I’m just preparing to do a talk at a large tech company’s women’s network on Thursday on Assertiveness. I do talks like this all the time but as I prepped this one, something really triggered in my mind off the back of one of the definitions of Assertiveness that I use.


The line is “To be positive or confident in a persistent way”


Most people see just two words in that sentence – positive and confident. I see the three and it’s the third one for me that matters most…. persistent.


See, most women I meet try to be assertive in a particular situation and if it doesn’t work first time, they throw the towel in. And that there is the issue.


We try and behave differently, that’s a bit odd for other people to get used to, especially if we’re all of a sudden changing our behaviour after years of being a doormat! But we give up instantly when we don’t get the reaction we’re looking for and we point the finger and blame them, when really we should be looking in the mirror at ourselves.


Assertiveness requires a degree of persistence, tenacity, grit. And that stuff doesn’t come easy in a society that wants everything right now, with the least amount of effort possible – nobody wants to do hard stuff anymore! When it comes to dealing with other people (especially pillocks), and developing skills we’ve got to know it’s hard and do hard stuff. The gratification and reward is all the more satisfying too!


So, here’s a few top tips on how to develop some resilience when it comes to being assertive.


  1. Know what it means to be resilient – it does not mean surviving, it means thriving. These testing assertive scenarios should make you grow, not feel like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards and are lucky you’ve come out the other side with a few scrapes and bruises.
  2. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. So if your approach doesn’t get you the result you’re looking for, tweak your strategy. Don’t just rinse and repeat because that will get you nowhere fast.
  3. Work hard on your self worth and having a strong purpose in life.
  4. Build a strong network around you – people that you trust, who will support your dream and ambitions, believe in you and challenge you when your thinking is a bit wonky.
  5. Embrace change – we’re creatures of comfort and habit and it goes against the grain to embrace change. That means we have to rewire our brains to look for opportunity in change and focus less on any loss. This takes practice.