Standing up for yourself and being decisive is not only the key to success and joy, it’s the key to getting respect from others. Often, we think deferring our wishes benefits a group or makes us more likeable. It’s simply the biggest lie ever.
What is true is that staying quiet, out of the way and deferring to others is a fear-based way to live. You’re staying in the background because you don’t want to feel uncomfortable or make anyone else uncomfortable (I’ve been there before).
When you are too afraid to speak up about what you love, too scared to set boundaries, and too fearful to have decisive opinions, you make little or no impression on others and do an incredible disservice to yourself. This way of living gives you no respect. It does nothing to move your life forward and, perhaps more tragically, it keeps you from genuinely connecting with other people that share your passions. Advocating for what you value helps people see you – the real you – and people are drawn to authenticity.
Practice and learn to stand up for the things you want or need, experience and advocate for them in your everyday life. This requires practice. It’s about building the muscles that support your metaphorical core, support your spiritual spine, when you’d rather crumple up all comfy in the corner of a metaphorical sofa.
You must strengthen your emotional core each day. Make yourself uncomfortable little by little as you stretch outside of your comfort zone. You have to incrementally develop the ability to stand tall, ask for what you need and advocate for what you deserve.
Here’s how to begin:
Every day, for the next 5 days, do one thing that makes you just a little uncomfortable. Things like:
When someone asks for a personal favor, a quick job outside your schedule or your attendance at some event that’s wasting your time, decline politely. Ensure you don’t apologize and lean into the discomfort that follows.
At some point this week, someone will have a conversation about something you have an opinion about. Express this opinion about what should happen in the project, what you believe about politics, or how Aunt Sally needs to shove it already.
There are things you value deeply in this world; things you want to do and cultivate. Make space in your life to do them. Whether it’s prioritizing your health or hobbies, or promoting your own. You’re allowed. You deserve it.
Remember Your Why
You need to remember your why; it’s the reason you’re doing all of this. It’s the reason you jump out of bed every morning excited to smash out the day.
Whenever I’m faced with a decision that requires me to either put myself first or give into temptation, I like to imagine the future.
I imagine myself having already achieved my goals and I ask myself these two questions:
Who’s there? Who are the people that are still in my life? This will tell you a lot about the decisions you need to make.
Each day, take a tiny chance. Calcify your will. Connect genuinely. Stand tall. Be authentic and strong and model life with a backbone. It will benefit you and everyone around you.