Something you're saying is affecting your confidence, your power, and your potential.
It’s not a secret word.
It’s not a topic that hasn’t been covered before.
In fact, we make jokes about how much Canadians say it. Amy Schumer has skits about it. Pantene has commercials about it.
It’s the word “sorry”.
I knew as a Canadian, I said it often. And I realize as a Canadian woman, I was likely to be a top offender of it.
But I didn’t realize how often I was saying it until the other day.
I was typing “so” on my phone and it autocorrected it to “sorry.” Repeatedly.
That was my moment. The moment when I realized I was apologizing SO much, my phone was automatically assuming I wanted to say sorry. Ugh.
Too much apologizing makes you seem less powerful.
Too many “sorry’s” make you seem more submissive.
Apologizing demonstrates a lack of confidence.
That's when I knew I needed to change. And I want you to check-in with yourself because it’s incredibly common.
Studies show that women apologize significantly more than men. It’s not that men don’t apologize as much when they do something wrong. It’s that women tend to feel the need to apologize more often and therefore, say “sorry” a heck of a lot more frequently.
So, while it’s top 40 material and trendy/provocative or even sexy/cute/adorbs when Justin Bieber says “sorry”, it’s not so much for you and me.
In fact, you’re probably apologizing for things you shouldn’t be.
Sure, apologize if you run into someone.
Apologize if you actually hurt someone’s feelings (intentionally or not).
But this message, my epiphany, your lesson - is about apologizing for those things you shouldn’t apologize for.
Don’t apologize for taking up too much space.
Don’t apologize for knowing what you want. No matter how ambitious it is.
Don’t apologize for not knowing what you want. Your life is an opportunity to find out and go for it.
Don’t apologize for letting your talent shine to the world.
Don’t apologize for needing sleep. Rest. A vacation.
Don’t apologize for loving your work.
Don’t apologize for asking a “stupid” question.
Don’t apologize for hating school. Or hating your job. Instead, go do something about it.
Don’t apologize for being broke. Go make money.
Apologizing doesn’t do much if you’re still unhappy with the outcome. Taking new, consistent action does.
Apologizing for being happy, shiny, bright, smart, successful, beautiful does not help others. In fact, it teaches everyone to dim their light and apologize for their talents and gifts. And that makes this world a blah and depressing place.
Be proud of what you have to offer.
Be proud of who you are.
If you want to apologize to yourself because something isn’t going well, go ahead. But don’t stop there.
Here’s how to create a lasting change, gain confidence, power and influence:
1 Track the number of times you apologize in a day. Remember, it’s not only the word “sorry” (although that is a great start). Pay attention to “I was just doing ____.” Or “I think it might possibly be better if we…”. Or “I shouldn’t have ___.” Listen for all the ways you are apologizing. If you are reading this in the morning, start today. If you’re reading this later in the day, set a calendar reminder for tomorrow.This WILL be eye-opening for you.
2 Manage how often you say “sorry”. Consider implementing a penalty for unnecessary apologies. A few weekends ago I was at a workshop and someone else brought up that the room was apologizing too much. As a group, we decided to put $1 into the pot every time someone apologized. A few hours and $15 later, we had ourselves a lot more awareness of our habits – and a delicious apple crisp to share.
3 Install the “Just Not Sorry” free Gmail plugin. It literally underlines when you use words that undermine your message. Get it here. Yes, I’ve installed it!
4 Try saying “thank you” instead. Rather than apologizing for being late, express gratitude for the person being patient. Instead of saying “sorry” for not doing the dishes, say “thanks” to your spouse/friend/roommate/kids for doing them. Saying “thanks” will make the other person feel happy and appreciated – and more likely to be patient/do dishes/be awesome again in the future.
5 Identify any habits you are persistently apologizing for – and consider stopping that habit. If you are always late, notoriously bad at returning emails, or bailing last minute, consider changing your pattern. You’ll have a lot less apologizing if you are proactive and change the habit.
6 Put the apology in perspective. Keep your “sorry” in check with the level it requires. And if you find yourself consistently feeling guilty or anxious about something that you know isn’t a big deal, consider getting support (from a coach for self-worth and confidence boosting techniques, or a counselor if you think it stems from past trauma).
7 Do what you need to create a change. If you’re always apologizing for complaining about your job/relationship/money situation, fix it! It may be harder in the short term, but soon, you’ll be grateful for all the time you’re not spending complaining and then apologizing for complaining. Identify the part of your life that’s causing you to apologize wayyyy too much. And then take the first step towards change.
8 Rock your imperfections. Hey, we all have them. And chances are you’re apologizing for sh*t that doesn’t matter. Own it. Stop apologizing for having a bad hair day, beating someone at your signature sport, or needing three tries to properly parallel park.
I challenge you to be fierce. Be unapologetic.
Yes. You can do this without being an asshole.
(Maybe not everyone can.)
But I know YOU can.
Be unapologetic about needing to take care of yourself first.
Be unapologetic about knowing what you want.
Or not knowing what you want.
Be unapologetic in your boundaries. In respecting your boundaries. In respecting the boundaries others have.
Be unapologetic in asking questions you want to ask.
Be unapologetic when you share your opinions.
Be unapologetic when you provide your brilliant ideas and input.
Share this blog with a friend, coworker, or partner who needs this message too and join the #sorrynotsorry movement.
Go shine on, you amazing human, you!
Success Coach & Speaker
PS. This has really been a journey for me. One of the things I’m working on not apologizing for being myself. For talking, taking up space, and letting my light shine.
If you’ve been apologizing too much, it’s affecting your life. It’s probably making you procrastinate, and it’s definitely impacting your self-confidence.
Check out my video here as I share my journey out of procrastination and into showing up, unapologetically, as my very best, shiny, bright self.