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How to get what you want

September 12th, 2016 | 2 comments

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!

Busting Out Of My Comfort Zone

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.

2 people have commented
  1. Hi Jenna,

    I just read your amazing story on the whole 30 website. I have a rare genetic disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – it affects my connective tissue all over my body and inside my organs (I’m always in pain in multiple places.).

    I’m about to start my whole 30 journey tomorrow and am wondering if you did a stricter version of the diet- cutting out eggs, nightshades, all the gums, citrus fruits, nuts and/or anything else? My stomach/joint pain/bladder/menstrual issues are all pretty bad. Or perhaps I should just try the basic whole30 first and see if that does it for me.

    Also, did you cut out all over-the-counter drugs with corn starch in them? Not sure if this is applicable to you, but I take tons of Benadryl and Reactine, and both have corn starch in them….

    Would really appreciate your input on this. Thank you so much for sharing your story and giving us peeps with rare genetic diseases some much needed hope!



    • Kira – thank you for reading and leaving a comment (my apologies for the tardiness in replying, I recently broke my foot and that has taken a lot of energy and focus). I am familiar with EDS, from my understanding we can have a lot of similar symptoms. I did the standard version of the Whole30 – to start with I had no inclination I had any issues with nightshades etc to warrant doing a AIP version straight away. My thought would be that if a standard W30 is a notable change to your current diet, a AIP one might be a bit of leap. Start with the standard version, you can always do a second one with AIP modifications if you feel like those foods are causing issues.

      If the OTC meds are recommended by a doctor, please don’t cease using them. Even if they’re not, it might be worth raising the issue with your GP/specialists who helps you manage EDS. If they’re managing symptoms, I wouldn’t want to see you suffer with them. The recommendation from the Whole30 program creators is to not change any medications you might be on before starting a W30, and only do so in consultation with your doctor, which I support. Your health is very important!

      Good luck, and feel free to send me an email to update me on your progress.

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