Be Assertive: How to Stop Being a Pushover

Be Assertive: Are you someone who defaults to "yes" when you would rather say no? Does everyone in the office come to you for help? Starting to feel resentful? Want to do something about it?

There are three easy steps you can take right now to take back your power and stop being a pushover. You can do it nicely!

3 Steps to Stop Being a Pushover

 1. Master the Art of the Nice No

There are ways and ways of saying no. You don’t have to be aggressive or rude to refuse to do something that’s not convenient, or that you don’t want to do.

The easiest way to change your mindset about saying no is to be straightforward, polite and calm. You don’t need to give an excuse or explanation, just a matter of fact refusal.

If you find it difficult to say no, write yourself an all-purpose script that goes something like “No, doing X isn’t possible today/this week/that night.” That’s all. Tailor it to what feels right for you but keep it short, sweet and polite.

2. Stop apologizing

The first step to stop the apology reflex is to quarantine the word sorry to use only when it’s appropriate. Pushovers use ‘sorry’ as a defensive weapon essentially saying don’t hit me for not doing what you want. Sorry gives away your power and puts you at fault in what should be a no-fault situation.

Apologizing is asking the other person to keep pushing to see if you’ll cave in, as it signals powerlessness. Keep your refusal straightforward, polite and respectful. And don’t say sorry!

3. Offer a compromise

There’s a balance between being a pushover and being unreasonable. Sometimes every team member has to go outside their job description to get the work done. If you’re asked to work a weekend or late, and you really can’t or don’t want to, offer an alternative. Perhaps you could offer to come in early or take work home or prioritize your work so you can help straight away.

Getting a reputation as a pushover is not a good career move. If you signal powerlessness all the time you’ll get stuck with boring projects, miss out on promotions and find yourself washing the cups after meetings.  You will win more respect and trust if you set and maintain clear boundaries and keep the communication channels open. And being a good team member means balancing out assertiveness with cooperation.

Why Being Assertive Is Important

Learning to be assertive is one of the most important life skills you can develop. Studies have shown that being assertive can lead to a whole host of benefits, from increased self-confidence to better relationships and improved mental and physical health.

Before you start, it’s important to understand what being assertive means. Psychologists define assertiveness as being able to express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view while respecting the rights and beliefs of others. The basis of assertiveness is mutual respect and honesty. Assertive communicators are straightforward and know how to set and maintain healthy boundaries. Their relationships value and promote trust.

If you’re serious about living an authentic life and succeeding in reaching your goals, learning to be assertive is crucial. Think about how you feel about your life right now. Are you satisfied with your personal and professional situation? Are you conflict avoidant? Do you worry about what other people think of you? If you’re not happy with where you are now, the good news is that assertiveness is a habit that can be learned just like any other. With practice and commitment, you can change your mindset and live a life more aligned with your true values and aspirations.

Try these tips for introducing a more assertive approach into your life:
    • Decide what your priorities are and stick to them.
    • Work out your individual boundaries.
    • Develop a positive open posture and look people in the eye when you speak to them.
    • Use positive ‘I’ statements about how you’re feeling instead of blaming or finding fault with the other person. Be especially wary of feeling tempted to say, ‘you always’ or ‘you never.’
    • Get comfortable with saying ‘no’ to things you don’t want to or can’t do. Keep it simple and non-emotive and don’t feel you need to add an excuse or explanation.
    • Only use ‘sorry’ when it’s appropriate for the situation. You don’t need to apologize for saying no.
    • Offer alternative suggestions to proposals you don’t like.
    • Look for compromises.
    • Be honest and direct about your feelings, thoughts, and intentions.
    • Consider writing a script for a situation that feels awkward. Rehearse being confident.

Try to keep your focus on the impact of the situation and finding a way to work together to find a mutually satisfying solution.
Above all, being assertive means staying in your power, accepting that you have control over how you approach the situation and your feelings about it. Assertiveness won’t get you everything you want all the time, but you will feel in control and deal much better with situations that would have previously been stressful.

Be Your Authentic Self

Being your authentic self sounds wise, yes? But did you know that being true to yourself has a range of benefits? Studies have shown that authenticity is more than a feel-good way of life, it is good for your health, relationships, even your career!
Here are some of the top benefits of living an authentic life.

    1. Greater self-confidence
To live an authentic life has a significant effect on your self-confidence. You like yourself more, you trust your judgment, you acknowledge and work with your own unique set of skills and talents, and you make better choices that align with how you want to be.

    2. More respect
As your confidence grows, you’ll inspire respect in others as they see you living in your truth. Everyone wants someone to look up to, and people recognize and respect authenticity. You’ll find yourself being a role model for others.

    3. Greater trust
When people see you living in alignment with your values, see you being straightforwardly yourself, their trust in you will soar. And trustworthy people make great leaders. If you become known for being honest and trustworthy, you’re more likely to be promoted or given opportunities.

    4. Better health
Living in alignment means you’re much more likely to take care of yourself, you’ll prioritize self-care, rest and balance. Researchers found that people committed to living an authentic life were more likely to eat healthy foods, exercise and get regular physical exams. Being your authentic self also sets you up for better mental health as you are calmer, less conflicted and are generally all around happier!

    5. Greater resilience
People who are at peace with their true selves are much more resilient when it comes to dealing with life’s ups and downs. They deal better with stress, which in turn has great benefits for their physical health. They don’t spend their lives in the cortisol soup that comes from being highly stressed.

    6. Better relationships
Being authentic leads to better relationships because you’re not pretending to be someone else. You can be honest and straightforward about who you are and what you value, without fear of being judged. You’re also better at managing boundaries and less judgmental of your partner.
And ultimately, living an authentic life means that when you come to the end of your natural life, there shouldn’t be any regrets! You’ve probably seen those lists of top regrets of the dying and resolved not to be one of those people. Start now by choosing to live authentically. Choose to be authentic and choose to be happy!

To put yourself first is very empowering. Think back on a time when you've taken a stand or done something to change your situation instead of complaining about it. I bet your confidence went through the roof once you started talking action.

From here on out, I want you to think of complaining as a clue to take action. When you hear yourself complain about something, or when you start thinking about complaining, stop and ask yourself what you can do about it. What can you do to change and improve the situation? Not only is it much more productive use of your time and energy than whining and complaining, it is also a great way to build your courage and self-confidence and put yourself first.

Be Assertive and Other Confidence Boosters