Time to Stop Saying ‘Sorry’

Ready for a bold statement? I’m not going to say “I’m sorry” ever again.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I will say it. But, from now on, I’m only going to apologize when necessary: As in, when I’ve made an honest mistake – personally or professionally.

How often do you find yourself using an apology as a way to diffuse an uncomfortable situation or keep the peace simply because we feel the need to say something? Taking the blame for things entirely out of our control is almost as bad as if we’d had control and lost it purposefully. Let’s not add the weight of the world to our already over-burdened shoulders – that just leads to making more mistakes.

Over-apologizing won’t fix the broken copier or the elevator out of service. It won’t make the rain clear up. It can’t solve world hunger or the fact that someone else woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

In the workplace, over-apologizing brings in unnecessary doubt as to your abilities. It makes you seem insecure and weak, and it opens the door to others walking all over you. It absolutely will not advance you to the next level. If you demand respect (at work or at home) through your words and actions and have confidence in yourself, others will follow your lead.

Lately, I’ve been thinking more about how my daughter will learn to be a strong, self-empowered young woman. And the thought occurred to me: she will learn it first and foremost at home, from me. That means I’ve got to show her a good example. And that’s a lot of pressure.

So, even though she’s only eight months old, I’m starting now to correct years of over-apologizing. I know it won’t happen overnight, but I’ve got to start somewhere.

Anyone else share this bad habit? Let’s practice keeping the “I’m sorry” card close to the vest and see how that makes us feel for a few weeks. I bet you’ll feel better about yourself and your abilities – I know I do already.