What's your vision of perfection when it comes to communication? Mine is a world where everyone says what they mean and means what they say without being mean when they say it, leaning forward toward a shared vision of reality. I'd like to live in that world. The world at large is much too interested in power plays and posturing to strive toward that kind of communication, but my individual worlds - my predominant personal and professional networks - live in some semblance of that reality. That fact is no accident.
A vision is an important aspect of the SpeakSTRONG Method of communication. Once you know what perfection might look like, you immediately see ways that your own reality falls short of that vision. You can moan and groan and point the finger of blame, or you can look at the gap and see what the obstacles are. For me, when I failed to speak assertively when my now late husband showed signs of cancer, one big obstacle was my own self-doubt. I had no experiece in challenging authority (which, in 1986 I regarded my husband as being). That played into my self-doubt. The fact that I had done so little assertive communicating meant that I didn't have the words or the methods. I was afraid to fumble through in the relationships I had, so an important first step was to find a relationship where I did feel safe. And my communication practice began.
So note the disctinction. My guiding principle is a world (office, friendship, marriage, etc.) where everyone says what they mean and means what they say without being mean when they say it. That doesn't mean the way to get there is to start speaking that way. There are reasons why you operate the way you do. The way to bridge the gap between perfection and current reality is through consistent practices in small steps that address the obstacles. By the way, that's why I wrote the book SpeakSTRONG. It provides hundreds of possible practices.