“For every person who climbs the ladder of success, there are a dozen waiting for the elevator.” K Griffith
Harvey’s small business failed to click, bouncing along much like his former career – going nowhere. He either said yes to keep the peace with his customers and employees or, losing patience, he lashed out, creating ill will. Harv did not understand the importance of being assertive to be successful.
Successful entrepreneurs for the most part are assertive. They do not have a problem in asking for what they want, or saying no to other’s demands that are not in their best interest. They feel secure in their actions and are willing to accept the risk of confrontation. They have the courage of their convictions. They know the price of leadership is sometimes standing alone.
What does it mean to be assertive? It is the emotional ability to assert your rights, to express yourself, and to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. It is to be able to declare who you are, what you feel and think. It involves openness, honesty, and firmness. It is an active approach to the problems of life as opposed to an unsuccessful passive approach. People who are not assertive tend to be passive, inhibited and submissive. Not admirable qualities for an entrepreneur.
Assertiveness is acting in your own best interest. It is the ability to function at ease in a variety of personal relationships. It is the ability to function as a leader and manager.
Assertiveness is setting limits on time and energy. It is having the inner strength to withstand criticism, put-downs, or anger. It is expressing honest feelings in a comfortable manner. It means the ability to disagree, to show anger, to show affection, to admit fears, and to be spontaneous – all with self-confidence.
Assertiveness is the ability to demand your personal rights, to be able to express your opinions and to have the courage to cause change. Assertive people rarely play the role of victim.
Assertive behavior is a positive attitude and a self-affirmation that places value on the other people in your life. It will help you to a happier and more fulfilling life.
Benefits of Learning to be Assertive:
The most important benefit is freedom from anxiety. With the amount of stress you will have from your business, anything that lessens tension and anxious feelings will be beneficial. Developing assertiveness tends to reduce the anxieties you may feel in relationships with others. Worrying too much about what you are going to say and do in handling any particular situation will make you anxious. Learning appropriate assertive responses will reduce those anxious feelings.
Another important benefit is emotional freedom. When we feel restricted and limited in our freedom to respond to others, we are limiting our personal freedom. People who “walk on eggs” with others are not spontaneous. No one should be subject to the domination, whims or aggression of others. If you are unable to be assertive, you are not free.
Becoming assertive is not easy. If you have a passive personality, and wish to be more assertive, you can do so. Many have. However, it will take effort, and a sustained desire to do so. If you feel you have problems in communicating or feeling confident enough to be open and honest with others, you may need some training. If you have the time and money, the easiest way is to see a psychologist specializing in such behavior therapy. However, as you probably need every dollar for your business, you may have to rely on your ability and determination to learn to become assertive.
You may wish to check with your local community college. If you cannot locate or attend a course, visit your library or local bookstore. You will find a variety of titles on the subject.
A Few Suggestions to Learn to be Assertive:
1. To begin with, you must have a sincere desire to change your behavior.
2. To bring about a change in your reaction to people, you must be willing to assume emotional risk.
3. Be prepared to surprise those who know you, as they will not be expecting your responses.
4. Start gradually; assume small risks at first, which allows you to develop confidence in your ability to handle the challenge.
5. Be easy on yourself; accept the fact there is no perfect response to every situation.
6. Practice being fair and honest in your dealings with others.
7. Do not use gimmicks or pat answers to solve problems.
8. Place a value on yourself.
9. Do not be upset if not everyone likes you. Do you like everyone?
If you do try to change, learning new behavior skills will require effort and practice, it will not be easy: I know from experience. However, you will find a major benefit; there will be a more direct and open communication with all you deal with.
Article © Copyright 2001 Dr. Paul E. Adams. Syndicated by Paradigm News, Inc.