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Assertiveness for Women Entrepreneurs

The book tour for “The Assertiveness Guide For Women” continues!

I was honored to be interviewed via Skype by business strategist and life coach Nicole Liloia, LCSW to talk about assertiveness and how it relates to female entrepreneurs. Nicole expressed how many of the women she works with seem to struggle with defining and articulating their feelings, thoughts, needs, and wants in their businesses. Using some of the main themes from the book, we addressed these issues and talked about ways women could overcome these boundaries to assertiveness. Here are some of the highlights of our discussion:

Societal Context & Women’s Assertiveness

Sometimes when women have a hard time standing up for themselves, they think it’s because of a personal weakness or deficiency. Nicole and I talked about how this tendency is actually representative of a larger cultural context: for the vast majority of recorded history, women have had their voices silenced, and it is only within the last century that we’ve really been able to reclaim our ability to speak up and be heard. So while we of course should take responsibility for our individual lives and the things we want to improve on, remembering the societal context is extremely important to understanding why assertiveness may be a challenge. The good news is that by practicing assertiveness, we can not only become closer in our relationships to others but also inspire other women to be more assertive for themselves!

“What Would A Man Do?”

Nicole shared how some of the women she’s coached felt like they had to ask permission from their husbands before making important business decisions. This shows how we’ve been socialized to think about others’ feelings (often at the expense of our own) and ask permission instead of making decisions and then working together.

I was reminded of an experience I had a few years ago where I examined this “permission piece,” as I call it: my private practice was taking off, my family was expanding, and instead of being proud of my success, I found myself completely overwhelmed and even feeling guilty for the good things in my life. I thought I wasn’t spending enough time with my children but also felt anxious that my business would struggle if I was home too much. Finally, I thought to myself, “in a situation like this, what would a man do?” I realized that the cultural messages about gender roles were dictating how I felt, but instead of listening to them, I decided to ‘think like a man’ by hiring people to assist me and delegating more responsibility. I brought on several new therapists and also employed a home assistant to help with laundry and other household chores. Although I still have to juggle my home life and my career, I’ve found a great sense of peace in having others help me!

So for women who may feel conflicted when it comes to these issues, I encourage you to examine any societal messages you may be receiving that may perpetuate any shame you may feel about having career/financial success.

Confidence In Selling

In sales, you need to be assertive in advocating yourself; your business won’t survive otherwise! Nicole says she’s worked with many women who just don’t feel comfortable in making the pitch, asking for business, or promoting themselves. They fear being pushy or annoying and instead just hope that others will seek them out. I challenge anyone who feels like this to lead with their passion. Other than the money, what is it that you’re getting at? What are you trying to change? I’m passionate about helping women find their voices and also teaching therapists how to clearly articulate their message. If you deeply care about your product or service, you don’t have to be shy about inviting others to participate or buy it. Yes, it can be vulnerable and even a little scary, and yes you will get turned down by some, but you also have the opportunity to share something that’s important while also meeting your own needs. People know all the “scammy” sales tactics, but real and authentic passion is very attractive, so practice making your passion known in your business!

Watch the full interview below.

Visit Nicole’s website here.

Learn more about “The Assertiveness Guide for Women” here.









About Dr. Julie Hanks, LCSW:
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to TV Shows and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. Her books The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide are now available. Dr. Hanks is currently accepting coaching clients.


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