grow as a person from it makes that difficult time or mistake a worthwhile experience.
3. Research, data and more data
Who doesn’t love a spot of factual reasoning? It absolutely comes in handy when trying to convince someone to do something they don’t want to do. I’ve used this to benefit my health care by keeping records of my symptoms, measuring my blood loss, accounting for pain through reduction in bodily functions (like the ability to walk, breathe or sleep) and other relevant and independent markers (doctors love data, they are scientists after all!). All kinds of situations can benefit from data to back up your case though – would a budget be of assistance? Maybe a detailed project plan would help convince the other party? There will be something that is objectively measurable in relation to your problem that will help you make your case – you want to use it!
4. Have a plan
Whenever I have to go in to see my doctor and I have things I need to ask, or even when I want something fundamentally changed, I have it all written down – what I want, why the current situation isn’t working, and the back up data and research to support my case. It can be easy to get flustered and confused in these situations, especially when you’re going in as the lay-person, trying to convince an expert that you’re right. If the conversation goes off on a tangent, having your points written out in front of you can help get it back on track.
5. Have a timeline
Have a timeframe outlined on how you’d like your problem addressed – yes, the key points and goals you want achieved, but also how long you’re prepared to wait for a response. And follow up! It can be easy to think that just asking once will get the job done, but sometimes you have to keep following up to ensure what you need happens, when you need it.
6. What can you compromise on?
When you are working with other people to achieve a goal, I think there is always going to be an element of compromise. You should work out, from the beginning, where you’re willing to soften your view. Perhaps your timeframe can be shifted to accomodate others. Or maybe there’s one part of your plan that you’re not 100% attached to and can adjust. Having things you can compromise on will also make the process easier for all involved.
7. Never never never give up
If the change you need to make is really important to you, you can’t give up. The big things – like your health & wellbeing, need to be taken care of, and you need to do it yourself (there’s no one better qualified!). Often this means you’ll get lots of “no”s along the way, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. If you know something has to change, there is always a way to make it happen. Resilience is a hard thing to build, because it means you must persevere through hardship. For the essential and important things, it is always worth it. I’ve found that the more effort I put in, the more proud of myself I feel when I do achieve my goal, too.
As I recently mentioned in a post on Facebook, change is constant. It is also the thing most humans struggle with most regularly! When you’re needing to get other people on board for a change that is important or required for you, I don’t think it necessarily gets easier, but with the correctly focussed efforts, you can achieve what you need.
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