“My fear of failure along with my fear of missing out keeps my mouth shut and makes me wait and see what happens.” – coaching client

In recent coaching sessions and conversations, a common theme emerges – the struggle against challenges, fuelled by fear and complacency. Many of us find ourselves in situations where we let things slide, whether out of necessity, a desire to help, or a fear of disrupting the status quo.

But what happens when we don’t stand up for ourselves?

Impact and Consequences:

The consequences of staying silent can be profound. Throughout my career, I’ve experienced first-hand the ramifications of remaining silent. There were many occasions where I found myself overwhelmed and undervalued in the workplace. I hesitated to speak up, fearing that I would be perceived as incompetent or disruptive. However, as the pressure mounted and I found myself trapped in a state of mediocre acceptance of my circumstances, I realised that my silence, along with that of my colleagues, only perpetuated the situation. It wasn’t until I gathered the courage to voice my concerns that I began to reclaim control over my life and career. Learning to recognise the signs of impending disaster earlier in the process has been an important skill learnt.

Recognising the Need for Change:

Recognising when change is necessary is crucial. Sometimes, it takes courage to voice our thoughts and opinions, especially in professional settings.

But the alternative – remaining silent – can lead to feelings of guilt, disappointment, and frustration. After a meeting a few years ago, a colleague approached me, thanking me for voicing what others were thinking but couldn’t find it in themselves to say. She would never know that my hands were sweating, my heart pounding and I thought 10 times about what I wanted to say.

Actionable Steps:

So, when do we gather our courage and say, “Enough”?

Here are some actionable steps we can take:

  • Self-reflection: Take a moment to reflect on our current situation. Why is it a problem? What needs to change?


  • Setting Boundaries: Be honest with ourselves about our boundaries and priorities. What are we willing to accept, and what are we not.


  • Communication: Have open, honest conversations with ourselves and our employers. Voice our concerns and negotiate for change. Being proactive and voicing our concerns has often led to positive changes in my work environment and situation.


  • Seeking Support: Don’t be afraid to seek support from friends, family, or professional mentors. Sometimes, a fresh perspective can make all the difference. Discussing my concerns with a mentor or coach has helped me gain clarity and confidence in addressing workplace challenges or seeing the bigger picture.


  • Taking Action: Remember, we have the power to drive our own car. Take proactive steps to reclaim control over our life and our career. Advocating for the team and myself by taking on new challenges and seeking opportunities for growth has been instrumental in my journey.

If we’re feeling that we are just along for the ride, it’s time to renegotiate our circumstances and reclaim control over our lives.

This doesn’t mean blowing things up; it means taking proactive steps to advocate for ourselves and our well-being.

We owe it to ourselves to stand up for what we want and what we deserve.

Like Pieter de Villiers from Shadowmatch says:

Stop chewing bubble gum. Get off the couch. And do it.

Let’s explore how you can overcome challenges, find your voice, and thrive in your professional life. Schedule a free Discovery session with me here