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Steps To Cultivating Assertiveness

Written by: Kaye Doran, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


We are all entitled to have a voice and be heard. Life certainly calls for us to be assertive at times. Why is it that so many are afraid of being assertive and believe “it is just not in my personality?”

Assertiveness is a skill to be cultivated. Many believe that to be assertive is to be aggressive or confrontational, yet this is not the case.

Assertiveness is an interpersonal skill in which you demonstrate the healthy confidence to stand up for yourself while still respecting the rights of others. When you are assertive you are neither passive nor aggressive, however you are direct and honest.

Let’s look at what it takes to cultivate assertiveness.

Knowing your false stories and beliefs ‒

Early on in life, we begin to take on beliefs from the perceptions built that we overlay on our experiences. Beliefs are also developed via the people that influence us and from society. These beliefs and stories that we seed into ourselves are not the truth, for example, not being good enough, feeling stupid in certain areas or what a lot of people suffer from, not feeling worthy. The feelings are energy that has become stuck, swirling around like a whirlpool of suppression desperately trying to get our attention in order to be released and flow again. The more we hold and entertain these false stories and beliefs, the more we jam up our energetic system. They then feed the subconscious that drives how we respond to experiences. In recognizing what is really going on, we can begin to change the stories and perceptions. These beliefs and stories constantly swirling around in your mind are what hold you back.

Knowing your values ‒

In order to be in the best-suited position in life, whether that be in work or relationships, we need to know what our core values are. How can you make a stand and find your voice if you do not know what you actually stand for? When you are clear on those core values, they then become your non-negotiables. Some examples of core values are connection, team, support, compassion, respect, honesty and integrity. A consequence of not knowing these core values could be putting up with people and situations that are disrespectful to you.

Knowing what you have to offer ‒

Take ownership of your skills, knowledge, experience, insights, and expertise. What do you have to bring to the table of life? In your personal and professional life. You are a unique human being, and everyone has a value of who they are and what they know. Own it. Too much time and mental power are spent on what we are not instead of what we are. Clarity is key and keys open doors.

Knowing your boundaries ‒

Now that you know what your values are and you know your worth, you can begin to clearly define where your boundaries are. If you are not clear on your boundaries you will not be able to communicate them to others. Without understanding your boundaries, you will simply allow another person to push your buttons and trigger an emotion within you such as frustration or anger. This is where a false story is created, for example that the other person is rude or obnoxious or even disrespectful. No, the real emotional charge and mindset stem from the fact that you betrayed yourself with undefined boundaries. You allowed the other to treat you in this way. When you know your worth and know your boundaries you will be more likely to assert yourself and voice them.

Be clear on your intention ‒

If you are not clear on your intention, how can you communicate clearly?

Why do you need to speak up and what is it you wish to communicate? This is important because if you are not clear on your intention you will more than likely not get your point across. Clarity is key and keys open doors.

Let go of the outcome ‒

Of course, you have a desired outcome. Do not walk into the situation with your whole focus on the outcome, you need to remain in the moment of what you need to say and how you need to say it. If you are so focused on the outcome rather than what needs to be addressed, your position can be easily unhinged, and you may react negatively if you are not getting the result you want immediately.

The main purpose for being assertive and having a voice is because you need it; it is an act of self-respect. The other person or people may not see things the way you do or receive what you have to say in the way you would like. At the end of the day, you will know that you spoke up and asserted yourself in a way that is true, honest, and respectful towards yourself.

An assertive person is always open to negotiation. That is powerful and developing true leadership from within.

Common situations that may require you to be assertive.

  • Someone taking up your time with gossiping

  • If you are being spoken down to or bullied

  • Cliques – groups of people who may exclude you or even work against you

  • When you disagree with someone or their opinions

  • When you have a good idea to put forward

  • People not responding (gaslighting) calls or emails

  • Opportunities to grow within the organization

Deal with your emotional response before taking action and speaking up. Do not come from defence. Wherever you feel the emotion sitting in the body, breathe into it and breathe it out. The energy will begin to move through the body and eventually lift. The emotion is triggered because it is a suppressed energy from a past situation that is triggered by your current experience.

Knowing that your needs are important. Suppression feeds aggression. Pushing down your needs and your voice only makes matters worse because eventually, you will not be able to contain and control it. What is suppressed will push its way to the surface, usually inappropriately and sometimes in an irrelevant situation.

Take the time to get clear on what you ‘need’ to say. If you are not clear you will waffle and more than likely miss the point.

What outcome are you seeking? Do not charge in.

The other person is human too. You may not like them and you certainly never truly know what is taking place in someone else’s life. Respect yourself by showing respect to the others.

Body language is key. Be open and confident. Practice saying ‘no’ around the house until you become comfortable with it. Remember that getting clear on what you want to say will keep you focused and on track when saying it.

You are not responsible for how others react; you are only responsible for who and how you are in any given situation.

Choose your words wisely and do not point the finger at one another. Words have power and can connect you or disconnect. Remain proactive, not reactive.

Set yourself up to be calm before you speak.

If you are not getting the outcome you seek, and feel that you are hitting a brick wall, do not get frustrated. The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over with the same result. Take time to collect yourself and find a way over or around the roadblock. Solutions are discovered with a calm mind. Do you need to find support?

Being assertive charges your energy.

True assertiveness is a show of self-respect. When you hold back you invert your energy and block it from flow. This creates stress because you are going against your natural flow. Start slow in order to grow, remember it takes time to build a muscle if you are not used to using it in this way.

Congratulate yourself with each step forward and remember, others will not change, however “the power of change is in your hands.”

Go to my website, to set up a zoom call so we can discuss how I can best support you.

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Kaye Doran, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kaye Doran is an entrepreneur, facilitator, speaker, women’s leadership and life coach, shamanic healer, and creator of Inner Expressions, helping women realize their leadership from within. An unshakable optimist, she lives with a foot in both worlds – physical and spiritual, working with her unique blend of gifts in connection, knowing, shamanic energy sound healing, and accredited master life coaching. She empowers women with self-worth and the ability to create change. Supporting them to feel and know their inner power moving them beyond their comfort zone and back into the driver’s seat of their life. She has been working with women for three decades – and working on herself longer. Her motto is, “the power of change is in your hands.”



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