Are you a pushover, doormat, or people pleaser? Stop it -- it's not good for you or anyone around you! These tips for standing up for yourself at work or home will help you become more assertive.
The following suggestions are inspired by something that often happens in my writing career: editors and publishers ask me to write an article, but don't want to pay what I normally charge ($1 a word or $50 an hour).
How do I deal with it? By applying tips that help me stand up for myself, in any situation...
1. Ask questions about the issue. When I think I deserve more money for an article assignment, I say, "Fifty cents cents per word seems a little low to me. Can we raise it to a dollar a word?" It's a simple question, and my editors can say no if they want. If they say no, I often ask why. Even if I lose the article assignment, I'll gain self-respect. Asking for what you want clearly and honestly is a great way to stand up for yourself.
2. Be clear about why you're standing up for yourself. Why do I want to earn more money, or a dollar a word? Because my articles need very little editing, I always turn them in on time or early, I'm easy to work with, and I cite reliable sources. To be more assertive at work, you need to figure out what you want and why you want it. Once you're clear why you want it, you'll be better able to express it -- which will help you stand up for yourself at work.
3. Give reasons that support your wishes or plans. In my case, I'd say: "I've been writing for this magazine for almost two years, and have always turned in great work. I'm prompt and reliable. Fifty cents per word seems a little low to me. Do you think we could raise it to a dollar a word?" If you're new to standing up for yourself or practicing assertiveness tips, you might practice saying or writing what you want before you're in the situation. The more comfortable you are with your request, the more confident you'll feel when the time comes to stand up for yourself.
4. Be realistic. Let's move away from my writing example for a moment. If you're the mom of a teen who absolutely refuses to pick up his clothes or the daughter of an overly "supportive" mother who calls you twice a day, standing up for yourself -- no matter how assertive you are -- may not be work. That is, standing up for yourself at home or work doesn't mean everyone around you will suddenly do as you wish! But, being assertive will help you gain self-respect.
5. Expect to negotiate. Back to the "asking for a raise" example: if this magazine simply can't afford to pay me more, then I may not earn the pay rate I want. That's fine. I'm happy to compromise - and having lived in Africa for three years, I'm adept at bartering! A "no" doesn't mean the door is firmly shut. It just means you may have to negotiate a little and be firm about standing up for yourself, which is good for your brain and self-esteem.
If you're a people pleaser, read How to Say "No" Without Feeling Guilty.
If you have any questions or thoughts on these assertiveness tips, please comment below...
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen a full-time writer and blogger; she created the "Quips and Tips" blogs: