Assertiveness in 5 Steps

Who here often has a problem being assertive? Do you ever feel like saying no to people is too hard? Would you rather avoid all conflict than stand up for yourself, even if you know you’re right? 

Well, if you answered yes to any of those questions, then you might be a little like me. Assertive and Zoey often don’t go well together. I usually just want to keep everyone around me happy and shrug things off. This is something I’ve been dealing with quite a bit lately, both with the job hunting thing and with medical needs, requests, etc. This also happens to be one of my New Year resolutions, standing up for myself.

The other day, Gen made a really good point that made me stop and think. While going through one of my rants about always needing to chase after people, she looked at me and bluntly said, “it’s because you’re looking at this the wrong way… you should see it as your job to go after anything you want”. Yes, in the moment, this may have been hard to hear, but my goodness, do I have a smart wife! It was exactly what I needed to hear. It was really quite the ‘aha’ moment for me. So, what do I do when I have one of these epiphanies? I blog about it, of course! This way, it can become a special moment for all of you as well!

Here are some simple pointers on how to be more assertive in  your own life:

Most important one (for me, anyways): Remind yourself you are worth it! A mantra I like to use, is “I am enough”... makes me remember that I deserve just as good treatment as the other person.

Next, come the 4 P’s – Polite, Precise, Persistent, and Prototype

Polite: Accusing or attacking the other person will not get you anything. Assertiveness means asking for what you want, but in a polite and respectful way. Don’t be mean.

Precise: being polite is super important, but you also need to be precise about what it is that you want to happen. Expressing yourself well will go a long way.

Persistent: This is one that I have a lot of trouble with. If I haven’t heard back from anyone about a job I applied for, I never know how long to wait before calling and following up. Everyone I’ve asked has different theories about this one. My thoughts are that well, there’s really nothing I can lose… I already don’t have the job, so any steps I take can only bring me closer to getting it.

Prototype: How this word relates to what we’re talking about…


  • “the original or model on which something is based or formed”
  • “someone or something that serves to illustrate the typical qualities of a class; model; exemplar”


Okay, so in other words, I think having an example to follow can be really helpful. I’m sure there’s at least one specific person you think of when you’re trying to be more assertive… a friend, a sibling, a teacher, a parent, whathaveyou. Well, try to imagine how that person would handle the situation 🙂

How do you feel about being assertive?

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