Good evening. Now, let’s get to the most important bit. There’s a new iPhone, yay! Okay, that’s not the most important bit, but if you’re looking at my phone as I am right now, with all the scratches and the smashed glass that has sticky tape holding it together, you’d be happy too. Okay. Did I say sorry then? Oh my God. I’m the worst example for what I’m about to talk about. I, Samantha Leith, suffer from sorryitis. I have in fact done some of the things that I talk about. Actually I’ve done all of them, but one of the things I’m going to talk about today is mind-blowing, if you do it. Like, mind-blowing. If you’re a constant sorry-er, when you do this: mind-blowing.
So “sorry”: it’s become a default for so many of us, which means it’s pretty much meaningless. What prompted me to talk about this to you today is I rang my sister who’s overseas, and she’s a 15-hour flight away, 12-hour flight away, whatever it is. I rang her, we talked for a couple of minutes and then she said, “I’ve got to go. I’ve got a meeting to go to.” And I went, “Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to disrupt you.” Like I’m going to know in my car that she’s about to go to a meeting in China. What on earth was I apologizing for? Default. And as soon as I said it, the words were out of my mouth, I was like, “Samantha Mary Leith, you still haven’t fixed that one.” So then I was doing that beating myself up thing again.
Anyway, I’m getting better. I am getting better. I wanted to talk about it, because I struggle with this probably every day. It’s, “Sorry, sorry.” And you truly … When you’re asking for a cup of coffee in a coffee shop and you want to say, “No, I asked for a Piccolo,” and I say, “Sorry, I asked for Piccolo,” but why am I apologizing if they got that order wrong? It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And what it does, is if you’re a constant apologizer, it’s like being around people that are constant whingers or constant Negative Nellies. It’s just this repetitive pattern that’s bloody awful. Stop it! It makes people lose respect for you and you lose respect for yourself, which is so important. Like, so, so, so important.
If you’ve got kids around you, you can actually be setting a really bad example. I’ve actually noticed my daughter has started to say it. Well actually a few years ago, she started to say sorry a lot. So we both work on why did you just say sorry. I’ll ask her, “Why did you say sorry? Do you have anything to be sorry for?” “Oh no, I just felt bad.” “Well no, then sorry’s not the right word. Explain how you’re feeling.” So we have to have conversations about it, and she’s getting better about it.
It’s really highlighted to me that she learned that pattern from me, and I need to fix it and I need to fix it more than I have been in myself. Some of the things it can do is it can make you feel really weak, and it can make you appear really weak. Now you know I don’t care what other people think, but in some situations, like if you’re in a negotiation process or a job interview or even me speaking on stage or with a coaching client, if I’m apologizing all the time, they’re thinking, “What’s that weak ass Sam doing?”, you know? Like, no, it’s … There’s better …
I’ll get to the point where you can learn better things to actually say. You start to question your actions and your decisions, and you start thinking you cock up a lot. If you say sorry a lot, it chip, chip, chip, chips away at how you’re feeling, and you can start feeling that you’re making the wrong choices, the wrong decisions, you’re saying the wrong things obviously, if you’ve got to say sorry for them all the time. You then start to feel … You can actually start to feel guilt that’s completely unnecessary. You may have done absolutely nothing wrong at all in a 24-hour period. You may have been the saintliest saints in that 24-hour period. Yet for some unknown reason, you’ve got sorryitis and you’ve said sorry 46 times.
By the time you get to the end of that day, you feel guilty and you feel some shame, and you feel possibly some regret. And all these negative, hurtful emotions will come up, and they’ll make you feel shit. [inaudible 00:04:51] they really will. And it’s all off the back of saying sorry too much. So stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it.
You can become really repetitive and really boring. “Oh, here’s Sam saying sorry again. Oh. Oh look, oh look, she’s two minutes late. She said sorry again. Oh look, she rang me and apologized.” Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. Lowers your self esteem. All that negative stuff lowers your self esteem. And we’re put on this earth as these perfect beings. So stop doing stuff that’s going to cut away at that, because it’s just a waste, such a waste. It’s such a waste of what you were put here to do, because we were all put here to do something. It’s our job to figure it out and then do it. That’s it, okay? And do it to the best of our ability. That’s what we’ve got to do.
Keep your self esteem intact, because it was born perfect. Don’t mess it up. The biggest thing about saying sorry too much is it becomes meaningless. So in those moments where you do genuinely feel that you have something to say sorry for, and you genuinely want to say it and want to express it to somebody, but they’ve heard you say it 15 times that day already, when you utter those words, “I’m sorry,” doesn’t mean diddly-squat. Diddly-squat. Google it. No idea what it is. But it doesn’t mean jack.
What I want you to do, I’ve gone … Hang on a moment, I’ve come up with one, two, three, four, five, oh, six … Come up with six things to do. I like fives. Oh well. So what I want you to do: grab … Use your phone, use a notebook, use your calendar and just mark it. Anything. But count how many times in a 24-hour period you say it, you type it or you text it or you post it. How many times in a 24-hour period do you use the word sorry? You will be shocked. Shocked.
Then I want you to look at all the situations where you said sorry, and look if there’s any similarities. Like, was it with any people in particular, was it a particular mood that made you do it more? Were you hungry? Was it a time of the day? Were you were in a rush? Any of those kinds of things. And if you look at it and go, “Okay, I said sorry 12 times in the hour before I had lunch,” well, you probably need to have lunch earlier.
Come up with a game plan. If every time you speak to Great Cousin Ethel, you say sorry 10 times in a phone call, well, text Great Auntie Ethel. If you’re triggered so much in that conversation to say sorry that often when chances are you had nothing to say sorry about, text the woman, okay? Don’t call her. Then start to notice when you do want to go, “Sorry.” Stop, pause, think about why you want to say sorry. Are you genuinely sorry? Do you genuinely have something to say sorry for? Like, if someone’s having a bad day, you saying “Sorry you’re having a bad day,” really? What are you sorry for? They’re having a bad day. Be empathetic, but choose another word. “I wish you were having a better day. Is there anything I could do to help?” Anything like that, but, “Sorry you’re having a bad day,” why? It’s not … Unless it is your fault, obviously.
So yes, stop and think. Are you really, really sorry? Then I want you to change the wording of what you’re saying. So if someone’s just … At work for example, someone said to you, “I need the blahdy blahdy blahdy blah by 5:00 o’clock,” and you go, “Sorry I didn’t understand.” No, you’re apologizing because they didn’t explain it well? No. So go, “Hmm. Could I maybe have some more details please?” Better energy. “Sorry, I don’t understand.” “Could I maybe have some more details please?” You know? It flipped it. You’re asking, you know, [inaudible 00:09:12], because if you say, “Sorry, I don’t understand,” they’re going to give you more details. So why not just ask for the more details?
One thing: flip it. “Sorry” comes from this negative down space, so flip it to a happy, gratitude-y, thankful kind of space. If you’re late for example, remember my father’s rule. It’s probably many people’s rules. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re early, you’re on time. So anyway, but if you’re late and you go, “Oh sorry I’m late,” or if you bump into someone, “Oh sorry,” how about, “Oh, thank you for your patience. I appreciate your patience”?
There’s always a way. 90% of the time you come out with, “Sorry,” that doesn’t need to be a sorry. You can flip it to a place from thanks, love, gratitude, that kind of thing. Promise you, promise you, promise you.
Lastly, one of the biggest keys to not saying sorry constantly is saying “No” more often. I should hold a mirror up while I say that, really. I know I talk about it a lot, but if you’re over-committed, if you’re trying to juggle too many things, if you’re really tired, if your values at the moment are telling you to do X, Y and Z, and you’re agreeing to do A, B and C, and then you’re constantly saying sorry because you feel like you’re letting down people over here, say no. Say no, and it removes the opportunity for you to feel bad or for you to feel like crap, basically, and saying sorry. So just say no. Say no.
So then my tips for how to learn how to stop saying sorry so often: I think there’s actually an app I read about that can monitor how many times you say sorry. And another big one is “just”, but I’ll talk about that in another live. So yeah, when you’re writing an email as well, “Sorry for the long response,” or anything like that, flip it. Flip it. “Thank you for being patient while I replied.” Much better for everybody. So happy Wednesday, have a great night and stop saying sorry!