What’s the turning point in being assertive?

It’s deciding that the risk of putting yourself out there and asking for what you really need is less scary than the regret of never asking at all.

At some point, the fear that once was so paralyzing becomes…manageable. Not that it goes away entirely. Not that you suddenly become some fearless superhero – Captain Communication? The Caped Communicator?

No, the fear is still there. The awareness of how other people will respond to what you say never really fades. And in fact, you don’t want it to. Now, instead of freezing you up or making your words catch in your throat, you make the choice that the fear – or to phrase it in a more positive way, the consciousness – will help you make smart, powerful choices about what you say.

That awareness of who you’re talking to is critical. You want to be able to see things from their perspective, too. Ask yourself, What might they say to me? How might they react if I say it this way? Then use that information to shape your conversation. You want to reach them in a way that they’ll really hear you.

That fear you felt? The one that might’ve silenced you once before? It can be the very thing that hones your words, sharpens your awareness, focuses your attention on how to best say what matters most to you.

So don’t let the fear overwhelm you. Don’t let the fear keep you from sharing your ideas, asking for that raise, or setting those boundaries. Embrace it for the gift it is, and allow its energy to power your message in a way that both honors your wishes and respects whoever is on its receiving end.

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