Day 10: Learn to Speak assertively

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Hello and welcome to Day 10 of Confidence Boot Camp!  Today’s topic, Learn to Speak Assertively,  falls into the Psychological, Emotional and Physical components of The Chemistry of Confidence.

Speaking assertively can sometimes seem like a double-edged sword, especially for women, who are often misjudged when they try to speak and behave in an assertive manner.  The double edge is we are also judged if we aren’t assertive.  Understanding why it is vital to our well-being helps us resolve the conflict around it.


Assertive communication can be defined as communicating confidently, honestly and with authenticity.  It is about not being afraid to say what you need to say and what you truly believe.  As such, the first things we need to confront are our own potential fears and beliefs about being an assertive woman.

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook and author of “Lean In” lists common assumptions and fears that women may struggle with, including:  the fear of speaking up honestly (we may hurt someone’s feelings), the fear of not being seen as a team player (we may be perceived as being “too competitive”), the fear of bringing attention to oneself (women are “supposed” to be in the shadows), and the fear of being seen as negative or nagging (a common stereotype of women anyway). 

Therefore, the first step in being more assertive is empowering yourself by recognizing your own fears and assumptions.  The second step is to understand where they come from, which may be a multi-layered process.  We are all born into families that are a culture within themselves.  Our families are the first layer that will shape our beliefs significantly.  Then, there is the next layer that is the societal culture we live in and the tremendous influence it has on our sense of self.  For example, if we are born into a culture where women are seen and treated as second class citizens, we will have a more difficult time giving ourselves permission to be assertive. Finally, the third step is to challenge those beliefs and develop more realistic and healthy ego-building ones.  This undoubtedly will require support from others, whether it is through mentoring, individual therapy, self-help books and/or education.  The fourth step is to put those beliefs into practice by learning effective communication skills.  The video here will give you some great strategies and tips on how to communicate assertively.


1.     Identify one area of your life where you want to be more assertive: Speaking up in a relationship, setting limits with another person, asking for what you want, etc.

2.     Following the steps outlined in the video, plan your conversation.

3.     Find a supportive friend or partner, and ask him/her to practice, or role play through the conversation with you.

4.     Observe the places where you might feel nervous or you might hold back, take a deep breath and push forward. See what happens. Remember, it’s just practice, and nothing can really go terribly wrong, right?


It isn’t easy.  But it is vital to our own sense of self, and we know through research that people who do speak up effectively are 10 times more likely to have happier relationships than those who don’t.  Women value their relationships tremendously.  In fact, we make most decisions for ourselves through the lens of our relationships.  In addition, we also are powerful role models to other women, and to men as well.  It’s important to keep in mind that every person on the planet has an obligation to teach those people around them how they want to be treated. 

It may not be easy, but like any new skill we want to develop, we can be successful with commitment, understanding, support, and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Integrating a new belief or skill is a process researchers have identified as the end result of consistent practice, and very much worth the effort. 

And, remember, you have us here at The Villa educating you, supporting you and cheering you on.  Our door is open and the Light is Always On!  Thanks for joining us today.  We’ll see you tomorrow with more cool tips to build your confidence!


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