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4 Ways To Grow a Backbone and Become More Assertive

4 Ways To Grow a Backbone and Become More Assertive

Courtesy of Helena Nyman
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Do you feel as if everyone is taking advantage of your good nature? Do you think they would still do it if you were more assertive?

Becoming more assertive is a goal that many of us want to achieve. We feel disrespected and we want to be able to stand our ground without guilt or fear. Developing a backbone is not an easy task, but it can be accomplished if you're committed to it.

Here are some simple tips that will enable you to strengthen your assertiveness as quickly as possible:

1. Stop apologizing. Many of us use the term "I'm sorry" far too frequently and often at inappropriate times. Think about when you use those two simple words. Is it in a situation that you truly should be sorry for?

Once you're able to stop apologizing for every little thing, you'll become more assertive. Learn to differentiate between when there's a need to apologize and when there isn't.
Hitting someone's cart in a grocery store because you weren't looking warrants an apology.
Drinking the last cup of orange juice before your spouse is not a situation that warrants an "I'm sorry."If you're watching television and your child prefers to sit in the chair you're sitting in, "I'm sorry" isn't appropriate.

2. Speak up. Tell those around you what you need. Assertiveness requires good communication skills. Be clear and firm with what you desire. Practice standing up for yourself by conveying your wants and desires to others.

There's no need to be aggressive or nasty. Simply communicate that you have thoughts, opinions and needs, too. Once you begin to express these better, the people around you will learn how to appreciate and respect you more, too. If you want to develop a backbone, this isn't the time to be a mouse and stand in the corner. Voice your opinion and be proud of what you have to say; people will take notice and listen.

3. Be committed and patient. It's wonderful that you've decided to make positive changes in your life. It's something that you should be proud of! Unfortunately though, a complete transformation won't occur overnight. You've entered into a journey, and you must be willing to stick it out!

You'll experience good and bad days, but you mustn't give up. As long as you remain committed and patient, you'll succeed in what you're trying to accomplish.Focus on the big picture down the road and imagine how much your life will improve once you're able to stand up for yourself.

4. Work on your body language. Body language is extremely important in any situation. When trying to become more assertive, your body language must reflect this as well.

Stand straight, speak up, make sure your hands aren't crossed over your chest, and maintain eye contact with whomever you're speaking with.


If you look assertive, people will perceive you as such. If you keep your eyes on the floor, have your hands across your chest, or mumble incoherently, you'll have trouble to get your point across.
Assertiveness can help you in your personal life, career, family, and many other areas. Though it may take a bit of time, as long as you make positive steps to grow your new backbone, it will be there before you know it!

Helena Nyman, Certified Success/Life Coach and Executive Coach, Motivational Speaker and Author. Helena grew up in Switzerland where she worked with World and Olympic athletes and moved in 1994 to Canada where she worked with top athletes in the Mariposa School of Skating in Barrie, ON, together with the legendary coach Doug Leigh (former Coach of Elvis Stojko and Brian Orser) and with Louis Stong at the Center of Excellence in Toronto. In 1999, she moved to the USA where she still coaches some figure skaters and hockey players -- a passion and balance she keeps in her life.

To sign up for Helena's weekly Motivational Newsletter, visit: www.HelenaNyman.com , or for her bi-weekly Executive News, visit: www.TheBalancedExecutive.com. To contact Helena by e-mail, write to: Nyman@consultant.com.

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