By Chinh Huynh, Jaunty graduate
"Hey Brian, do you have a second?"
Brian continued looking at the screen, deep in thought.
"Is this going to be quick?"
"Yes. I'd like to let you know that I won't be able to continue working on your project. Thank you for the opportunities that you gave me."
I got Brian's attention. As he was processing the news, I sat there in silence, calm and composed. A promising collaboration went bad. When Brian convinced me to help with the project two months ago, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to work with a senior member in the organization. Toward the end, Brian seemed distracted and things got dragged out for no good reason. After trying everything I could with no progress for a week, I decided to call it quits.
Brian thanked me and shook my hand. He didn't ask me why, I didn't feel like I need to justify myself either. Did Brian lose any sleep over this? I don't know, but that's beside the point. It's Brian's feelings, he will take care of it. As for me, I made a promise in my Jaunty class to live an assertive life, and I need to hold myself responsible for it.
Having options is powerful. Knowing that you have the ability to walk away from a bad situation will give you peace of mind. While everyone knows to look for a competing offer when searching for a new job, they often fail to apply the same principle in the most important aspects of their life: friendships and relationships.
A friend of mine is not happy. She thinks she sacrifices too much and her boyfriend does not reciprocate.
"So leave him," I said.
"That's what I'll do, when I know what I want. I don't know what I want".
I feel for her. I was in a similar situation before. As poetic as it sounds, I learned from Jaunty that I don't need to sacrifice to be in a healthy relationship. What I need to do is talk to a lot of people, invest in the ones that fit in my life and let go of the rest. As I made new friends that treat me well, it became easier to cut loose of broken relationships. When you have the ability to create an abundant social life, you're no longer tied to a relationship that "has to work". You no longer need to sacrifice for love.
People come to Jaunty for various reasons. For me, assertiveness and finding quality people are the key takeaways from Jaunty's six-week program. A month after graduation I made two new friends that I greatly enjoy spending my time with. I stopped interacting with negative people. I no longer say yes when I want to say no. I lost a few friends over this but that's okay because I can make new friends who respect my decisions.
I still feel anxiety when talking to new people. That little churn in my stomach before making an approach hasn't gone away yet. Putting myself out there is hard. It always has been. What kept me going is the Jaunty alumni network that pushes me to continue advancing my social skills even after the class is over. Every ending is a new beginning and my social life has just begun.
"Today I will live a social and assertive life."
Signed Chinh. Witnessed by Jaunty. April 7, 2015.