Confidence AdviceLB's Corner
My Lightbulb Moment – Microaggression or Micro-Assertion?

You’ve heard of microaggressions – subtle yet offensive comments / actions that communicate negative attitudes. They’re as painful as they are unintentional sometimes, and they show us how people really feel.

Lightbulb moment: As women, we need more micro ASSERTIONS. As a gender we’re known for not speaking up, jumping in, raising our hands and taking risks. We don’t take up our space, use our voice, or stand up for ourselves as much as the guys, and as a result, we’re often taken advantage of, passed over, and under-appreciated.  I’m not saying let’s get aggressive, let’s get assertive and let’s do it in tiny ways OFTEN.

Listen, I’ve learned during 25 years in adult education that changing behavior isn’t about knowing WHAT to do, it’s the WHEN and HOW to do it. “Speak up” is a great theoretical piece of advice, but “At the start of the meeting, clearly state your role and goal” is much more actionable right?  Small moment, small move, big effect: Micro Assertion!

One of the most powerful things we do in our #GirlsClub certification cohorts and our on-demand subscribers is surround our women with powerful role models. Women at the top of their game sharing real stories of fears and victories in full transparency so we can see all of their glorious bad-assery.  They show us hard things can be done and it’s not that they weren’t afraid. It’s that they were brave enough to do it anyway. And when we see one woman do it, we know we can too right?

So how do all these things come together?  Micro-assertions. Identifying, communicating, and then trying tiny acts of assertiveness so we get faster triggers on when to try them and build some muscle memory executing them.

Are you feeling me?


  • When you’re asked in a meeting to own something you can’t or shouldn’t.  Say,

 “Thanks Bob. Let’s address that one offline, I may need to move some things around.”

It’s tiny. It’s easy. It may happen a lot. It isn’t yes, it isn’t no, it’s speaking up and giving you time and a conversation to get what you really need (more time, new priorities, an assistant). 

  • You enter a zoom room for a big meeting and you’re early. The instinct may be to hide, but now is the time to turn the camera on, square your shoulders, smile, and call people out by name to meet them.  Like this, 

“Good morning! Looks like we’re a few minutes early.  I’m Lauren, I own the technical solution. Kate? Do I see you are here?”

  • (This one recently happened to me). I noticed I was feeling really frustrated with a contractor. Lists of issues were streaming through my head and keeping me up at night. But, I was talking to myself and my husband and NOT the offending worker.  

Micro Assertion:

I took note of my feelings and pinpointed my exact issue. Then I sent a short note stating un-emotionally how I felt and that we needed to meet soon. (This made sure the meeting would happen, that my intention was clear, and I wouldn’t chicken out!).  

The day of the meeting I kicked us off with my desire to “clear the air and get back on track.”

This isn’t rocket science, but I don’t have a long history of speaking up when I’m feeling infringed upon or disappointed.  The micro-assertion here is stopping to ask yourself,

“How do I feel about this?”  Have I communicated that?

And then buying myself time if I need it to plan, deescalate, plan, and thoughtfully respond (vs. react).

Try it two to three times this week.  Stop and check in. What are you “taking” you maybe shouldn’t be?

Unapologetically owning our gifts and power and getting what we deserve is not just about the big moves. It’s about building habits, recognizing opportunities, and feeling more and more confident in taking them consistently.

I’d LOVE to hear your example of a micro-assertion. I’ll put it in my next blog!  Email me at [email protected] (<- that’s my first company, I’m too busy to check two emails) .


  • The situation / scene – when you walk into the meeting room
  • The fear or challenge – and you want to take a seat in the back
  • The micro-assertion – instead you take a seat at the table and spread your things out a little

The payoff – taking up your space shows others you feel like you belong and send a message of power.

Have you got one?  Send me your subtle power move!