sorry not sorry

Does the key to building credibility lie in one small word?

Amanda Blesing, executive coach, helping women get their professional mojo back. Credibility building, sorry to sorry, apology accepted.
Amanda Blesing Strong Women of Song - Executive Coach

I recently headed out see iconic Australian rock artist, Renee Geyer in concert. The theme, Strong Women of Song, was too good to resist!

I haven't been out much lately, so I was delighted when the early evening easily lived up to it’s promise - a grungy venue, an ageing audience who remembered Renee from her heyday, with three strong female artists in the lineup.

However, one aspect of the evening remains deeply troubling and as a salutary reminder.

The first act came out. A newer artist with a great outfit in a themed blues set. Fun, mournful, great music, even better lyrics, with some light patter between songs. Entertaining and memorable in her own way.

I settled in with anticipation because the evening was billed to get better.

As the second act emerged on stage, she immediately apologised for not being good at the patter between the sets. So after a bit of initial patter she launched into an amazing song - full sound, high energy, and quite a contrast to her diminutive stature and her intro.

But it went downhill from there.

If this artist apologised once, she must have apologised 45 times and we could see and feel her stage presence diminishing.

It was excruciating to witness and only got worse as her set progressed.

It got so bad that at one point, an audience member went up to her to remind her that her music was great and to stop apologising because she was shooting herself in the foot. She apologised for apologising and wasn't able to stop.

Sorry is a crutch — a tyrannical lady-crutch. It’s a space filler, a hedge, a way to politely ask for something without offending, to appear “soft” while making a demand
— Jessica Bennett, Feminist Fight Club


Sadly, this is my strongest memory of the artist! She might be talented but her low self esteem and lack of awareness about the impact of her over apologetic presence took the stage front and centre, rather than her amazing sound.

THE COUNTERPOINT

Then it was time for Ms Geyer. She was poised, collected and took ownership of the room. She was totally awesome. She knew it, we knew it and we were delighted to be entertained by it.

The contrast could not have been more extreme -

  • from over apologising to owning the room

  • from weakness to strength

  • from downplaying and second guessing, to uplifting

  • from underestimating artist to artist owning her own awesome.


What a way to finish!

THE LESSON

Many women over apologise. It's been drummed into us that sorry stands for polite. Then when we see it modelled by others around us it becomes our new normal unless we're clued in.

We apologise for

  • when we want to move past someone who is blocking our way

  • when we are bumped or surprised as though it was our fault

  • landing a strong or contrary opinion

  • for not fitting the mould

  • not being good enough

  • for being too good ..... and the list goes on.

I even heard someone apologise for winning a role that once would have gone to a guy!


IT’S BECOME A HABIT


Whether you’re an aspiring artist or aspiring leader - over apologising will hold your career back like wearing lead boots. Payrises, plum assignments or big promotions? Not so easy for you.

Humility is one thing but false modesty, self deprecation and over apologising are other beasts.

When you over apologise, you undermine your credibility, leaving people doubting that you know what you’re talking about or that you're any good at all. It makes you appear weak, lacking in confidence and less leaderly.

Worse? It feeds the small doubting voice inside your own head that deep down doesn’t feel worthy, and that’s a slippery slope to nowhere.

It’s got to stop.

Don’t be like our over apologetic 2nd act who lost her credibility. Instead, channel your inner Renee Geyer and -#ownyourownawesome with the best of them. Become incredible instead.

Then save sorry for when you truly mean it or when it matters most, and it will have far more impact anyway.


YOUR THOUGHTS? I love replacing sorry with thank you. It's an easy substitute. Graciousness goes far. What do you replace sorry with? Or are you a serial sorry-er? Drop me a note and let me know

Want to find your  professional mojo  again?  Book in for a call with Amanda Blesing

Want to find your professional mojo again? Book in for a call with Amanda Blesing

Women of Impact go on Retreat to Palm Cove. Early bird pricing closes 13 September 2019 -  book here

Women of Impact go on Retreat to Palm Cove. Early bird pricing closes 13 September 2019 - book here

 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Stop apologising already and get on with the business of making a difference

As Jessica Bennett, author of Feminist Fight Club puts it, "Sorry is a crutch — a tyrannical lady-crutch. It’s a space filler, a hedge, a way to politely ask for something without offending, to appear “soft” while making a demand".

Apologising not only focuses on the fault but also assumes that the fault, if there was one, was yours and keeps you playing small.

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  • Credibility is key in your success and leadership journey

  • While rude is bad (and “unfeminine”), gracious and kind is good

  • And the best bit? Gracious is seen as “the feminine” plus seen as a highly desirable leadership trait in both men and women

  • And graciousness is a credibility builder.

So how do we be gracious yet not over apologise?

TRY THE REFRAME

Say “Thank you” instead of “Sorry”

  • “Sorry I’m late.” Instead - “Thank you for your patience”

  • "Sorry for the needing the meeting moved" Instead - "Thank you for your consideration"

  • "Sorry” when you express an option that’s contrary Instead - “Thanks and what about this idea ..”

Save sorry for when it’s really needed and matters most!

What other examples where thanks might be better than sorry?

#sorrynotsorry #womenofimpact #makeabiggerdifference

READ MORE? https://lnkd.in/fkQqN7r

 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months