The Conversation After “No.”

As assertive servants, we want to have a positive influence on those around us. As purpose-driven people, we want to recruit others to join our efforts. As human beings, we need to ask for help. The ability to influence others is essential for survival, for success and for service.

Influence is built on trust. People are most receptive when they know we aren’t trying to pressure or manipulate them. We must demonstrate that we can gracefully accept an answer of “no.”

Does that mean we have to back off and drop the subject at the first sign of a negative response? No. A respectful attitude can turn a “no” into the beginning of a constructive conversation. [Read more…]


persuasion“Time to go in!” called the preschool teacher. The youngsters left the playground and straggled toward the building. All except little Bobby. He sauntered in the opposite direction, glancing over his shoulder to see if the teacher was watching.

I saw this as my chance to be useful. As a new preschool aide, I was eager to prove my worth. I walked towards Bobby, planning to take him by the hand. He giggled and ran away. I broke into a run, but he took off with surprising speed. [Read more…]

An Assertive Young Man

lions“Daniel in the Lions’ Den” is a time-honored children’s story, but we adults can also learn from this Biblical hero. Long before he met the lions, Daniel demonstrated remarkable grace, common sense and integrity.

The book of Daniel is set in the 6th century B.C. The first chapter describes how King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem and carried some of the Jews into exile in Babylon. Daniel was among the captives. As an educated young man of noble birth, he was chosen to serve in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace and was groomed for a career in the Babylonian government. Along with the other young trainees, Daniel was expected to eat the hearty food assigned by the king to keep them strong and healthy. [Read more…]