It initially sounded callous to a people-pleaser like myself, but I’ve eventually come around to the idea that my primary job is to say no. Not ‘no’ as-in, “why did you bother asking?” but ‘no’ in a way that says, "let’s talk about your project and see if it’s the best fit for both of us. Only in that scenario will really good work get produced.
This is a great barometer for recognizing your value to a project or potential project. That said, I struggle with the act of asserting myself, even when I know that I’m the expert on the team in a certain area. I like the thought that it’s my responsibility. It frees me from the hesitation caused by not wanting to offend or step on others’ toes.
Especially in direct conversation, silence makes people uncomfortable. But, learning to allow for silence has allowed me to have some of my most significant conversations.