Are you always feeling like a pushover in life? Do you bend over backwards and make way for others? Are others slapping you in face and getting away with it? Are your friends always taking advantage of your “meekness” and getting you to do things for them while you can barely get time to accomplish your own things? Are you letting others take the credit for your solid work while you lurk around in the shadows watching helplessly? If this sounds like you, then you need to inject a heavy dose of assertiveness into your approach to life.
Conventional wisdom shows that the more assertive people simply get ahead in life while the less assertive types don’t go as far whether they are smart, intelligent and highly capable. If you already have these qualities, then adding some assertiveness in your “approach” will help you soar high in life and your career. Some people are “naturally” assertive but you can also make determined steps towards learning and internalizing a tough-minded and headstrong approach to issues. Here are some simple learnable steps that you can use in order to become a more assertive person:
Make quick decisions
Your decision-making skills are an integral part of building an assertive personality. If you are going to be more assertive, then you must learn to make quick decisions. Making quick decisions on situations or dilemmas mean that you will have to take the lead. Do not over-think issues. If you are an intelligent and highly capable person, then you only have to trust your gut, not your decision-making skills. Over-thinking problems leads to procrastination and lethargy. Things are not always so complex when you begin DOING them.
Know what you want
In every situation that presents itself, it is important to clearly understand what YOU want. If you have no clue of what YOU want, you will have a hard time standing up for yourself in situations. Develop the vision of what you want clearly in your mind so that you will readily grasp it when the opportunity presents itself.
Set very clear expectations
This is somewhat similar to the previous point. But it is more empirical and goes a step further. Instead of simply “knowing” what you want, put in place very clear expectations. Understand what you will expect from yourself and from others that you will deal with in certain situations. It is also important to know your limits. A person who is always on the back-burner because it suits their personality best should not expect to rise to the top too quickly.
Get over your fears
One of the reasons why you are sometimes overlooked in preference to others is because that is how you prefer it, even though you may not even know it. Some people simply prefer standing in the shadows and others will only keep you where you are most comfortable. Start by overcoming your “stage fright” and do not shy away from dominating and taking the credit for a task that you have immensely contributed to. Letting others hog the limelight after you have done all the heavy-lifting sounds quite noble but it is always not rewarded enough. If you want to be more assertive, learn to take the centre-stage or the front seat.
Project confidence with your body language
There are plenty of tips on how you can effectively deploy your body language in order to communicate greater assertiveness and confidence before you even open your mouth. Use your body language to project a confident vibe. Even the most confident people have their fears, but they are able to effectively conceal it with their body language. Keep your fears to yourself. Do not let your body communicate what you are feeling inside. The most common body language tips include standing straight with your chin up and the shoulders back. Also avoid fidgeting. These are qualities that can be practiced and perfected.
Apart from the body language, there are ways in which you can also project assertiveness with your words. You are unlikely to appear assertive if you are speaking slowly and mumbling words. In fact, you are likely to make mistakes on even the simplest of words if you are mumbling and nervous. It is also important to stop talking fast as it betrays a lack of confidence and nervousness. Instead, talk slowly and deliberately with clear diction. You also need to add a touch of authoritativeness in the way you convey your messages in order to appear very assertive.
Dress well and to impress
The way you dress will also do you justice if you want to project assertiveness in your personality and approach to virtually everything. Always dress for success. The first step is to ensure that the clothes that you wear fit properly. They should also be clean and neat. The importance of the outer image cannot be overestimated. Looking good through proper grooming and dressing inspires an inner confidence that will help you become more assertive in situations.
Change the way you think
At the end of the day, no amount of dressing, posture or decision-making will make you more confident and assertive if you do not change the way you think about yourself and your actions. The mind is the ultimate master on behaviour and you have to modify your thinking if you are planning to make any significant changes on how you behave and act.
You should for example free yourself up to simply stand up for what you believe in. Do not compromise on your beliefs and principles simply because others have taken a different course. If someone is taking undue credit for something, tell them what they are doing is wrong. It may not make you the most popular person but it will certainly make you a more assertive person who gets things done their way.