Are you apologizing for following your dream, for taking the time away from your family + friends, for taking selfies or for following your own path? Are you apologizing out loud “sorry for another post but…” or are you apologizing with your actions and attitude (trying to physically to shrink yourself – sorry for taking up space!). If you wanna move forward with your business or even your life, it’s time to identify your apologies and move to being unapologetically YOURSELF.
I have been thinking and writing about the need to be unapologetic for a very long time. And I have been working on being unapologetic about who I am, for even longer.
I have been thinking about apologizing for my dreams, for my ambition, for who I am for a looong time. When I started writing about business, I titled the site (for a very brief period of time!) Unapolgetically Wonky.
At the time I said: “I don’t just acknowledge that yeah, we’re all a little wonky, I think it’s imperative to embrace it, to love our wonky bits, to be who we are without apologizing. Unapologetically wonky is a way of being that influences my teaching and creating. Embracing the imperfections in my student’s work and helping them accept it as a natural part of learning.
Avoiding holding up any one standard of awesomeness.”
Friends, what was true in 2010 is even MORE important today. With Instagram perfection, and Facebook humblebragging, and all of the ways we are surrounded with pictures of lives that seem better than ours, it is more important than ever to acknowledge and embrace our own wonkiness, and to move forward unapologetically ourselves.
Quick shout out to the book that got me thinking and talking about this recently: Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Stop Apologizing. I read the intro and immediately sat down to have a convo about it in my Instagram Stories and that inspired this episode. I’m liking the book so far, but I wanted to write this episode before I read any more of it.
What does being unapologetic even mean?
It means not apologizing for really, I mean REALLY wanting something.
It means not apologizing for not wanting what other people want.
It means not apologizing for spending hours working on what lights you up.
It means not apologizing for spending hours not working, for napping, for reading, for snuggling, for watching TV.
It means not apologizing for wanting more. More customers, more money, more house, more friends, more kids, more more more.
It means not apologizing for wanting less. Less waste, less stuff, less debt, less expectations, less work, less inequality, less conflict, less less less.
It means not apologizing for standing your ground, for living by your values, for choosing something that other people aren’t choosing, for parenting the way you want to parent.
It means not apologizing for your body, for the size it is, for the color it is, for what it can do, for what it can’t do, for what it doesn’t want to do, for what it craves, for what turns it on.
It means not apologizing for completely and totally accepting yourself, for loving yourself, for taking care of yourself. And also for not being there yet. For not feeling acceptance yet.
It means not apologizing for loving and accepting others, for creating healthy boundaries, for saying yes when you want to and for saying no when you want to.
It means not apologizing to the world, and not apologizing to yourself, in words, in actions, or in attitudes for who you are and the life you want.
Why? Apologizing is keeping you small.
It keeps you from following your dreams. It makes you feel like you’re not allowed to want what you want. And that means you won’t actually do what it takes to get what you want.
I’ve experience this so often in my own life and business – I want something, but I feel kinda wishy washy for wanting it, because I think either it’s going to inconvenience someone else, or it’s going to be weird…and so I don’t follow through on figuring out how to get it (let alone for doing the work to get it!) until I can feel awesome about it. Until I’m unapologetic about wanting it and for the work it’ll take to get it.
If you’re stuck in not following through on a dream, I want you stop and think: What are you apologizing for? What makes you feel like you shouldn’t want it?
Apologizing for what makes you different, is what keeps your business stuck.
Here’s the crazy thing: the stuff that makes you different? The way you want to live, communicate, make, market – that will be what makes your business stand out. That is what will lead to your business success! If you follow the path others have blazed, if you do what everyone else expects you to do… your business will be boring. If you have a business just like everyone else’s…no one will buy from you. We buy from and keep coming back to businesses that are different.
And hey, if you’ve been telling yourself (the lie) that your field is already really crowded? That too many other people do it? The solution is not to give up, the solution is to do it your own way. To be different. So whether you sell knitting designs, or handmade products, or someone else’s products, even if you have a direct selling business – yes, hundreds of thousands of people probably sell the same thing – but none of them can be you. None of them can do it how you do it.
Being apologetic for your own weird, offbeat ways will keep you from seeing the success of being your own weird, offbeat self.
Being in a state of apology is setting a bad example.
Here’s the thing: I want you to accept what you want for YOU, but I know that often we make a change because it’s good for others. So here’s the altruistic reason for not apologizing: it conveys your values. Maybe I’m thinking about impact and examples (which I talked about in the last episode) so much because all my foster babes have been girls, so I’ve been thinking hard about being an example to younger women and girls.
Or maybe it’s because I have woken up to the fact that often we only believe it’s possible and permissible when we see other people do it. Running a 10k – possible to me only after I saw my college roommate doing it. Being a mom of 4 and running an amazing business – possible and permissible only when I got up close and saw the family life of my friends Liz and Dave.
So when you feel like you have to apologize for taking care of yourself? Or when you apologize for being dedicated to your business? You are telling those around you, both little people and big people, that it is not permissible for them either.
Ok, so now that I’ve convinced you to stop being so apologetic…how do you do it?
- Recognize what you’re apologizing for. Maybe you need to listen again and pay closer attention to the examples I give, but I am sure that if you are feeling low confidence about something, or telling yourself that some of your dreams aren’t possible, you are feeling like it’s not quite permissible for you, or you feel apologetic for wanting it.
- Ask yourself: what are the beliefs you have about that area? What are the beliefs you have about yourself and who you are supposed to be?
- Envision your most badass self, the one who is unapologetic about wanting what she wants. What does she do that you’re not doing? What does she believe that you don’t believe? My favorite thing to do is to write a letter as this Future You (because this unapologetic gal IS a possible Future You) about what you learned and did to make your dreams happen. Or if that’s not your jam, write a list.
- Catch yourself (and others, gently) when you start to apologize for something you want. For me it sounds something like: “Sorry, but I really want to…wait, no not sorry. Lemme start over. I would like to X. I would like you to Z.” Here’s the crazy thing. Every single time I’ve done that, the person has said, “That’s awesome! Thanks so much for letting me know!” Because those who love you want to know what you want! They want to know how to support you! And you being honest and straightforward (and not whiny or cranky) allows them to be honest and straightforward about how they can support you and what they don’t want to do.
I hope this helps you live unapologetically. As a reminder, get the new e-course, at TaraSwiger.com/takecare.
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