You start to speak in a meeting. Someone else speaks at the same time as you. You instinctively stop talking, and then apologise.
You email an idea through for a new process that could save your organisation a huge amount of time, and thus money. Your email starts with “sorry, I could be wrong about this….”.
You schedule a meeting with a key stakeholder that they’ve asked you to schedule. They say they cannot make that time and ask you to reschedule. You apologise for that.
I know there will be a number of highly successful, competent and capable people reading this post right now nodding along. Feeling seen.
How do I know? Because I used to be this person too.
Apologise for taking up space.
Apologise for an idea, or an opinion before I had even put it out on the table for people to hear.
Apologise for someone else’s lack of organisation, or availability.
Most of the time I didn’t even realise I was doing it.
And then one day, someone finally pulled me aside and asked me what I was apologising for. I remember that moment well. I remember replying with “what do you mean?”. To which that person then stated “I don’t understand why you are apologising for being here and for having an opinion. You don’t have anything to be sorry for”.
All of a sudden it was like a lightbulb went off in my brain. It was like I had stepped up above my body and moved back and forth in time and saw every moment of my life where I’d apologised for absolutely no reason.
And believe me, there were A LOT of times.
It dawned on me that I had this habit so ingrained in my own behaviour that I wasn’t even aware I was doing it.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Are you someone who regularly says sorry without even realising you are doing it?
Here’s the problem with continually apologising just for being…
We aren’t respecting ourselves, our thoughts and opinions. We aren’t backing ourselves. We are unconsciously (or perhaps consciously for some) reducing our impact and our presence before we’ve even given ourselves a chance.
And this can be bad from a career perspective. Why?
Because if you aren’t having an impact, and if you don’t have any kind of memorable presence, it is unlikely your name is going to come up in a room full of people when opportunities are being discussed. Instead, your name may likely come up under the banner of people who “appear to lack confidence in themselves”, and therefore the assumption may be made that you “aren’t ready” for that promotion. That project. That new Team Leader gig.
And this is a PROBLEM.
So, what can you do about it? How can you become more aware of your sorry saying tendencies and get on top of it STAT?
Remember: The ability to apologise when you genuinely have done something wrong, is a real strength, but excessive apologising shows as a weakness, and can have serious implications on your career and your relationships.
If this is something you are aware of in yourself and can see how it is holding you back, and getting in the way of your career success, let’s talk. Book in a call with me here today.
Claire Seeber is a self-proclaimed travel addict, mini-sausage dog mumma, avid blogger, a lover of a good glass of pinot noir and believes a solid belly laugh should be part of your every day.
She is also a professional coach, speaker and People and Culture consultant. Claire started her business in 2017 whilst working full time as General Manager of HR for a large retail business. What she loves the most about the work she does is being able to work with passionate, motivated and courageous people who genuinely want to reach their full potential and are ready to put the hard yards in to get there.