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No Woman Should Apologize for These 8 Things Anymore

No Woman Should Apologize for These 8 Things Anymore

To be fair, no woman should have to apologize for a damn thing. Of course, as women, we all have those things we continually feel we should apologize for in our daily lives: speaking our minds, reading trashy novels…maybe watching the Twilight movies.

However, there are some big picture things we continuously apologize for that we shouldn’t have to apologize for at all. Ever. Again.

Our lifestyle choices

Some of us want kids. Some of us don’t. We shouldn’t have to apologize for choosing one or the other. Or for changing our minds about it. And there are those of us who choose to be single and still find ourselves apologizing to people for that choice. Why? It’s our choice.

What about our living arrangements? I own my house and live by myself. “Don’t you want a roommate?”  Nope. Not sorry. “You’re single, and you live with a guy who’s not your boyfriend?”  Yep. Not sorry.

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Whatever lifestyle choices you make, from your diet to your friends, never apologize for them.

Career choices

We shouldn’t have to apologize for our career choices. We can choose a career in a male-dominated field like law enforcement and swell the ranks of women police officers in the country. Or we can choose the career of stay-at-home mother. And if you think being a stay-at-home mother isn’t a full-time job, maybe you should be apologizing. It’s not a regular full-time job, but it will keep you busy as hell.

No more apologizing for asking for promotions or raises, either. If we’ve done the work, we deserve them. Ask for them with confidence. No sorries necessary.

Swearing

Oh, bloody hell. Just did it again. It’s long been argued that swearing is the sign of a weak mind. This ex-English teacher (who never swore in the classroom — I swear!) disagrees. Words obviously have power, but if you’re not swearing at someone, go for it, and don’t you dare apologize for it!

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The British Psychological Society conducted a study regarding swearing. It found that groups who used swear words during stressful situations were able to cope better than groups who were not. That’s right: Swearing is good for you!

Swear away, and never say you’re sorry after you do so!

Liking “guy” things

I like the classical “guy” things. Cars, sports, beer . . . I owned a 1971 Chevy Chevelle in high school and can talk about my favorite muscle cars for days. I once put a guy in his place at a bar when he mistook a Lotus Exige for a Lotus Elise. Wrong car, dude. I apologized for it. I shouldn’t have. Will I ever apologize for my car knowledge again? Hell no (not sorry!).

I will never (again) apologize for knowing about baseball or hockey or soccer or any other sport I love. Sports are becoming less and less the exclusive territory of “the guy,” but society still feels the need to compel us to apologize for liking sports, wanting to participate in them, or wanting to have any part of the world.  I’m still not apologizing for knowing about and loving sports!

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Liking “girly” things

On the other side of the “guy” coin are the “girly” things. I like beer or whiskey and an occasional cigar with said whiskey. But I also like wearing a skirt and my four-inch booties while I drink my booze and smoke my cigar. And I’m no longer apologizing for it.

I’m also not apologizing for being tall and wearing my high heels. If I tower over you, so be it. If I look you in the eye, deal with it. Don’t apologize for wanting to be feminine. And don’t apologize for not being feminine.

Saying no

Don’t apologize for saying no. To anything. Don’t apologize for saying no when someone asks for your number and you don’t want to give it to them. You don’t have to explain why. A simple: “No thanks,” or, “I’d rather not,” should suffice. Hopefully, the person asking will have enough tact to back off.

Don’t apologize if you want to stay home for a night in with a bottle of wine, your dog, and an NCIS binge. You don’t always have to hang out in the bar with your friends. Or go to the party with all your married friends. It’s okay to say no without saying you’re sorry. I’ve done it. I love going out or hanging out with my friends and their families. But sometimes, I need alone time, and I won’t apologize for it.

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Our sexuality

Don’t apologize for your sexuality, whatever that may be. And don’t apologize for expressing it. If you like sex, stop worrying that you will be stigmatized for your desires. If you don’t like it, the same can be said. Women’s sexuality can be affected by the expectations we set regarding it, and when we apologize for it, we are setting the expectation that we can’t be sensual or sexual beings.

Anything and everything!

Like I said at the beginning, just stop apologizing. Women seem to apologize for everything. We apologize for being in someone’s way at the grocery store. We apologize for expressing opinions to each other!  Stop it!  We certainly shouldn’t be apologizing to each other!  Women need to stand together and say, “I will no longer apologize for making a choice and having an opinion!”

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H. E. James

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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