Are you able to speak your truth assertively or do you hold back because you fear what people might think about you? Hi, this is Grant Herbert, International Influencer and Sustainable Performance Coach, and today, I want to continue our conversation around this important subject of Personal Power by helping you to be more assertive in your communication and to say no more often.

Being assertive means you're able to stand up for yourself in a calm, positive way without being either aggressive or passively allowing people to continue their poor behaviour. To do this, we need to revisit our priorities. We need to make sure that we are clear what's most important to us. And if you haven't got it by now, that number one priority needs to be you because out of you comes everything else. So, get clear on what it is that you do want and you don't want out of life; what it is that's most important to you, whether that be your health and well-being, whether that be your family, your friends, whatever it is for you.

And the second thing that we need to make sure that we consider are the decisions that we are making and the reason that we're making them. So, we've talked about the Performance Trap, and we've talked about the fact that sometimes we say yes to things and we do things and we put up with things based on our need to overcome those fears: the fear of not being enough, the fear of not belonging in the fear of not being loved.

So, sometimes we'll make those decisions that feed that unhealthy need for approval from others and then we regret it and we say yes to things out of obligation or out of wanting to get that approval, which actually makes us say no to things which are our priorities. So, what I want to do this week is take you through a process and help you to be able to speak your truth in an assertive way that puts your priorities first, and so that you end up saying yes to things that are important and no to things that aren't and no to things that you would normally say yes to, because you're feeding that unhealthy need for approval.

So, as I said, the first thing we need to do is we need to make sure that we understand our priorities. So if you haven't done this yet, or it's something that you need get to get more clarity on, what I want you to do is ask yourself a few questions and take some notes so that you can get clear about what's really important. Now to do this, we need to make sure that we've got that inner dialogue under control. This needs to be the big version of you that you're having this conversation with because your mini-me, that small version of you will steal those priorities from you as you go to write them down.

So, get yourself ready, get yourself in a state where you're thinking about you and the importance of the things that are your priorities, and we'll get a list down together. And ask yourself, "What's most important to me about my health? What's most important to be about my relationships, about my family, about my career, my business? What's most important to me about my finances, about my fun and recreation, about where I invest my time? So, step one is to make sure that we're clear as to what our actual priorities are. It's only then that we're able to put some boundaries around those and speak out truth so that we can go to those priorities. 

So now that we have that list of priorities, here's something to consider: whenever we are saying no to someone, we're not saying no to them, we're actually saying yes to our priorities. And that, for some of us, is a flip of what we normally do. What we normally do is the boss comes in and says, "Hey, I need you to work back every night, this week." And you know that you've got your daughter's recital or your son's soccer game or whatever it is that you have promised that you're going to go to, and they're your real priorities.

But by saying no to the boss, to your partner, whoever it is, you're actually saying yes to your daughter, to your son, to your friend, your spouse, whatever it is, to yourself. So, what we're doing by having that mindset is eliminating the negativity around saying no to people. You're not saying no, you're actually saying yes to yourself. 

The second thing to understand is that when people make a request, it's exactly that. It's a request. It's not something that we have to jump at. And I don't know about you, but I certainly was someone that before they got the words out, I'm going, "Yes. Yeah, I'd love to do that." And then when they walk away, going, "Oh, no. Now I've got to do that." So, it's a request. So when someone makes a request, what we can do, if we stay in our logical brain, is we can get some more information around that. We can give ourselves space to eliminate that instant reaction of saying yes. So, someone asks us to do something, whether it be a friend or whoever. 

So, the first thing to do is to obviously remember if it's against your priorities. So if someone wants you to do something and you are thinking of your priorities, and you go, "Okay. If I do that, I'm actually going to be saying no to that." That's step one. The second thing to do is go, "Hey, that sounds like something that I could possibly do. Could I get some more information what's actually involved in that?" What if it's a situation at work where someone wants you to do more and they've brought you in this pile of stuff and said, "Hey, I need you to do this by Friday." We're able to go, "Okay, yeah. Look, I'd love to do that for you. Can I ask you which one of these other things that you wanted me to do by Friday would you like me to put aside?"

Because what you're doing is you're negotiating. You're having a conversation around it, rather than just going, "Yep. I'll do that." And then Friday comes and you don't get that done and you don't get the other stuff done because you've created overwhelm.

So, learning to speak your truth is simply having dialogue that says, "Hey, let's look for some alternative solutions here. Who else in the team could actually do some of these things?" Whatever it is. However, to get to this place, we need to go right back to the start and that is remembering our priorities.

Because if we have someone that just puts ourselves last, we don't really care. "Yes, boss. I'll do that by Friday. Yes, friend. I'll come and help you move." Whatever it is. And then, we'll work late into the night or whatever it is just to get that done so that they approve of us. So they like us so that we belong and then feel bad about ourselves, about what we said no to, and that's our true priorities.

Knowing your priorities and staying true to them helps you to say no gracefully to others, because what you're doing at that time is you're saying yes to yourself. You're honoring a commitment that you made to yourself about your true priorities. 

Well, that's it for me for another week. Join me again next week when we continue this journey of going beyond COVID-19 by working on other areas of our Emotional Intelligence. I'll see you then.

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