Assertiveness. The Right to Say No. At work, in live, and even to yourself when necessary.
Updated: Feb 13
This post is inspired by rereading the book: "Your Perfect Right". The book which exists since 1970 and even millions copies sold and it is recommended by so many, still is quite often unknown. As UX/UI Design Career Mentor and Career Mentor in general, I truly recommend it to all, even those who has nothing to do with career and they already reiterated or they happily work full time as parent. We all have to say NO time to time and it is not what you say but how to say it. This book would explain you more. In this post, also for myself, I would share the inspiring quotes, which I do like to memorise myself and anytime come and refresh my knowledge.
It is funny how Life brings you back the books, which you read long ago. Not only books, quite often even people. To once again, learn again to value yourself, others and life even more. To learn, to appreciate, to flow, to live and to say YES or NO when you want, like or need not when you are obligated to say it. To be truthful for yourself and never ever feel used or manipulated or to do something what makes you uncomfortable or too tired.
The book written by Dr Robert E. Alberti and Dr Michael L. Emmons is still reprinted and available for example on Book Depository.
Other similar books worth reading:
"Assertiveness: Innovations, Applications, Issues", "Your Perfect Write: The Manual for Self-Help Writers" by Dr Robert E. Alberti
"The Inner Source by Dr Michael L. Emmons and Dr David Richardson
"The Assertive Christian" by Dr Michael L. Emmons
"Accepting Each Other", "Stand Up, Speak Out, Talk Back" by Alberti and Emmons
The Perfect Gift for Yourself, Workmates, Co-Workers, Team Leaders, Managers, Business Owners, Friends, Mates, Students, Spouse...
even the best gift for your dog and cat, if we only could get them understand THE OFTEN USE PHARSE "NOT NOW". Well, at least our children can get this. After a long time of repetition.
How to say no to the dog, if your loving dog want to play and you have a massive headache?
Well quite often we simply ignore them, and they look at us, with butter eyes trying to milk us.
With Dogs is easy. But if you have the same massive headache, or funeral, or date, or massive deadline tomorrow and you asked to do something unexpectedly by your leader, even you love her/him, by your spouse, you even love her/him more, by your ok neighbour, good friend...how would you respond?
Would be that easy to ignore, say no as the same way you do with a dog, cat or even your kid?
Well not. You might be fire, you might be cause sadness in love ones.
So before you enter your home, workplace or new career place, learn how to be assertive and why it is necessary to be. Not always works but at least you know you have A RIGHT TO REFUSE.
Because quite often you just cannot NOT DO IT. However saying NO is harder than do it anyway.
AND THAT'S WRONG!!!!!! APPROACH. You burn out eventually at work even if you love it, in the relationship, friendship. You just simply cannot SAY YES to everything and please everyone.
Just like you say NO to dog, you have to say NO time to time, when you truly cannot to everybody else no matter how much you like, love them. Dog stays with you no matter of what, cats sometimes walk away, mine not after 7 years he is still with me, well it is COOLIO, and I am cool friend of him. That's how it is. The best Leaders/Good Bosses will stay and value you even more, and they will be delighted when you say YES another time. The same your spouse. Lol, she/he will be thrilled in action.
SOMETIMES DO UNEXPECTED NO just for training. Well, not too much. Just for learning and checking the water. So if the BIG NO will come, they will handle and mostly you will know how to handle yourself and stop the battle, inner battle of nodding head for everything what you asked or required to do. DO NOT EVER OVERUSE. Saying NO too much or ignoring duties as spouse or worker, will bring you divorce and no contract. SO AS IN DESIGN FIND THE BILLS POINT, THE GOLDEN RATIO. Read. Learn. Test. Apply. Revise. Redo. Reread. Relearn. If necessary.
Well Life is never ending story of learning.
As my adorable Husky, you have you retrain them time to time.
And we are HUMANS.
No matter how civilise we are,
We are still WILD BEASTS.
If we say NO with aggression we cannot called this ASSERTIVENESS.
IF WE LIE BY SAYING YES and DO NOT DO IT, WE WILL MAKE OURSELVES in TROUBLE.
So basically being assertive save your BAD ASS FROM BEING IN TROUBLE AND FROM ATTACKING AND BEING ATTACK.
LEARN. IT IS A GOLDEN KNOWLEDGE, WHICH COME WITH LIFE-LASTING COMMITMENT OF TRAINING AND PRACTICE. From grocery shopping to business deal.
And now let's speak with the dogs and cats...enough of this. I will say gently, I need a break. Come to you soon.
It is ok to say No.
When we must first take care of ourselves, to care of first the crucial priorities of the task before taking the next one or when love ones need us most, in an emergency or previous commitment. The Right Culture at work respects Work-Life Balance.
I do believe as former early education Montessori teacher, that this book or any similar, should be mandatory in schools and children should learn how to say NO too.
Some old fashioned closed minded teachers would not like it, but the modern ones would love it.
SAYING NO IS HEALTHY.
Education in general should change and especially the approach to children, the books on the long not updated list for too long and well, the psychology, emotional and mental health, social studies, money making and off course sexual and sensual life, intimacy from early age.
Children should be treated as new adults generation and should have a knowledge how to become adults before they actually do. How would they find themselves at work place or own relationship even they always had been told to say yes whatever parents or teachers asked them to do. Children do drama, because quite often they are force to do what simply they do not agreed or want or desire or like.
The force to eat, dress, go sleep at certain time because of parents preferences.
How about children preferences? Montessori Education is modern education, quite often not so well known even has been established in 1907, meaning is 113 years old. More about this you might find here https://amshq.org/About-Montessori/History-of-Montessori
Montessori is all about choices. I do believe choices Matters to become the best version of yourself and do the best for the society in which you do live.
However without knowing how to say know, not so much can be change for better.
Books about Assertiveness is one of the best which you can give to your teenager and I this year dedicate to my niece, 14 years old, Lena, who I do love so much and beyond any measure.
I feel as aunty and as former teacher and career mentor, it is time for her to read as it is a time for you to read too. I needed to re-read myself. Why? Well, to know that I made a good choice to say no. The best came just after. If you do not make space for you, how the new can accommodate in your life?
I MAKE SPACE BY SAYING NO AND I EXPERIENCE incredible SHIFT OF BETTER OUTCOME FROM ANOTHER DIRECTION unexpectedly COMING TO ME
Do not ever be afraid to SAY NO.
If you are afraid of saying now, it means that you are already in a wrong situation, professional or personal and if that's repeating you are in a deep s***
SO OBSERVE AND START TO REACT.
NOT OVERREACT BUT REACT. TAKE CHARGE.
Fear is not enemy. It is our friend. I wrote about it in another post. Keep reading. ;)
Fear is indicator that something is not right.
Some people call it is danger. For myself, danger is mostly physical with mental indicators. Fear is mostly opposite. First mental indicator after inability to overcome physical.
From danger is quick escape. From fear mostly long one. So Fear not. NEVER. Especially when it is necessary to say NO. For your own safety, others and even the present project at work.
Those below Inspiring Quotes are for you and myself including, for us to reflect on.
They are taken directly from Your Perfect Right Book and because they are available online free to reproduce as quotation of other authors, I decide to keep them for US, me and you, forever . As life, will bring soon or later another small or big situation where will be required to say no.
Why? Because That's Life. This is unchanging. The world is based on some sort of manipulation and selfishness. ME. ME. ME. For me. For me. For me. About Me Me Me. Do it for me. PLEASE.
Well, you have to know how to play this game to save your game (read life & health) for longer and not burn out with stress relative illness of constant pleasing others and forgetting about yourself. Even to simply rest. If you cumulate too much-unspoken No, well, that's might be shocking as you might become aggressive, instead of assertive. It makes actually shock you not only your colleagues, family and not responsible even strangers. AND THAT'S NOT GOOD. Depends of the accumulate anger you might even go to the prison or your own child will send you GO TO THE ROOM, NOW. OR you meet HR 1:1. So watch out. Better to say No politely at the accurately time, that BOOM! MAKE nuclear Attack on innocent often souls.
How would they know, if you do not tell them that you do not want to do it?
Hmm. We are not telepathic as we wish to be.
Dog will get it, but not wife/husband/team leader or your staff.
SO PLEASE SAY PLEASE THANK YOU SORRY
YES AND ALSO DO NOT FORGET ABOUT SAYING NO TOO
Thank you to the authors for the book, necessary for all us out here and for all inspiring quotes which finally I will reveal. Readers. PLEASE BUY THE BOOK. IT IS WORTHY. Those who know me, they know that It is really That I do recommend something. So if I say it is worthy, it is REALLY WROTHY.
INSPIRING QUOTES TO BE ASSERTIVE
"Be honest with others, but be careful with them until they become honest with you." - Alan Alda
"Between people, as between nations, mutual respect for the rights of others is a guarantee of peace." - Benito Juarcz
"Where I was born and where and how I lived is not important. It is important what I did with where I was - it should be the subject of my interest." - Georgia O'Keeffe
"There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth." - Leo Tolstoy (Lew Tołstoj)
"Never play someone else's game. Play your own." - Andrew Salter
"There are only three possible attitudes in human relationships. The first is taking only your own perspective and ignoring others. The second is putting others' reasons before your own. The third is the golden mean. You put yourself first, but you consider other people's reasons." - Joseph Wolpe
"We are all controlled by the world in which we live. The question is whether we are controlled by accidents, by tyrants or by ourselves." - B.F. Skinner
"Two people are needed to preach the truth - a speaker and a listener." - Henry David Thoreau
"If someone sees only giants constantly, it means that he is still looking at the world through the eyes of a child." - Anaïs Nin
Courage is resistance to fear, skill in controlling fear - not lack of it. - Mark Twain
Peace cannot be held by force. It can only be achieved by understanding. - Albert Einstein
Believe in life! Always people will live and make progress to live a more wonderful, deeper and fuller life. - W. E. B. DuBois
When you get angry, count to five, when you get angry, curse it. - Mark Twain
If you are sailor, you can curse from number 1.
IF YOU ARE A PARENT AND TEACHER, YOU MUST COUNT TO HUNDREDS.
I AM SAILOR I AM ALOUD.
AND WELL WITH KIDS I LOOK THEM STRAIGHT INTO EYES. THAT'S ONLY POSSIBLE FOR SOMEONE WITH BAZYLISZEK'S EYES. DO NOT TRY IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THEM. COUNT TILL 100.
BAZYLISZEK - BASILISK
"WHO HAS RESPECT FOR HIMSELF DOESN'T HAVE TO FEAR OTHERS; He wears a chainmail that no one pierces." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"Oneness is plural and, minimally, there is two." - R. Buckminster Fuller
"Live to the fullest as you can; it is a mistake not to do so." - William James
And you need to decide what is the FULLEST means for you. FULLEST is not all the time saying YES to all invitations or all projects to which you might first feel to say yes, however you also feel you cannot or unable, or you are just tired, if you have never been assertive, you might say yes, even you internally scream NO.
LIVING TO THE FULLEST is also including REST, RELAXATION, TIME OUT, LUNCH BREAK AWAY FROM COMPUTER, TIME AT HOME with a book instead another event, another somebody's barely know another birthday on the long list of calendar events.
Working Hard doesn't mean working to burn out. Remember that. IN ANY RESPECTFUL COMPANY NONE WOULD EVER DEMAND ANYBODY TO BURN OUT.
AND IF YES, and respectful NO doesn't seem to be heard. After AWHILE RUN.
You cannot fix, broken places and people.
Agile Culture at work includes NO.
Modern Thinkers/Leaders knows values of NO.
Openness includes No.
Honesty includes No.
Mutual Respect includes No.
Working in teams includes No.
It cannot ever be overused. Excuses constantly used are NO GO ZONE. Common Sense do apply.
Because everyone smart will know, that after a proper lunch break, a proper social evening with family and friends, a proper fun and relaxing weekend, everyone works better and more productive. It is not how long you work but how productive. Still some places and people might not understand this. Staying too many over hours is not only unhealthy for you and your family or cat/dog if you do not have family or even for your plants as you might start forgetting to water them, but also it is unhealthy for the business, project and rest of team.
Everything what cannot accept NO with reasonable explanations, or simply I cannot stay longer today is slavery for a wage. Any respectful career position at work healthy environment would appreciate No with explanation or even without. If not, there might be manipulation techniques. The same as in toxic relationship, toxic companies do exist. You won't be able to change Toxic spouse as well as toxic company. Better Say Next. Welcome Next.
"Valuable employees are those who, in order to show us that we have lived, give us a sign other than aging." - Leon Batista Alebrti (1503)
"Don't interrupt me when I interrupt!"
- Winston Churchill
I DO LOVE THIS ONE SPECIFICALLY.
IT SUITS ME PERFECTLY.
PEOPLE WHO KNOWS ME THEY KNOW.
SELF-IRONY, SARCASM, BANTER is my cup of tea.
"They all lead to this goal: leading the way to others who we are." - Pablo Neruda
"God, give me the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other." - Reinhold Niebuhr
Please GOD/UNIVERSE/GODDESS HELP US. WE ALL NEED SUPPORT FROM THE SKY ABOVE US OR BOOKS. EVEN THOSE WHO THINKS THEY DO NOT, THEY DO. SECRETLY THEY KNOW THIS.
Peace to All. Assertiveness to All.
Please be assertive. Polite. Kind. Respectful.
But take ownership of your life, of your career, of you relationship at work and at home and do apply saying NO when necessary.
You will grow. Your connections, business and personal would grow with you.
You teach your teammates and you teach your kids.
And do not forget to say NO to yourself. Start always with yourself first.
When the big or small temptations come in and the dishonesty might be the outcome, you will know how to say No to yourself and be proud truly that you did it.
Broking your own personal values, belief system, standards might really put you down, even if that's only small things, they grow with time and regret.
So say no and stay on track. On the Good track.
Call to whoever or whatever you pray or talk to nothingnesses, and ask for readjustment and simple help. If that's at work and about work, speak to those who you trust, if that's more personal seek a proper place and person to talk
To recap once again all what I would like to share with you about Assertiveness.
Assertiveness is not refusal for a sake of refuses.
Assertiveness is never aggressive.
Assertiveness is always polite but diplomatic and also straight-forward.
Assertiveness is actually care on the bigger picture, the future vision, that if not today as I cannot, tomorrow I will do it better, easier, faster.
Assertiveness is not New Age Jumbo Mumbo.
Assertiveness especially when hierarchy applies might have unpredictable consequences depends who is on the top. IS he/she shark or is he/she Wheal?
Assertiveness is a prize given to yourself.
Assertiveness is own shared opinion, it is not critical of others and it is also not feedback, it is own self-expression shared to make things work for both parties.
Assertiveness might be hard in the beginning but with time become easier and funnier too. in a good way.
Assertiveness cannot be manipulation, it has to be done from a right place for a good purpose.
Assertiveness is not a torment, punishment or excuse.
Assertiveness is a healthy balance between me and you, between us and them.
Assertiveness has a lot of common sense.
Assertiveness is teaching to treat others as we would treat ourselves.
Assertiveness might turn to discussion or explanations but doesn't start that way, It is most likely a statement with no requirements to discusses further or to explain taken decision.
Assertiveness might be unsafe so must be analysed in some really tough situations. For example, robbery, kidnap. Submission is some cases must be applied for a bigger cause of survival.
Assertiveness is a care of mental and physical health, care of family and care of the current priority project.
Assertiveness is recognition of both parties to maintain healthy long lasting relationships as we are all relative to each other and equally important to each other.
Assertiveness values our rights and rights of others.
Assertiveness values balance and harmony not power and aggression, domination and destruction, submission.
Assertiveness is not disregard and neglect others including yourself.
Assertiveness takes time. It is never 100% done.
Assertiveness is a work, difficult and slow however the reward is magnifies in appreciation to oneself in others and in ourselves.
Assertiveness is a work with never ending expanding changing reversing yourself.
Assertiveness doesn't have to be announce. Keep it for yourself. Do not announce that suddenly you are assertive as some will make fun of it, some will tease you, some will test you, some will ignore and push the buttons anyway. DO NOT DO IT. SIMPLE.
Assertiveness is the honour and respect to stay worthy of the limited energy, time, space in the specific day.
Assertiveness is patient given to yourself and others.
Assertiveness is acceptance of others saying NO to you.
Assertiveness is place inside to give you space if you need to SPACE OUT.
Assertiveness is not childishness, but prudence. Know when to react and when to let go of any childish behaviour. Especially when someone presses your buttons or pokes you just to press buttons and to poke. If we responded to this type of childish behaviour, let those words or actions deeply affect us, we can actually make the situation worse.
Stay calm, be steadfast in your assertive approach.
Assertive person doesn't have to explain anything, to anyone. Your choice is based on your private reason and the privacy must stay secret. It is none business why you say No or refuse or do not agree with something. Especially in the early stage of becoming assertive, much stronger personality knowing your reason may try to override your decision.
The assertive approach is the prize itself however depends on the environment might cause certain unexpected effects. Meaning first you have to be alert and know the consequences.
Assertiveness is never critical but is constructive feedback. Strong inappropriate Criticism is never a solution.
It is never too late to be assertive.
As Gavin Whitsett advises, it is good to make small gestures anonymously without wanting praise, recognition or reward. These simple gestures don't have to be big. Simple and small, but more often it produces the best effect for everyone. Reciprocity is a good sign that both sides are on the same side. If not, it's better not to overdo it. Impudence is never good. Stay alert if you not overdose good gestures. You might look silly. Cultures are different. Not everywhere even a simple smile is a good respectful approach. Do research especially if you live abroad.
Use common sense. Assertiveness is not a thrill or aggression, but a good reaction with or without little explanations to make sure the person gets us.
We all have push buttons. Let's treat each other with kindness as we all human and human do have triggers points.
We are all more and less depending on each other, meaning we have to respect our differences and include each other as we need each other. We have to include each other and respect our differences. Treating each other as we would like to be treated. If we want our rights will be respected and taken into consideration, well, others like this to. So let's make it together to have a better pleasant and assertive life.
When we all would start to care more about others and take their rights into account, we all achieve a more prosperous and respected life.
Personality, society and the environment, and even changes in the workplace are coming slowly. Changes need and like time. The small, but the frequent gradual step is better than fast approach as every new strategy to be fully established well has to become a habit, not just event.
You are working with yourself and others and that's wonderful. It must be joy, not resentment.
Remember to do not disregard the belief of other members of the group, because as the group to function well to the good vibe has to be maintain. The most important is the work of the group itself, and each party need to meet in the middle point. Look for solutions not issues.
It all up to us how we respond and how others respond is their choice. To make it work, we have to be present and stay mindful. Let none of the past triggers effect us. Let's focus on this specific situation, not those from the past. One by one. Let's make it work!
Remember that Assertiveness for someone who never been assertive or he/she never experiences the assertive approach, the assertiveness might be burning and hurting as fire, so be gentle. Let this person warm up but not burn them as you might burn out yourself.
Assertiveness is Self-Love and by example you show others how they can love themselves. Assertiveness is the mutual trust of maintaining healthy, balanced relationship professional and personal even including your dog/cat. Fish is not really indoor pet or go out for a walk and the plant needs water once a week mostly. So to them you do not have to worry too much how to be assertive. But to yourself you do. Living in present society of constant distraction and digital addiction you must say NO to yourself. MANY TIMES. So now, I say NO to myself to gently finish and go take rest with my loves ones with a fireplace.
Thank you. Have five.
Work what matters
Do what matters
Design what matters
Code what matters
Lead what matters
Manage what matters
Direct what matters
Execute what matters
Collaborate what matters
Co-create what matters
Cooperate what matters