Are you sorry?
I mean, really sorry?!
Then, why do you always apologize for everything?
Today, I want to talk to my sisters, specifically. But men- listen up, because we need your help.
There is this tendency for women to over-apologize about…. evvvvvvverything!
Ladies, do you find that you apologize for things like-
A friend tells you they had a really sucky day and you respond, “Oh, I’m sorry”.
Someone tells you the weather by them is oppressively hot and you respond, “Oh, I’m sorry”.
A coworker didn’t do the work they were supposed to do, like deliver a report for a meeting, and you apologize for the work that wasn’t done even though it wasn’t your job.
You accomplish a huge weight loss, or promotion, or some type of personal success and you apologize for it and downplay it. “Well, I got lucky.”
Us women have been taught that an apology is good manners. An apology shows you care, that you have empathy, and are a good contentious lady.
Who doesn’t want to be seen as a good, morally upright, person? I get it.
But, what is the cost of an insincere apology?
It takes your power away.
If you don’t feel empowered than how can you affect change in the world?
What does hockey have to do with it?
Some of you know that I started to play hockey again this past year. I joined a women’s league after a 20 year hiatus. Most of the women on my team are new to hockey. They’re moms who have watched their kids play for years and want to get in on the fun.
Hockey isn’t an easy sport to pick up as an adult or at any age.
You have to learn how to ice skate, use a stick and puck, understand the rules and learn how to play. Plus, it is basically all out sprinting for 1 to 2 minutes every time you’re on the ice so you need to be in decent shape. Did I mention this is all done on ice? Friction-less ice?! All of this would be hard enough to accomplish on land, add ice and fuhgeddaboudit!
When I joined my team, it was the first time in years that I had been around such a large group of amazing women working together. I had spent the previous portion of my career working with men in male dominated industries. In most cases, I was the only woman in the room.
Although the majority of my clients are women, the interaction between women is very different in a group than one-on-one coaching.
In hockey, I have never in my life experienced so much apologizing.
When is the last time a man apologized to you? During my 16+ year career of working with men- 2 times. And believe me, they had reason to apologize, although I did not expect them to. Men are not apologizers, by nature. So when they do apologize, you know they truly feel sorry for what they’ve done.
Back to hockey
Within a couple of practices, one big thing became apparent- “Sorry” is the most uttered word on the ice.
Someone passes a puck and completely misses the intended person and yells out- Sorry!
Someone can’t stop because their skating ability is limited and they run into someone. – Sorry!
Someone misses a pass.- Sorry!
Someone gets “off sides” because they don’t know what “off sides” is.- Sorry!
Someone is in the wrong position on the ice, realizes it and yells out- Sorry!
I’m about 100% sure this doesn’t happen at an NHL practice.
If I made a dollar for every time a teammate says “I’m Sorry” during a given practice, I would be hockey rich and pay for everyone’s ice time.
I’m not immune to this myself. Occasionally, the words rise up out of my throat and are out before I can pull them back in. I find that I apologize, not because I’m sorry, but because I’m embarrassed that I made a move that sucked and I feel like I should know better and I want to make sure everyone knows I know that what I did sucked.
Can you see how ridiculous this is?
None of us are pro players. Heck, most of us are lucky that we can make it down the ice and back on our feet. If you don’t have control over your body on ice, lots of things are going to happen that are out of your control- like slamming into an opponent because, in a panic, you all of a sudden forgot how to stop.
Every time a teammate comes up to me to apologize, I say, “There’s no sorry in hockey”.
We are all there for the same reasons- to practice, improve, and get in a good sweaty workout. The only way to get better is to make mistakes, learn from them, and apply that knowledge. What is there to be sorry about?
There is definitely a time and place for a heartfelt apology.
When a woman apologizes for everything and anything, it diminishes the weight of when she is truly sorry.
You know deep down when a conscious action you took harmed another person and warrants an apology to that person.
All the other fluffy apologies need to go away because they rob you of your power.
You hide behind politeness when what is needed is your perspective.
Voice your view and you are empowered. People can relate and learn from your truth.
I know this isn’t easy.
It means rewiring the way we think, live, and interact.
If you want to be a leader in any way, this is a good place to start. No one feels confident in a woman who apologizes all the time.
It also means you need to change your expectation of other people.
If you expect people should apologize to you for anything, than you’re going to be unhappy most of your life and waste a lot of time angry that you have been done wrong.
I don’t know about you, but I have a lot to do. Anger just saps energy and focus from what is important.
And men, this is where you come in. Please support the women in your life (personally and professionally) to open up conversations about this. If you are surrounded by empowered women, just think about what your team or family can accomplish together!
When you say what you mean, you’re empowered.
When you feel empowered, there isn’t anything you can’t do.
I know that YOU have the ability to be a Leader within your home, community, or world and to affect change.
So, this week- let’s practice – no apology – for stupid inconsequential stuff.
Let’s be aware of when we do apologize, forgive ourselves for it, and not beat ourselves up.
Heck, when you do it yell out- “There’s no sorry in hockey!” (It will be our little inside joke.)
Let’s also be aware of when we see it in other people. Sometimes, it is easier to see it in another, first before we see it in ourselves. Then, take a step back and ask, “Do I do this myself?”
Let me know what you think. Did you feel empowered this week?
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