Assertion: a confident and forceful statement of fact or belief.
‘An assertion begins with your take on the world, but it also requires action. It has to be open to debate. An informed team member should be able to disagree with you, and your engagement with them can make your assertion even more insightful and powerful.’*
Here’s the kind of assertion that emerges from who we’re becoming. It is the contribution that we can make into the life of another or of an organisation. It expresses a willingness to cross the boundary of self into the the world of another and others. It values reaching out beyond self:
‘When all property is privatised, faith is privatised and all men feel fear at the boundary of the self.’**
The fear of others is overcome when we bless and bring grace. Paulo Coelho charges us to be the first to act in blessing others, Richard Rohr reminds us of what this assertion must be through and through:
‘Bless and you will be blessed.’^:
‘It is grace before, during, and after.’^^
If this isn’t where the assertion is coming from then better not to make it. But if it is coming from our best Self which longs to join with others, assert on.
In their new book The Power of Moments, Dan and Chip Heath identify four characteristics for the moment that makes the difference for us – I borrow these for us to look more closely at the power of assertions.
The assertion needs to be elevating, transcending the normal.
It needs to provide insight, something that comes from a shift in understanding about ourselves and the world.
It has to be something that brings our best self to others: pride is the word the Heaths use.
It has to lead to greater connection.