IQ is fixed and immovable; therefore, the actual key to spiking your performance is to nurture, balance, and develop your EQ skills. Infusing your life with just the right mix of EQ skills that work for you is a great way to separate yourself from the competition and is vital to living a less-stressed and happier existence.
Are you ready to spike your EQ? If so, let’s take a look at one of the most misunderstood EQ skills: Assertiveness. A bit ironic, isn’t it?
We often confuse being assertive with being aggressive—failing to realize that aggressiveness is assertiveness gone wrong.
Assertiveness isn’t aggressiveness. The failure to make that distinction leads to hurting others, discounting others’ desires, appearing unlikeable, and often not getting what you set out to attain. Aggressiveness is highly corrosive to relationships—both personally and professionally—where learning to be assertive supports connecting with others and achieving mutually satisfying outcomes for all concerned.
But what does assertiveness look like?
Assertiveness encompasses the ability to communicate clearly, confidently, and unambiguously while at the same time being able to be responsive to and considerate of the desires of others in any given encounter.
If you’re looking to spike your assertiveness, here are some time-tested strategies to get you where you want to be:
1. Picture What Being Assertive Looks Like
In your mind’s eye, picture the line between the words “passive” and ”aggressive.” The midpoint between the two is where assertiveness thrives. Assertiveness is characterized by:
- Let others know what you think, feel, believe, and want in an unambiguous way.
- A clear statement of one’s beliefs and/or feelings in conjunction with consideration given to the thoughts and feelings of others.
2. Cultivate the Assertiveness State of Mind
It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how influential you are, or how much power you have in any social interaction. The ability to assert yourself is dependent upon your cultivating an assertive state of mind. To do this, you need to:
Assess and figure out the self-talk that is interfering with your ability to be more assertive.
- Over the course of the next two weeks, notice and write down times when you behaved assertively, passively, and aggressively.
- Keep track of the things you were saying or thinking in those moments. Note the tone of your voice and how your body responds.
- Debate, dispute, and identify the defeating self-talk, and brainstorm new and more positive ways in which you could respond in the future.
3. Push Yourself to Behave More Assertively
Use what you’ve learned from cultivating an assertive state of mind to and begin turning ideas into actions. Push yourself to behave more assertively by experimenting with the following strategies:
Cherry-pick low-risk situations at first, and practice being clear about what it is you want in ways that demonstrate thought for others. Involve those you know well and trust to support you and serve as practice partners. Note the difference in how the other person responds. Evaluate yourself afterward, tweak what needs adjusting, and use successes to motivate you the next time.
Identify Times When Opinion is Masquerading As Fact
Vital to your being more assertive is being able to identify and articulate the difference between what we believe to be fact and opinions that are masquerading as facts. Look for clear, undeniable evidence to confirm and/or deny the position you’re advocating for. Develop a keen sense for spotting when a preference, point of view, or opinion tries to masquerade as a fact. Shift your language and begin using “I” statements to let others know you’re sharing your thoughts, beliefs, or opinions.
Run Through What You Want to Say
Use the lessons learned from cultivating your assertive state of mind to practice responding more assertively to the common scenarios that seem to trigger either your behavior passively or aggressively. Write down what you want to say the next time, and then say it aloud. Do a little perspective-taking, and ask a friend for direct feedback about your response.
Increase Your Exposure Over Time
Increase your exposure over time to situations and people who present increasing degrees of challenge for you. This serves to gradually build up your skill level so that it becomes second nature to you. Remember that learning to be more assertive happens over time and under pressure.
These time-tested strategies will help you hold your ground when others offer resistance and increase your probability of attaining what you set out to achieve.
READY, SET, SPIKE!