If you ask, you shall receive. It sounds simplistic, but it works in all kinds of ways.
If you’d like to make a sale, ask your customer if they’re ready to buy.
If you’d like to work on a new project, ask if you can get involved.
If you want a raise, ask for one.
Asking for what you want is often the quickest way to get it. Self-assertion allows you to take control, be proactive and grow as a person. Instead of seeing a world of limits, you see a world of opportunities. Instead of living small, you live large.
Being assertive is a critical skill, but many people are hesitant to try. If this is something you struggle with, read on for some helpful tips.
Excuses Won’t Get You Anywhere
There are so many excuses that keep us from being assertive. Speaking up can be scary, especially if you are shy. You really don’t want to bother anyone. And you may assume you will just get no for an answer anyway. You would rather not even try. Or you may be so bogged down by the day-to-day grind that you lack the energy to even think about what you really want and how to ask for it.
For many people, it may be much more comfortable to take on the role of the martyr, working away diligently, never asking for more. As long as you keep your head down, work hard, and play nice, you will be showered with rewards from on high, right? Not exactly.
The truth is that other people are busy. They may like you a lot. They may even want to help you, but they can’t read your mind. They aren’t going to sit around brainstorming ways to help you advance your personal goals. If you want to get ahead, you have to make it happen. You have to give yourself a chance.
By taking the initiative, you can make important changes in your work environment. Instead of putting up with problems, you offer solutions. You make your job work for you.
This is especially helpful for people who find their jobs to be increasingly boring or unfulfilling. You could get stuck in a rut, become resentful, and start daydreaming about finding a new career, or you could brainstorm ways to expand your current role. Is another department overwhelmed and in need of extra help? Is there a promotion opening up? Could you propose a new project?
It’s important to allow yourself to think outside the box and avoid self-imposed limits. You just might have the perfect answer.
Why It’s Worth It
Just asking for what you want can change your whole working experience. You could get an exciting project that breathes fresh life into your job. You could get a promotion or a raise. You could make new connections, strike up friendships or learn valuable skills.
The best part is that you get empowered in the process. You realize it’s not so scary, after-all. You gain more confidence. You realize that you can make a difference.
It’s Not All About Taking
People tend to confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness. But they aren’t the same thing. You don’t have to throw elbows, step on toes, or make a spectacle to get what you want.
It doesn’t have to be a gimmee-gimmee situation. It’s all in your approach. The key is to find a way to meet someone else’s needs at the same time. Instead of pushing your own agenda, find a way to tie it to someone else’s. That way everyone benefits, and you give others a reason to say yes. With a little imagination, you can create a win-win situation and open the door to new opportunities – for yourself and others.
Get Over Your Fear of Rejection
If you are still hesitant, just start small. Find one thing that could make a real difference to you, and then ask for it. Becoming assertive is like working a muscle. The more you do it, the stronger you become.
If things don’t work out as you hoped, remember that failure is not a sign of weakness. It isn’t a sign that something is wrong with you. Failure just shows your pushing the boundaries.
Failure is not the end of the story. It is the beginning. When something is hard and you are really struggling with it, that is the point when you really begin to grow and learn. Stick with it. Have patience with yourself. Don’t give up.
Michael Jordan once said,
“I failed over and over in my life and that is why I succeed.”
Isn’t that the story of humanity right there? We are never going to be perfect, but if we have courage and determination and confidence, we can succeed.
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