Growing up I wasn’t ever really forced to use my manners very often, including apologizing. My dad was dead set on teaching me to tell the truth, this was number one for him. Teaching your kid to tell the truth and then making your kid apologize for telling the truth (like when you tell the babysitter that she cannot keep house as good as your daddy) can be tough to explain, so as far as my memory is concerned we mostly skipped that lesson. I did have to apologize for lying, I vividly remember that. I believe this important truth lesson that was hammered into my brain from birth is a huge contributor to my lack of filter. It’s a blessing and a curse. Seriously, my parents taught me more than just telling the truth with this one, they also taught me it was perfectly acceptable to be who I am.
This is also tricky territory. It is perfectly acceptable for me to be who I am, but certain situations call for certain behavior. It’s not okay to text during the National Anthem, even though I’m a texter. It’s not okay for me to walk into an executives office and prop my feet up on their desk and act like I own the place, even if that’s my style. It’s not okay for me to call someone else an @$$hole in an email to corporate, even if they are one (c’mon y’all, we’ve been over this one). It’s not okay to be mean, rude, disrespectful, and downright hateful. It is okay for me to choose not to compromise my values, to hold onto my beliefs, to be honest, to chase my dreams, and to choose not to apologize. It’s okay for me to choose not to apologize for being myself. It’s okay for me to not apologize for the way I think, or for what’s important to me, or for what I believe in. It’s not okay for me to be mean, rude, hateful, ugly and not apologize. Are you with me?
Please don’t use this post as an excuse to not apologize for being a jerk. If you’re a jerk then you should apologize for it and then stop being a jerk, k? Moving on.
Apologizing in your day job. I work with some very talented individuals (in my day job and in my field). It’s truly amazing to watch a group of professionals collaborate and tackle problems together. What hurts my heart is when one professional in the room’s thought process doesn’t align with the rest of the group and that person feels remorse for that and spits out an apology. Do you work for a place that you think falls victim to groupthink? Do you sometimes feel like one of the few people on the outside of that groupthink just looking in? This can happen at even the best of organizations. You being on the outside of the groupthink is a POSITIVE thing, so listen up!! I want you to STOP apologizing. Stop apologizing to those groupthinkers when you have a new idea that they don’t like. Stop apologizing to those folks when your thought process isn’t the same as theirs. Stop apologizing to those folks when you try to do something a different way and it isn’t 100% effective or successful the first time. For the sake of your organization (and possibly your sanity) stop apologizing and hang on to your ideas! Keep them coming. Groupthink cannot be broken by doing the same ol thing we’ve always done, we need YOU and your innovative ideas, fresh perspective, questions, and outlook! You’re making a difference, it’s probably just happening slower than you’d like. Just do me a solid and promise me the next time you’re talking with one of those folks and you didn’t see the same thing they saw, don’t apologize for it-share with them how you came to your conclusion!