When you’re advocating for something important to you, your emotions can run high. Whether you are a leader advocating for change you really believe in, a salesperson advocating for a product you know will work for your client, or a founder advocating for your idea that will change the world, it’s emotional. And if you’re advocating for yourself, your ideas and your potential it’s impossible not to feel that deep in your bones.
An advocate needs to know how to manage their own emotions. And they collect more wins when they’re tuned into others’.
In my work I always say first you advocate TO yourself, then you advocate FOR yourself (your ideas, products, services or potential). In the first part your jury is you. You are the person you want to persuade or influence. Then, your jury is your team, clients, customers, investors, bosses, friends or family. Both juries have emotions, and the better you understand them the more likely you are to win.
I just finished the book Energy Rising: The Neuroscience of Leading With Emotional Power by Dr Julia DiGangi. I really enjoyed this book and the insights it provided on how to use emotions to become a stronger advocate. Here are three ways emotions impact your ability to advocate.
1. “Your brain runs on energy, not strategy.” Dr Julia DiGangi
Your brain runs on energy. That means that if you don’t have a handle on your energy/emotions, you don’t have a handle on your brain.
This is why I meditate. Meditating allows me to find the space between a stimulus and a response. In the courtroom, the stimulus might have been a witness lying about my client. My immediate emotion was anger, frustration and injustice. Your immediate emotions don’t always resonate with your “jury” – the people you want to persuade and influence. So I’d use that space to decide which emotions would serve me in that setting, and find beliefs that could engender those emotions.
I recently taught a class on meditation in The Self Advocacy School. I shared the forms of meditation I’ve tried over my 28 years of practice, and how those who don’t want to meditate can still get its benefits. If you’re interested in that class, join SAS here. It’s only $97 a month and you’ll have access to that class and all of the other classes, as well as live coaching every week and a very supportive community. You can cancel anytime, and the doors are closing in February.
When you’re able to harness your emotions and use them to advocate, you are guaranteed to collect more wins.
2. Humiliation takes your power, and worthiness can’t be linked to your activities.
Dr DiGangi has 8 emotional codes in her book, and 3 and 4 resonated most with me. Code 3 talks about humiliation, and the ways it takes our power. I’ve seen that first hand. In the courtroom there’s a winner and a loser, and the results are public. That means there’s a lot of opportunity for advocates to feel humiliation. At the beginning of my career, I wasn’t afraid of losing. My worth was not yet tied to wins (as I didn’t have any yet!). This made me more aggressive, more daring and it made advocating much more fun.
Then I started winning. People started talking about how good I was and how much I won. They started to expect me to win. Suddenly, my worth WAS tied to winning. And I became petrified of losing. I anticipated the humiliation if I didn’t win the case everyone expected me to win, and the risk that I would lose my worth with one courtroom loss. There’s a saying “nothing fails like success’ ‘ and for me that meant that all of my successes set me up for fear of the shame and humiliation of losing. My worth was entirely linked to my wins.
That was dangerous for me, and it’s dangerous for you. You might not be advocating in the courtroom, but your wins may still be public. You’re a leader advocating for change, and your team is rejecting it. You’re a salesperson advocating for your product, and your customer chooses a competitor. You’re a doctor advocating for a surgery, and your patient decides against it. If your worth is tied to the change, the product or the surgery, you’re in trouble. You’ve got to tie your worth to something more stable. (For me, it was a simple change. I tie my worth to the love I give and get).
When your worth is no longer tied to “winning”, you’re much more likely to take chances, enjoy advocating and ultimately, counterintuitively, you are more likely to win.
3. You’ve got to be magnetic.
A strong advocate is magnetic. When I teach people to advocate,it’s three steps. 1: Know what you want. 2: Ask for it, out loud and with delight. 3: Master the art of the ask. The second step is where the magnetism lies. If you ask with delight, others are delighted to give you what you want. If you don’t – watch out.
That means your energy can’t depend on their response to your ask. Dr DiGangi defines codependents as those who don’t know how to regulate their own nervous system so they try to get someone else’s behavior to do it. When you’re advocating for what you want, it’s easy to rest your emotions on whether someone else gives you what you want. But that foundation is far too shaky. You have to embody the emotion you want others to return. For me, that’s always delight. When I ask with delight, I’m far more likely to receive. And when I ask with delight, receiving isn’t as important. I’ve found my delight and often that’s enough.
You are an advocate. Whether you’re asking your kids to eat their vegetables, your partner to do the laundry, your team to come into the office or your customer to buy more products – you are advocating. Harness the energy of your emotions well and your ability to collect your wins will multiply.
I hope that you approach this holiday season with delight if that’s accessible to you. For some, this is a very hard time of year and delight can’t be found. It may be that peace or even patience to get through it is the best you can imagine. Whatever the best is for you, I hope you find it.
Next week the newsletter is on break for the holiday. Then I have a lot of interesting new things coming your way, and a little change to the newsletter is one of those things. Stay tuned for that!