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Want to sleep better tonight? Learn the 5 simple steps of assertiveness for a better night’s sleep.


5 simple steps.

You can remember these 5 steps with either hand. Just take out one of your hands and place one of these words on each finger:

  • Say what you think.
  • Lean in.
  • Engage your audience.
  • Educate.
  • Plant a seed.

You may have noticed that the five steps are easy to remember, since they create the acrostic “s-l-e-e-p.” First of all, say what you think.

What do you think?

For example: Let’s say you were out last night getting a bite to eat. And your partner wouldn’t get off her phone. And you thought: “I really wish you’d get off your phone.” What if, in that moment, instead of focusing on how upset you are that she’s being rude, you said to her, “You have beautiful eyes.” This is an assertion. Because she really does have lovely eyes and you do want to see those eyes look up from her phone and see you and connect with you. This kind of shift can change the conversation, and change your focus. It’s not rude or abrasive, and yet it is assertive.

What do you want?

That’s the real question. And with that, we come to the second step of assertiveness.

How can you assert something unless you know what it is?

Here’s the problem: you aren’t taking enough time to figure out what you want. There may be several reasons for this, but whatever those reasons have been: today, in this moment, ask yourself:

“What do I want?”

Because once you know what you want, you will be much more able to lean in and assert what you want.

How do you say it?

This is the third step of assertiveness. Once you know what you want to say, it is essential to engage your audience so they can hear what you have to say.

From the example above, when you were with your partner and she wouldn’t get off her phone: speak her language. If you lead with a phrase like “Your eyes are beautiful tonight,” you will get her attention. Perhaps. That’s just one example, for one particular partner. What might you say to your partner in that situation that will get her attention?

The point is: engage your audience.

Teach me something new.

We all love to learn. Which is why the fourth important part of assertiveness is to educate your listener. Hopefully, you will choose something your listener is interested in learning.

Again from the example above, you could say: “Maryland clamped down on defense down the stretch to snag a 63-54 victory over No. 7 UConn.” Which is true, but will only catch your partner’s attention if she is interested in who’s doing well in March Madness. What is your listener interested in? Take a moment to consider how you might educate your listener.

Give me something to chew on.

When you do say something you want your listener to hear, you want that person to think about what you’ve said. So plant a seed to keep your listener chewing on what you’ve said beyond the actual moment you put it out there. One great way to plant a seed is to leave your listener with a good, open-ended question (a question that begins with who, what, when, where, why or how).

Sleep better tonight.

How will any of this help you sleep better tonight? Here’s how: even if your audience doesn’t get it, you’ll sleep better tonight if you say what you think, and get the sense that your audience is at least considering what you said.

Stop holding back! It’s more often the thing you didn’t say that keeps you up at night, than the thing you did say. Assert yourself and sleep better tonight. 

The takeaway: 

Assertiveness isn’t being rude or bossy. It’s just getting something out there — an assertion — for your listener to consider.

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I can help you learn to be more assertive.

And you have a couple of options for your next step. You could contact me and describe what you’re going through. And I’ll be in touch with suggestions. Or you can book a free session to make a time to get together and talk it over in person. Either way, I’m here to help you focusovercome resistance, and get moving again.

Get focused and Get moving.