professional

Sorry needs to stop.

Not the new song by Justin Bieber, that sorry can stay.

I'm talking about your incessant use of the word sorry in personal and professional exchanges. It needs to end. It's eroding your integrity. It's in the way of your success.

I want you to take a second to scroll back through texts and emails and see how often you've said 'sorry' in the past week. Now the past month. 

 

Good ol' Bart.

Good ol' Bart.

 

What is up with your use of this word? Why are you apologizing for being imperfect? Why are you constantly late? Why are you missing deadlines? What are you promising and not delivering on and, most importantly, WHY?

Your use of sorry needs to stop. I want you to have more power in your life. I don't want you to feel constantly behind the 8-ball.  I want for you to feel focused, clear, organized and confident. And reliable. And accountable. And professional. 

How does all that sorry make you feel? How does it affect your day-to-day interactions with friends, family and colleagues? I'm guessing it feels like crap. It did for me when I said it all the time.

We use sorry when we are out of integrity. And by that, I mean we compromise our own happiness and boundaries. Or we promise something and don't follow through to make it happen. And then, we don't show up to be accountable for that. This pattern becomes a hamster wheel of diminished self-esteem and credibility and it sucks. It just doesn't work AT ALL.

So, stop saying sorry. Stop overworking to the point of dropping balls left and right. Stop apologizing for fear of what people will think because you aren't perfect. Stop overcommitting to people and things that bring you so far out of balance that you don't even know the meaning of that word anymore. STOP APOLOGIZING and START TRANSFORMING.

If, and I mean IF, I use the word sorry it happens on a very limited basis these days. Know why? Because I overcame the old voice in my head that said I wasn't worthy or didn't have value if I didn't try to do a million things for a million people.

Or if I didn't try to make everyone happy.

Or try to be everywhere doing everything because I was afraid to sit in my own company.

Or to win my mother's validation and approval.

Or the boss's praise (same theme as the mom thing).

Or to look like I had it all together in front of my colleagues. 

That list, it could go on. Add your own items to it, if you know them.

Stop saying you're sorry and start living from integrity, starting with yourself. Here are three simple ways to begin:

1) carve out YOU time every day. Not once a week. No. EVERY DAY. Start with 5 minutes and work your way up to an hour or more. By prioritizing yourself, you will learn what does and does not make you happy or your life better and you will be able to sort other things more effectively. 

2) think and wait before you commit. If anyone asks you to do anything, use this phrase, "thanks for the offer. Let me check my calendar and I'll get back to you." While it's tempting to agree on the fly, it works better in the long run for you to check your commitments and decide if you want and need to squeeze another meeting or hang out or anything into your jam-packed week. 

3) don't promise if you can't deliver. Unless you KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt that nothing, and I mean nothing, will prevent you from being somewhere or doing something, don't promise it. A half-assed promise is a promise and it's waiting to be broken and then you have to say the S-word again. Don't do it. Only agree or commit to people and things that light you up and you know you can and WANT to do. Easy. If you do agree to something, make sure you do it unless there is an absolute emergency. 

 

Those are just a few ideas, and I have more, so come back and read often. And share this with someone who keeps saying sorry and needs to stop.

 

How to Gauge Readiness for Change

when-the-winds-of-change-blow

  Whether you're talking about dating, coaching or some other business involving someone's level of readiness for change, you may find this helpful.

Change is my primary motivator. I thrive in the chaos of transformation--it's what keeps me happy and makes me feel alive. When I feel stagnant, something feels wrong.

Not everyone loves change. Some people abhor it, in fact. Gauging someone's readiness and propensity toward change is crucial if you want to be successful in any kind of relationship: personal or professional (or otherwise). 

I know the awe-inspiring duality of the sheer terror and profound bliss of choosing change--I think it's where we are most free. I want more people to know this experience as intimately as I have come to know it.

After being ineffective more times than I can count, I transformed my own misdirected efforts to change other people and environments into my own intentional, self-directed personal transformation. I've changed everything from my eating habits to my career (multiple times) to my gender identity. Now, I send out endless invitations for others to join me on their respective paths. When people resist, I know it isn't a reflection on me or the way I live my life--it's me meeting their limitations face-to-face.

I have a gift for seeing through what IS to what IS POSSIBLE, in myself and others, but if the gift isn't chosen it ceases to be a gift.

It's been a game-changer for me to learn how to gauge someone's readiness so I can spend more of my time and energy on those who share my passion and commitment for transformation because when out-of-the-box thinkers actualize their potential, great things happen.

 

Here's how to gauge readiness for change:

1) THEY TALK ABOUT WHO THEY WANT TO BECOME

If someone constantly talks about who they desire to be, what they desire to do and HAVE, they are committed to change. They aren't happy with status quo or being merely "ok". They want more and are willing to do anything to accomplish that. Listen for the person to identity their habits, successes and areas of growth. They are in the process of self-awareness and self-acceptance which is crucial to moving through pain and toward healing and wholeness. When someone speaks to who they want to become and take steps toward achieving it, they are seeing themselves not as static creatures but dynamic, changing beings capable of anything.

 

2) THEY MAKE & HONOR COMMITMENTS

A commitment made is a promise to ourselves and another person. It's an act of courage to step up and into a new way of being. People who earnestly take on and honor their commitments don't fear failure but fear the pain of avoidance and denial. Making a commitment like setting a date on a calendar and keeping it without excuses, is a demonstration of character and integrity. People who are ready to change can't stand the stagnancy of ambivalence and choose action over indecision. Their commitments are a reflection of their values, so take notice of what and who they prioritize in their lives.

 

3) THEY MAKE FRIENDS WITH FEAR

Someone who is ready to change speaks openly and honestly about fear. When someone can name his/her fear, it holds less and less power over that person.  When people make excuses, they are stalling so they don't have to act. We create stories and justifications, ranging from individual to collective beliefs, to make our stalling make sense. When people feel afraid to change, they surround themselves with others who share the fears as an identity. We can experience something without being defined by it and the person who is ready to change knows that overcoming fear is crucial to that process.

 

4) THEY SEEK HELP VIA POSITIVE CHANGE AGENTS

We don't do this alone. We all need help. There are many kinds of change agents--some positive, some negative. Some people claim to be change agents but really contribute more to patterns of abuse, negativity and stagnancy than real change. People so focused on changing others' behaviors often don't have time to address their own issues. I spent a long time doing this. Positive change agents gently address themselves first and foremost and then deftly inspire change in others.

 

5) THEY SEE EVERYTHING AS HAPPENING FOR THEM, NOT TO THEM

Listen for people who constantly call up experiences they have as blessings in disguise. If they are talking about the same things time after time and not making connections or seeing patterns, they aren't ready to change. When you hear someone naming experiences and identifying a bigger reason or Purpose or a grander plan involving their transformation, buckle your seatbelt. They are ready to rock.

 

If you're a change agent and work with people who love it like you do, run through this checklist and see how you're doing. Consider your clients, colleagues and the other relationships in your life. 

What do you see? What did you learn? How will you use it moving forward?