If Rosa Parks, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela had not asked for they wanted, and followed it through, then the world would have been a poorer place.
Being assertive does not mean being a bitch or a bastard. You can be kind and be assertive and you don’t have to be nasty or brutal to get what you want.
Not convinced? Here’s what being assertive means…
- Not having to be aggressive to get your own way (i.e. not have to scare the pants off people)
- Not making other people feel bad/belittling other people when asking for what you want.
- Acknowledging your weaknesses and your strengths and doing something about them.
- Being able to accept compliments, without having to make excuses for yourself.
I learned the hard way, in a job where I felt- for whatever reason - where when things went wrong they seemed to be my fault. I ended up thinking I was the world’s worst journalist, that I was a terrible mother, a terrible manager, a rubbish partner – you name it I felt bad at it.
It took a panic attack after a colleague presented some of my ideas as his own to realise that my problem was that I was not assertive enough. He hadn’t done anything wrong, I had – by not sticking up for myself.
It was actually my GP who visited me at home and prescribed anti-depressants (which I did not take), which made me take action.
I bought a book How to be assertive in any situation (I nearly charged it to expenses when I was made redundant but hey I was still learing). It’s published by Pearson and written by Sue Hadfield and Gill Hasson.
I would recommend this book. It saved my sanity, my relationship(s) and my career.
You need to read it but the key points I learned were:
Set yourself positive goals that make you feel good about yourself, whether it’s exercise, professional training, taking more effort to cook or spending more time with your children.
Avoid medication. Unless you have a serious mental illness.
Try and learn from past mistakes – and only bring them if others can learn from them (hence my para above).
Learn to give a compliment.