All things are ready, if our minds be so — William Shakespeare
Preparation is the key. The more prepared you are, the more in control you will feel, and the more confident you will be. Preparation means being aware of the particular situation that needs attention, knowing the person you need to talk to, and having an understanding of the message that you want to communicate. Writing it down will help ensure you cover every aspect and not miss a thing. If you are in a ‘real world’ situation having it on paper in front of you will help keep you focused on the issue and minimize confusion and flustered feelings. It will also help if you will anticipate any responses or objections and plan how to address concerns. If this is to do with your online business, having your policies clearly written will make it easy to point customers in that direction to learn more without you having to explain your self over and over again.
Keep in mind that you do not need to justify every opinion or statement you make. Never apologize for being yourself. Some people can easily sense if you try to mask the real you. This is a major turn-off for majority of the people. In our example above, you may feel a need to apologize for wanting to spend time with your family which is why you don’t work weekends, or you might want to hide you don’t work a certain day because of your faith. However, these are the things that make you YOU, and this is not something you should apologize for.
We’ve covered a lot in this series of blog posts and now we are going to pull it all together. It’s time to take a look at the steps you need to take to become more assertive.
The steps are:
- Identify the situations you want to work on. What are the situations where your lack of assertiveness really holds you back? Think about how you normally deal with these situations. Do you normally deal with it in a passive or aggressive way? List these situations in order from easiest to hardest.
- Identify any unhelpful thinking associated with these situations. For example, are you accepting of a situation even though it is damaging to you or your business because you don’t want to upset someone?
- Come up with a more assertive way of thinking about the situation. Consider the more assertive ways to handle this situation
- Identify any unhelpful behavior you have been using when you have tried to address this situation before. Remember to look at both verbal and non-verbal behavior. For example, if you know that a craft fair does not attract your target market but a friend keeps putting you under pressure to have a stall there, do you end up avoiding your friend rather than confronting the situation?
- Consider a better approach, so in the example above, rather than avoiding your friend, would simply telling her that you don’t want to attend be the better option?
- Rehearse what you are going to say and do. It can be helpful sometimes to write down what you want to say. This will mean you are prepared for when a situation arises and you aren¡t floundering wondering what to do.
- The next time you are in this situation, follow your plan as you’ve outlined. When you’ve finished, think about how it went and what you’d do differently another time.
What is left for you is to practice, practice, practice. Build up your self-confidence and self-esteem.
You may make mistakes when you are putting your new found assertive skills into practice – however that is normal. Making mistakes is simply a way to build your experience and to learn what works best for you.
Put all the knowledge and wisdom you have gained into your everyday life and see what happens. Still unconvinced of the benefits of asserting yourself? Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen to me if I learn to be assertive?” Now ask yourself, “What’s the best thing that could happen to me if I learn to be assertive?”
Imagine yourself in the position of assertiveness. You have learned to stand up for yourself and people are no longer taking advantage of your good nature and willingness to help.
You have gained a brand new position of authority at work doing only your own work. Your spouse has a newfound respect for you. Even your kids are more respectful, since you taught them how to treat you. You are not being mean to anyone, just firm about how you intend to be treated from now on. Elbert Hubbard said, “To know when to be generous and when to be firm — that is wisdom.”
Remember, being assertive is about standing up for yourself and your rights, but without stomping on the other person’s feelings and rights.
Your attitude, behavior, beliefs, and values are now in line with who you really are: an assertive, no-nonsense, action-oriented, take-charge kind of person!