In our first coaching session together, she begins:

“…Another weekend overwhelmed with taking care of other coworkers´ work…”

“…If someone invites me I am willing, even if I prefer not to go…”

“…When no one accepts that boring part of the project, I am always the first to raise my hand…”

After listing these professional and personal situations, which happen to her over and over again despite her promise to never repeat; she pauses, she takes a deep breath, and lets out a clear and severe:

This always happen to me for not knowing how to say NO!!

In my work as an executive coach I often come across these types of situations, and the first word that comes to my mind is the development of ASSERTIVENESS. The ability in our communication style to say what we really want to express in the best possible way.

My professional challenge is to move from this concept -ideal and theoretical- into the practice. To do this, I usually invite to incorporate a:

PAUSE

Here are just some benefits of this particular PAUSE for YOU in each of those day-to-day situations that challenge your Assertiveness:

  • You will break with your tendency to respond in “REACTION” mode. In the case that today I share, profiles with a tendency to “Submissive Reactions”. There are also at the opposite extreme the profiles with a tendency to “Aggressive Reactions”. We all have something of both!
  • You will find in that pendulum that goes from the Submissive to the Aggressive the way to your Assertiveness.
  • You will stop repeating situations that harm you, moving away from some habitual behaviors.
  • You will gain – being CONSCIOUS – those seconds, minutes, hours or days that you need to CHOOSE your best response to each situation.
  • You will train to learn to DECIDE.

And most important of all… It starts with you! RESPECT first towards oneself, to later be respected by others.

Only you can find and set up those best “YES” that define you. Those:

YES you want!

YES it excites you!

YES you value!

The “NO” you have to say -those limits that are so necessary– will be the best consequence.

I return to the outcome of the case that I share with you today, and I encourage you to also find an answer to these two questions that arose there.

That brilliant MANAGER, good MOTHER, compassionate WIFE, and great FRIEND of her friends …; was tired, very tired. And her exhaustion was more than physical.

While we talked, and she was looking for words to describe each of her infinite “to-do lists” in different areas of her life; I came up with a first question:

For whom do you do all this?

Her response was immediate:

“…For my Team, for my Children, for my Husband, for my Friends…”

Which finally caused a long – and painful – silence, anticipating the closure of our work together and the beginning of their own decisions; happened right after my last question:

Where are You on each of those lists?

… … …