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How To Be More Assertive In 6 Basic Steps

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Many of us struggle to find our voices, even at times when we know that we should speak up. Being assertive is linked to your self-confidence, and not doing it could be holding you back both in your personal and your professional life. Follow these steps below to become more assertive and stand your ground.

1. Write down your thoughts

If you are feeling that you need to stand up for yourself, write down what you are thinking. Plan out how you can tell someone what you think. Even if it’s not for a specific conversation, write down what you need to say and how you can phrase it. This exercise is not intended to be read by someone else but rather to help you practice what to say. It could help with your confidence the next time an opportunity to say something comes up.

2. Choose words carefully

Start training yourself to not say certain words that will interrupt you and make you sound (and feel) less assertive. These include um, like, you know, ah, and so on. It’s much better to take a pause, take a breath, and think about what you want to say. Silence is powerful, and can be a better tool for assertiveness than filling that silence with meaningless noise. Practicing this will also make you feel better able to talk without using these words as time goes on.

“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.” – Pearl Strachan Hurd

3. Positively reinforce

When you do stand your ground or speak out, especially if you normally wouldn’t, be sure to reward yourself. Tell yourself about what a great job you have done, or give yourself a treat. Allow yourself a small celebration, even if it is only inside your own head. No matter what the outcome was, reinforce the behaviour in yourself by feeling positive about it.

4. Stand up at home

If you are not assertive in any area of your life, then standing up to your friends and family could be the easiest first step. This will help you to feel more confident before you increase your levels of assertiveness at work. It’s easier to stand up to people we know and like, because they will forgive us even if they think we have spoken out of turn. With more self-confidence, you can tackle the office head-on too.

5. Follow your own rules

If speaking up isn’t possible, think about ways that you can be more assertive through your actions. If you have a colleague that is always trying to involve you in other projects rather than your own work, consider setting a rule that you will only help them when you have finished your daily tasks. If you find that your work runs over into your lunch hour and leaves you with no break, get up from your chair and go for a walk where work can’t find you.

“Make your own rules or be a slave to another man’s.” – William Blake

6. Use body language

Having a slumped posture indicates defeat before you even consider raising your hand. Use body language to convey authority and your voice will be better heard. Straighten your shoulders, stop crossing your arms, keep your head straight, and keep your chin up high. Look people in the eye when you speak to them if you can, and you will find that your words feel stronger when they come from a stronger position.

The most important thing about becoming more assertive is to try. If you never go for step one, you will always struggle to be assertive, and you will never help yourself. Get a backbone and a voice for your own sake – with these steps it comes easier than you might think!

How have you helped yourself become more assertive? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Kate Thora is a Senior Content Specialist for Uphours, an online resource with information about businesses worldwide. Whenever not working, she likes to catch up with the latest business trends on her favourite industry blogs.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Alok (Pashupati Kalyan Parishad)

    Apr 23, 2017 at 7:58 am

    I think we should listen our heart and inner soul and give it voice when required.

  2. Mind Man

    Apr 20, 2017 at 3:38 am

    Hi wonderful post you have above,our 2 cents:
    1)The problem with people being not assertive is,everybody wants an ice cream sundae life.Everybody wants an easier option in life and quick returns or profit from anything they can get their hands on.Most people are so passive in their behaviors that they rather be listening crap from their bosses then being assertive and proving their points in case they are right about it.
    2)This may have stem from early childhood trauma,or continuous disappointments in life ,but the good news is in order to be assertive,first you need to find yourself.You really need to find yourself,your purpose in life.The thing which you know most about,the thing which you have educated yourself about,the thing on which you can take a class full of students right now,is the thing about which you will be most assertive because you know that thing inside out.This is the real reason.This is how you do all those steps that are mentioned above.
    3)In short Find your purpose,Find what you know most about,practice it,educate yourself about it,then you can face the world and any challenges that it may throw upon you.

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Life

How to Write a Personal Destiny Statement in 3 Steps

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We all have a God-given destiny to fulfill that we were each born with. I personally believe it is buried deep down within us. The number one secret to success is to let it emerge out of you and release it to the world. What is my destiny you may ask? It is the thing you would regret not doing before leaving Planet Earth. (more…)

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Don’t Want To Feel Like A Failure Anymore? Stop Doing These 6 Things

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It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

There’s that little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you don’t have the stuff to make it all happen. Not now and not ever. You feel like a failure…it’s holding you back and you don’t know how to deal with it. Well you could do yourself a favor and start dealing with it by doing the following things:

1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

4. Stop Thinking You’re Supposed To Be Superhuman

In fact, it’s very likely that you’re already doing, learning and succeeding at WAY more than most other people are. But for entrepreneurs, somehow, that never seems to be enough. You don’t just want to be successful after a few years of hard work (which is normal). You want to be successful after only a few months. Because you’re special…or at least you think you are…

Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

5. Stop Being So Incredibly Stubborn

Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

Those Who Failed Their Way To Success

Quotes To Live By:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

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Life

Why You Never Have Enough Time and What You Need to Do About It

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Has this ever happened to you? You had an assignment, and the deadline was far away. You didn’t work on it much, but in the back of your mind, that insistent little voice was always whispering, “I gotta get this assignment done.” (more…)

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Life

6 Unusual Exercises to Effectively Increase Your Creativity Faster Than Ever

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Although a vast majority of people think that creativity is something you are born with, the truth is a bit different. While we cannot deny that you need natural talent to a certain extent, stimulating creative thinking is indeed a matter of practice. If you give this thought a bit of thinking, you can realize pretty quickly that even the most fascinating and creative minds have faced the lack of creativity at some point in their lives. (more…)

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