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Stop Pushing Me Around!

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Stop Pushing Me Around!

A Workplace Guide for the Timid, Shy and Less Assertive

Career Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Top tips for assertiveness training: how to pull your head out of the sand and overcome shyness.

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Ilise Benun’s book starts out provocatively. She suggests, you can change your disposition from shy to assertive that by concentrating on your actions instead of your feelings. She provides lots of exercises for increasing your awareness of your emotional reactions and habits. She also offers advice on how to overcome shyness in a multitude of situations: sales presentations, networking events, job interviews and general office run-ins. Unfortunately, the book lacks depth in some areas. For instance, certainly there is a lot to be said for telling stories in your work life, but if you’re shy, spinning a tale confidently seems like an advanced challenge. However, her core advice on how to stretch your abilities beyond your “comfort zone” is solid and actionable. For that achievement, getAbstract recommends her useful guide for making contact in business scenarios, despite your qualms.


Break the Habit

Forty per cent of Americans consider themselves introverts. Science has even isolated a “shy gene,” which helps explain why some people are naturally timid, but environment and routine contribute a lot, too. If your parents challenged you as a child to learn new things or play with others, then you developed assertiveness as a habit. Similarly, each time you shrink from asserting yourself, you strengthen the inclination to be shy. However, fear not. You can create new pathways in your brain that will hardwire you to act more confidently.

Take note of when and with whom you feel shy. Are you introverted around people whom you perceive to have higher status than you? Or during formal events? Visualize your fears. Be specific. Are you afraid to approach strangers in case they’ll think you’re stupid and stomp off in disgust? Picture this scenario in detail and you’ll see how unrealistic it is. Making decisions based on your feelings is not the best idea. When you focus so intently on your inner self, you miss the world around you. You lose the opportunity to make your unique contribution.

To change an ingrained pattern, first you must want to change...

About the Author

Ilise Benun is the co-founder of Marketing Mentor, a consulting company. She is a frequent speaker on marketing issues and self promotion, and the author of several other books including Self-Promotion Online. She co-authored Public Relations for Dummies.

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