Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Assertive vs. aggressive

Many women struggle with the idea of advocating for themselves and they can sometimes have trouble finding the line between being assertive and being aggressive. We asked a number of women to weigh on on the subject.

Many say the issue gets complicated for a number of reasons. One is that women can be people pleasers, and that can get in the way of how they handle themselves in their professional and personal lives.

Jane Wells Schooley, MA, CMBA
Founder and CEO of Northstar Team Development & Northstar Women Leaders
Co-owner of Dutch Springs

"The difference is gender stereotype, that men are expected to self advocate, men are expected to be self confident, men are expected to push when they want things and women are expected to be caring and expected to care about other people and team harmony and all those kinds of things. That’s just not realistic. Some women are comfortable doing the stereotypical role and some women are uncomfortable doing the stereotypical role."

Susan Yee
CEO/Active Data and
Single mom
Angel investor, Philanthropist

"I think one of the things that happens to some folks or some women perhaps is that feel they’re not heard and it comes out in a backlashy kind of way where all of a sudden they’re very loud and ineffective."

Deborah Lassiter
Founder of DCL Ministries 
Author, Radio Host, Entrepreneur

"When you’re pleasing people, there’s no balance. What does that person need from me? How should I present myself? What are they looking for? For me everything I do is about my heart posture. Everything I do is about being centered. Everything I do is about my motive and my intention."

Jessica Ramirez
Regression Therapist

"I think that if we can really know that being vulnerable is okay and if we can tap into speaking our truth and doing everything with integrity, then we can balance that and let go of it and not really worry about other people and what they’re thinking of us and if we’re pleasing them."

Stephanie Gardner

"I actually have a problem with the question a little bit that we’re still asking that question and I think the question shows that we are still separating men from women because I don’t think you would ask a man that question."

Stephanie Wells
Co-host Mike & Steph in the Morning, B104
Wife, Mother, Volunteer

"But if you believe in what it is that you want to do and who you are as a person, then if someone mistakes that for being aggressive versus being confident, then you can’t change their opinion of who you are."

Susan Yee
CEO/Active Data and
Single mom
Angel investor, Philanthropist

"I'm a big believer of charm and personality to be able to able to persuade and influence and so if someone can take people pleasing and turn that around into pleasing with influence, and then providing your own perspective with credibility and substance, then you don’t overcompensate by being too aggressive."

The discussion will continue on The Wisdom Coalition television show on Monday evening at 6:30p.m. For more information or to join the conversation online, go to

DISCLAIMER FOR COMMENTS: The views expressed by public comments are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the TERMS OF USE  and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Your comments may be used on air. Be polite. Inappropriate posts or posts containing offsite links may be removed by the moderator.


Allentown, PA 18102




  • 90%

This Week's Circulars

Latest from the newsroom