My story of becoming assertive

grumpy girlIt’s always been my goal to become more assertive. In terms of DISC, a behaviour assessment tool used in my coaching, you could say I’m a high S and C, which means I’m really good at being supportive and conscientious. But assertiveness is something that’s been a challenge in my life. Maybe it’s been a challenge in yours too? Do you find it easier to give support to others than to advocate for yourself? I do my best, and loads of progress has been made, but the other day I was part of a confrontation that knocked me back to what felt like square one, and in today’s post I would like to share that experience.

My friends have noticed, I’m really proud to say, that I’ve started to stand tall in my relationship needs. Truth be told, in the past I haven’t been so assertive in what I’ve needed during relationships, but now with my partner I feel that I know how to be strong, and he in turn has learned how to be more compassionate.

I feel more assertive, and that feels good.

And yet just the other week, that growth was really challenged. We had this fantastic party with a huge amount of people and the event was such a blast. It went smoothly, there was mixing, music, and such a good feeling throughout. However, toward the end of the evening I saw a couple preparing to leave with their children, and it seemed to me that couple had perhaps too much to drink. This was my party, and so as host I intervened as they prepared to leave, suggesting that instead someone give them a ride home since their home wasn’t far away.

What happened next shocked me. And it wasn’t because of their response, but because of my reaction to their response. The women seemed to sober up as her anger grew. She likely felt she was being attacked, because in return she directed aggression toward me. Well, it felt like déjà vu, and in that moment I backed down, letting the couple go with their kids.

(Everyone got home alright, but that’s not the point.)

I felt terrible. I couldn’t believe I’d allowed it to happen. I couldn’t believe with my progress in assertion, that I had backed down on something that mattered so much. And honestly, it reminded me of past experiences with my father when he would become aggressive, and in response I’d go off and hide with a book, or do my studying. Because of that experience with an alcoholic parent, I had developed a coping mechanism that triggered retreat.

I took all this to my coach (because even coaches need coaches and mentors!), and we worked through that moment back in time when my father would become aggressive.

Imagine you have a pearl necklace, and all those pearls represent moments in time when a pattern is repeated. Well, all you really need to do is target one moment, break that chain in one place, and then watch the pearls fall to the ground as that pattern is broken.

We examined how it felt back when I was a young woman and the fights would break out. And I realized, there were too many times in my life when I backed down and was bullied. My coach and I did plenty of work around this, we looked at that neurological response and where it derived, running through techniques to help clear those patterns. And I can tell you with confidence now, having worked through that initial trigger, that if I could back up to that party and relive that conversation, I would not have allowed anyone to leave my party and pose a danger to themselves or the world. It wouldn’t have happened.

So what’s the point here? Well, all this to say maybe we should be paying attention to the moments when we don’t respond, and when we aren’t assertive. What is stopping us from honouring our convictions? Becoming self-aware and addressing those moment – that is a powerful thing. It can wake us up to really important patterns that need to be healed. When we do that, I strongly believe we can respond differently.

cararesourcesTo help you with your assertiveness, I’ve got a great exercise from the Sister Leadership toolbox today, and it’s called the Ring of Power. It’s an NLP practise to create and produce a good place of power for ourselves.

This process is a quick and easy to way to create a Resource Anchor in yourself.

1.    Stand up with a small space in front of you.

2.    Imagine a brightly glowing circle on the floor in front of you.

3.    Remember a specific moment when you felt totally motivated. If you cannot remember a time in the past, imagine that everything is possible and try to feel what it is like to be motivated with that sense of possibility. Connecting to a previous experience is the most powerful however next best is to imagine it!

And as you begin to really feel totally motivated step forward into the brightly glowing circle.

4.    As soon as you notice the feelings begin to subside take a step backwards out of the glowing circle.

5.    Repeat steps three to four with as many positive states as you can remember – the more the better. I would suggest a minimum of five powerful states to create a really powerful Resource Anchor. Some states you may wish to try could be:

– Totally Powerful

– Totally Loved

– Totally Energetic


– Totally Confident

– Totally Ready

6.    When you have added all of the positive states then break your state. (Ask yourself if you can smell coffee – works every time!)

7.    Now you need to test it. Imagine the brightly glowing circle in front of you on the floor and step into it! You’ll feel those feelings again.

8.    Step back out of the circle. Imagine yourself picking it up off the floor, rolling it into a ring and placing it onto one of your fingers. (Any finger is fine, but remember which one!) If you preferred you could imagine it as a bracelet or other piece of jewellery/clothing.

Now that you have created this Resource Anchor you can use it whenever you want to in the future. Simply imagine yourself taking off the ring in your mind, seeing the glowing circle on the floor and take a single step forward into it.

Enjoy the results!

Till next week,


Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, certified in EQi 2.0 and EQ360, a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), has been coaching high-level women and men for over six years, and is now opening her expertise to those emerging in business. Camille pulls her blog topics from her unique coaching approach that combines her training as a EQi 2.0 and EQ360 certified facilitator with the dig-deeper tools of NLP.

Get in touch here if you’d like to talk with Cam about group or one-on-one coaching, and EQ assessments. With the miracle of Skype and telephones – distance is no issue!

  1. Steve Wiggett 7 years ago

    Proud of you Cam

  2. MC Lessard 7 years ago

    What courage you have of sharing your story Cam, thank you! I like this resource anchor ex. too, I’ll give it a shot.

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