What’s on your mind? Do you tell anyone? Do you let people know when they are doing something you don’t like? Or do you simply accept whatever situation life has given you and never raise your voice to tell the world what you want?
If you’re not used to being assertive it can be easy to just let others push you around and to not ask for what you want. Being assertive can be difficult at first. The good news is once you start being assertive you will love how much better you feel and how many more things go your way.
Being assertive is something that comes with practice. The more you take action, the more you see yourself as someone who takes action and the easier it will be in the future. But for those who are tired of being walked on and want to change, here are some tips to help you start being more assertive.
There is no point in being assertive if you don’t have anything to say. I think a lot of people who don’t see themselves as being assertive enough are simply that way because they don’t have many beliefs and opinions to act on.
Think about life, read books, and form your own opinions. When you do you’ll be able to take over the conversation and show the crowd that you are a creative and assertive person. The stronger beliefs you have the more inclined you will be to defend them if those beliefs ever get challenged.
The more you defend your beliefs the more you get used to being assertive and the more likely you are to be assertive in other areas of life as well.
Figure Out Exactly What You Want
A lot of people aren’t assertive because they don’t have goals. When you don’t know exactly what you want to accomplish it is a lot easier to just go along for the ride and hope someone else has your best interests in mind. (Which of course they don’t, they have their own best interest in mind)
If you ordered a turkey sandwich at a restaurant and they give you a burrito instead you know exactly what you want and you know what they gave you. It doesn’t take more than two minutes to go up there and say, “Excuse me I didn’t order this”
In most cases you can get it fixed quickly and neither side will think about it anymore after it is all said and done.
When you are in a situation like a partnership you also have to know exactly what you want and what both parties expect. Because if you don’t one party can take over and change things up in a way that doesn’t benefit you anymore.
Before you can be assertive and stick up for what you want, you have to clearly define what it is you want. If you are just being loud and annoying for no reason, people will simply consider you a jerk. But if you have a reason, other people will work with you to help you out.
Know Your Situation
Before you start throwing your weight around understand what your situation is. Who are you dealing with? What are your rights? And who has the power?
I hardly ever make any big decisions without looking at all the facts and knowing exactly what the pros and cons are. When I was getting my tires realigned they noticed that my front tire had worn down so much that it needed to be replaced.
They wanted to replace it for $95. I looked at it and saw that it defiantly needed to be replaced, but I also knew that the Wal-Mart down the street could give me a brand new tire for $86, so I wasn’t about to pay $95 for it here. I let them know and they agreed to lower the price to $85 to beat Wal-Mart.
This is an example of what can happen when you know what situation you are in. When you know your rights are you know what you can fight for and how you can go about it. If you don’t you may walk away saying “oh well, nothing I can do about it” instead of walking away saying, “I got what I wanted”
Just Say “No”
When someone says something you don’t agree with or when someone else puts words in your mouth, it is ok to say NO. I know it can be a lot easier to simply go along with other people, especially if they are assertive themselves.
But you’ll feel more like a winner and you’ll get what you want if you speak your mind. It is ok to disagree with people. You’ll get more respect if you have your own opinions.
Just speak your mind and say “no” when you don’t agree. It may be hard to do it at first, but the more you do it the easier it will become.
You don’t know until you ask. The worst someone can say is no, and if they do nothing changes. If they say yes than your world can change. Doesn’t that make 1 yes worth more than 50 no’s?
I started to learn about the power of asking questions when I was a little kid. Even though I was never a great student I knew the importance of getting good grades. Sometimes I would forget to turn in huge assignments on their due date or forget to study for a test. It was never really something I put a lot of effort into.
Luckily since I knew the importance of answering questions I would always ask the teachers for help. If I missed a paper I would ask if I could turn it in later for partial credit, If my grade was low I would ask if there was any extra credit, and if I simply wanted to learn something that wasn’t covered in the book I would ask about it.
It didn’t always work. Sometimes the teachers told me they couldn’t help me and that I should have been more responsible. But sometimes they actually saw things my way and were more lenient. I was never a very good student and I’ve always put other passions ahead of my school work, but I was able to pass with a B average mainly because I knew the importance of asking questions.
Realize That You Are The Only One Who Has Your Best Interest In Mind
Sometimes people are silent because they want to have someone else take control of the situation. But when you do you are giving up your free will to someone else. Remember, you are the only one that is going to care about your best interests.
Sure other people may be concerned about you and may want to see you succeed, they may even stand up for your rights (when they are in the same situation as you), but you can’t rely on other people to fight all your battles for you.
You are the one who cares about your interests more than anyone else and so you are the one who needs to fix any problems you may have. Nobody else is coming to the rescue. So remember if you want to change something, just jump in there and change it. The worst that can happen is someone else says no and if they do you are back to where you started from. You can’t lose.
Realize You Don’t Need To Look “Cool”
Sometimes people aren’t assertive because they don’t want to embarrass themselves in front of other people. Sometimes it isn’t cool to make a big fuss about the bill at a restaurant (even if they are trying to rip you off).
The easiest way to get around this is to remember that you don’t need to be cool. You don’t need to refuse to take action just to keep up your image. In fact that is a stupid idea.
If you don’t ask for what you want because you are afraid of looking like a fool in front of other people you are never going to get what you want. Remember that you will never be here again and if you want something, now is your time to get it.
Don’t worry about what other people think about you. Remember, being assertive and not caring what other people think about you are both very attractive qualities to have. It can make you look cool because you’re not afraid to speak your mind and tell it how it is.
There is something to be said about dressing well. When you dress well you feel better about yourself. You feel more confident, and as a result you display more confidence in front of other people. It makes it easier to go out and be assertive when you feel like you look good and you look like a professional.
Another advantage of dressing well is that other people will see you dressed well and they will be more likely to respond positively to your assertiveness. While people may still help a man dressed in rags, a man dressed in a suit is going to get more help and respect.
Pick Your Battles And Admit When You Are Wrong
Don’t be a jerk. You don’t need to yell at the waiter and call him names because he got your order wrong. People make mistakes, so be kind to them. Just don’t let them push you around, but don’t push them around either. It takes a little balance to get it right and that is why you have a conscious and a code of ethics.
Always remember that you can be the one who is wrong in an argument just like anyone else. Admit when you are wrong and don’t point fingers at a designated scapegoat. There is power in blaming yourself as it helps you to grow and other people respect you more.
Start forcing yourself to speak up and to be assertive in everyday life and eventually you’ll get to a situation where it comes naturally. When you can balance assertiveness with ethics you’ll find that life has a lot more options in it.