Ask Amanda:

I apologize too much, help!

Question:
I never realized it but a friend pointed out to me that I constantly apologize–even when I have no reason to. I’m concerned that this is affecting how I’m being seen at work. Ideas? J.M., New York, NY

Answer:
You have a very valuable friend! It’s hard for us to see our own habits. And, as you rightly point out, habits directly affect our success. If you apologize for a perfectly reasonable request, circumstances beyond your control, or even when someone bumps into you (!), you’re essentially indicating a lack of faith in your own judgment. Over time this not only undermines your self-worth, it also subconsciously reinforces the idea with your audience that you constantly mess up.

While apologizing can be a powerful tool for building/maintaining trust, it’s vital to be able to assert yourself and view yourself as having the right to make your way in the world. Pause before you apologize. Confirm that you’ve done something you actually need to apologize for.

Understand your typical triggers and make a list of them. Do you always want to apologize when you ask someone to do something for you? If so, spend a week focusing on eliminating “sorry” in that context. If you feel the need to apologize when you need clarification, experiment with questions like, “Could you say a bit more about that?” or, “Can you give me an example?”

Turn your urge into a statement of gratitude. For example, “I’m sorry you had to run that errand” can easily become “I’m so grateful you did me this favor!” Not only does this more clearly express your intent, it focuses your mind—and the recipient’s mind–on the positive and as a consequence, it can build stronger bonds.

If you're wondering why corporations act as they do or would like advice on how to navigate the corporate landscape, please Ask Amanda and submit your question here.

You are welcome to reprint this article as long as you include the following in its entirety: Reprinted from “Our Corporate Life®,” a biweekly ezine featuring practical tips and tools for navigating the corporate world. Copyright © MMXVIII Amanda Mitchell and Our Corporate Life LLC All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at www.ourcorporatelife.com/subscribe

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life (www.ourcorporatelife.com) to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company, CNBC.com, and Monster.com. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

Corporate Driver: Perspective

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Taking Control of Your Career® Bootcamp Content Overview

Our Bootcamp is designed to get you back to feeling like yourself fast. To avoid overwhelm, we cover critical topics sequentially so you can make small changes quickly and experience immediate results.

1. New Beginnings

We start by creating a clear picture of your desired outcome and showing how feeling stuck can benefit you. You’ll also learn how to increase your physical and mental energy and a quick (less than 5 minutes!), easy way to improve your mood.

2. Setting Yourself Up For Success

It’s easier to succeed when your environment completely supports you. You’ll learn how to easily analyze yours and bring it into alignment. We’ll also cover techniques for viewing your work situation in a neutral, productive way–allowing you to move within it effortlessly.

3. Values & Standards

Values impact your behaviors, decisions, relationships and direction in life. Yet your values are often not aligned with your workplace. Standards are what we honor because we believe they will lead us to our goals. Logically you’d think high standards would result in a superior result but just the opposite often occurs. In this session we’ll cover how to maintain your standards when they’re not shared and how to stay true to yourself without making it an issue for others.

4. How Your Best Intentions Work Against You

If you’re like most achievers, you welcome and thrive on responsibility. Sometimes, however, your life can feel like one long “to do” list leaving little time to figure out what is working – or not – in your life. We’ll cover how to retrain your teammates, how to redefine your role and the concept of “responsibility without authority” – having one without the other makes success impossible.

5. Core Beliefs

Understanding how personal beliefs drive behavior is critical to freeing you from feeling trapped. This is a deeply personal and important aspect necessary to move into action. You’ll learn how to uncover the core belief that is out of alignment and the 5 step process you can use to replace it.

6. Who is in Control of Your Life?

Control is like catnip to high achievers – we all want it. But surprisingly few exercise control in the one area where they actually have it. This cycle of relentlessly trying to get control over an uncontrollable situation is exhausting and self–defeating. Resetting expectations so you can focus on fulfilling activities will provide the energy you need to regain your perspective and take action.

7. Setting Boundaries

If you’re surrounded by those who constantly violate your boundaries it will create conflict, drama and drain your energy. When you set and maintain appropriate boundaries you will experience an almost immediate reduction of stress. We will review the 5–step boundary setting process; discuss how to hold the line without alienating others or compromising your standards, and the implications of not being able to say “no”.

8. The Path Forward

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