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“Sorry to disturb you…”

“Sorry, but can we just run through something quickly…”

“Sorry to disagree, but…”

OK – here’s the truth, straight up!

Before you read any further – let it be known that as women and female leaders we apologise more than men! 

It’s as if it’s in our DNA to be serial apologisers – apologising for speaking up, asking for something, or sharing an opinion… at times, it can feel like we’re saying sorry for even existing!

You may laugh at the thought – but sadly it’s true!

It occurs everywhere every day, for women all over the world.

And if you’re a serial apologiser then this habit is undermining your value as a strong, confident, and successful female leader!

I’m going to be straight with you: saying sorry when there’s nothing to apologise for doesn’t make you a martyr…

 …It actually makes you less valuable, less respected, and less believable!

Beginning a statement with the word “sorry” can automatically diminish what you’re about to say.

It can devalue and invalidate your words, leaving you looking reclusive, intimidated, and lacking in confidence.

Ensure your words carry meaning, power, and value; don’t deflate their value with the word “sorry”!

How Over-Apologising Affects Your Personal Brand

Why is it that an outspoken and confident woman is labelled aggressive or demanding, when a man with the same demeanour is seen as a leader or role model?

A brief look into the history of “speaking up” is as fascinating as it is disturbing…

It’s said that a device, known as the Scold’s bridle, fitted on women – to punish them for speaking out against any kind of authority – including their husbands.

The iron muzzle-like face mask was wrapped around the head, covering the mouth and with a “bridle bit” placed on the tongue to stop a woman from speaking out, or, according to history, “gossiping”!

OMG right?! 

It sounds like a scene out of “The Handmaid’s Tale” – but unfortunately, it’s part of our history – and was used as late as 1856!

The iron mask may be a thing of the past, but it may explain why research shows women have a lower threshold for perceiving offensive behaviour and apologise more readily than men.  

It’s little wonder that today as women, we often lack the self-belief and confidence to speak up – or dare to offer new ideas!  Feeling that our opinion is often not as important as our male counterparts. 

Instead of owning our voice as empowered female leaders we step back, and wait… Or start punctuating our words with “sorrys”, deflating our power and removing any perception that we’re ‘bossy’.

So, while not physically wearing an iron mask, the muzzle metaphor lives on.


It’s right there in the history books: the past has taught us that we ought to be punished, belittled, or devalued for speaking up!

But, if you want to be an empowered female leader, your words really do matter! They can be used as a smart tool to both shape and elevate your personal brand and leadership status

Great leaders communicate with passion, purpose, and clarity. They can clearly articulate who they are, what they stand, their thoughts, ideas, and their vision for the future. 

And all without saying “sorry”!

If you turn up to a meeting – but don’t walk into a room with self-confidence, presence, energy, and truth, you will not truly Be Seen.

If you don’t have a compelling answer to “who are you?” – what makes you unique – you will not Be Heard. 

And if you don’t learn to step into your confidence and own your voice as a woman in business, with all sorry’s aside, you will not Be Noticed for your full value.

The simple truth is, saying sorry when there is nothing truly to apologise for dilutes our words, leaving us looking more compliant than confident!

Your brand is anything someone knows – or deduces – about you. And if you’re not in control of your personal brand, you’re letting others dictate how they see you.

Shift the paradigm and take back control with a strong, confident, beaming personal brand that shows off your worth and value – even before you’ve uttered a word!

Your personal brand is everywhere – it’s on your social media platforms, your website, and you radiate it when you walk into a room.

So how is your personal brand and leadership status affected when you say sorry too much – especially when you have nothing to apologise for?

You’ve worked hard to create a personal brand. But is all that effort being compromised?

If you are unable to clearly articulate your worth (pitch yourself) to the world and confidently communicate your leadership values you risk being overlooked and undervalued as a leader in your niche market or industry.


1. It devalues your words and undermines your authority

Puncturing your words with too many “sorrys” deflates their meaning and removes their value.

In short – it lessens the value of your voice, your words, and your authority, allowing you to all-too-easily slink back into the shadows and fail to recognise your worth as a leader.

This in turn can result in your target audience losing their respect for you, leaving you overlooked and undervalued.

And so, even when you do say something of value, you’ve compromised your full potential to make a positive impression and lasting impact, due to your habit of over-apologising. 

Establishing your personal brand and leadership authority means building your credibility.  To do that you must learn to confidently articulate your thoughts, ideas and insights freely.  

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2. It shows your audience you lack confidence

This is a big one!

Nothing crushes your leadership value more than lack of confidence – and as women – this is our Achilles’ heel!  

Lack of confidence can manifest into a barrage of daily habitual “sorry’s” and gives the impression that you do not believe you are worthy of your role, title or leadership position.   

And if you don’t believe your worth – then no one else will value it either! And that’s a severe career crusher!  

Here’s the truth: If you want that job, promotion or charge a premium for your products and services then people must value you.

And if you want to be recognised as a leader in your niche market or industry, you must also offer people certainty. 

Particularly in times of chaos, we look to leaders for certainty, direction, and vision!

Today, more than ever before, people, businesses, and organisations are looking for female leaders who can lead with confidence.

So, now is the time for you to establish your position as a confident, empowered woman that values your worth in the world.

3. It affects how other women see you – and themselves

This isn’t a man vs. woman argument.

Right now, forget about the men, and think about all the other women – whether they be colleagues, friends, mentors, or leaders – who look up to other women (especially those with more authority and confidence than them) for guidance, support and inspiration to break the cycle.

And that starts with you too! Now is the time to step out of the shadows and embrace your power to help break the stereotypes of female leaders.

At the same time, empower yourself with greater self-belief, strength, and authority in your niche market.

Gain strength in knowing that as a female leader you are a ‘soul’ model to other women.  And, with that comes permission to change the culture for other female leaders.

4. It lessens the impact of a real, warranted apology

Don’t apologise for everything – be a Humble Warrior!

Apologising can be seen as a strength as a leader – but only when it’s justified does it demonstrate integrity.  

Learn to deliver your regrets, not as a form of surrender, but as a foundation to develop a greater body of wisdom and sense of self.

I am reminded of this when I practice the Humble Warrior pose in yoga. The posture requires the yogi to bow forward and is symbolic of offering humility or ‘being humble.’ 

But the stance requires an incredible amount of strength, balance, and presence.  

So, the key message here is not to stop apologising – it’s to stop doing so when it’s not warranted and when it ends up diluting your words and weakening your leadership status.

If there are times when you must practice humility, then be a Humble Warrior and do so with strength, integrity, and presence. 

Over-apologising will fracture the foundation of your leadership and leave you looking insincere when an apology is warranted.

Remember, being a thought leader in your industry doesn’t mean being perfect. It means leading others with integrity, respect, gratitude, and influence. 

People aren’t looking for perfection in their leaders; they’re looking for integrity! 

5. It becomes part of your personal brand and leadership DNA

You don’t have to say the words “I’m sorry’ to be apologising. Because, the thing about over-apologising is it becomes a habit, manifesting into your leadership style and affecting the entire tone of your personal brand and leadership voice.

Continually apologising for every little thing can morph into you adopting an annoyingly negative perspective and self-deprecating tone on just about everything – risking your apologetic nature being part of your personal brand and leadership DNA.

Why? The explanation is surprisingly simple.

As a personal brand coach for women, I touch and teach many successful female leaders every day. One thing they can struggle with is the self-belief to clearly articulate their full value and potential to the world. 

Often starting their sentences with phrases such as:

“My first draft is not very good, but…”

“I think I should have taken a different approach, but…”

Does this sound like you? If so, then stop now!

By starting your narrative with a passive voice, you are, in a sense, apologising for your work or performance even before you have presented it. You are setting expectations for others to believe that what’s to follow is substandard or not your best work.

I learned this firsthand early in my career as a model. I was never the tallest, most beautiful, or slimmest girl in the room, and I knew it. When it came to castings for prospective clients, I initially felt like I needed to apologise for it before I handed them my professional portfolio.

I’d start with something like, “My images are old, but I’m getting new ones soon”, immediately giving the client the impression that I was not the best person for the job! 

In turn, my words affected my energy and presence, and if I wasn’t the smallest person in the room when I walked in, I sure felt like it now! 

Being recognised as a strong leader means kicking ‘but’ and reprogramming the way you communicate.  

Training yourself to communicate with a more positive mindset will have a powerful impact on your presence, energy levels, and performance. 

Being in a position of authority and leadership means people look to you for that – we’re relied on to empower, motivate, and of course… lead!

Your ability to influence is one of the key criteria to elevating your personal brand and leadership status to the next level. 

In order to influence others you must be able to connect with them, make a positive impact and inspire them to act.

If people trust and believe you understand what you are doing and can lead them with confidence – you have more power to influence them positively, and more than that, inspire greater confidence in them too!

Beautiful ladies asking for sorry

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6. It undermines your own self-worth

Just as your apologetic words can affect other people’s perception of you and undermine your worth – think about how it makes YOU feel!

You are your thoughts – and being submissive can be addictive! It affects your energy and presence – and your potential to attract greater opportunity to you. 

Your energy is a powerful tool for attraction and is the engine of your personal brand presence!  We all recognise that woman who glides effortlessly into a room and commands attention without saying a word.

Creating a powerful personal brand, presence, and leadership style is all about how you feel on the inside, then learning to project this confidently, authentically, and without apology on the outside!

Make the first move today to become a more empowered female leader.

Because when you choose your words with greater purpose, you will give them higher power and value.  You will own the room, feel empowered, and unstoppable, and people will sit up and pay attention!

7. It allows people to question your influence

You risk diminishing your influence and impact on others – and may appear ‘not ready’ to be the leader of choice when your name comes up for a promotion. Or worse – your name isn’t even a contender!

Being in a position of authority and leadership means people look to you for that – we’re relied on to empower, motivate, and of course… lead!

Your ability to influence is one of the key criteria to elevating your personal brand and leadership status to the next level. 

In order to influence others you must be able to connect with them, make a positive impact and inspire them to act.

If people trust and believe you understand what you are doing and can lead them with confidence – you have more power to influence them positively, and more than that, inspire greater confidence in them too!

confident successful woman in busness


Of course, you own your mistakes (and this is a strength!) but you do not need to over-apologise for small things that you perceive as wrong – but really aren’t!

We feel we need to apologise when we disagree

“Sorry, but I disagree…”

Disagreements are normal – and they’re inevitable, especially in the workplace.

They don’t have to lead to conflict when managed with courtesy and mutual respect – so leave your ego out of it, don’t place blame, and don’t let it get personal.

Think about it: why are you saying sorry for having your own opinion?

There’s no reason why anyone should feel the need to apologise for disagreeing or sharing an opinion that differs from someone else’s.

In fact, a difference of opinion can open up valuable conversation and communication channels, helping you see another’s perspective while still maintaining your values. 

So, drop ‘sorry’ and simply announce “I disagree.” 

We apologise when we change our mind

A change of mind can show growth, learning, and adaptability – qualities you don’t have to apologise for!

A change of opinion is not something that has to be perceived as a weakness, lack of experience, competence or expertise.

Instead – share your knowledge, insights, and ideas. Explain the conversations you’ve taken part in or the research you’ve uncovered, to show how you can listen, learn, and accept other perspectives or innovations to shift, change and disrupt your thinking and yes, change your mind! 

Changing an opinion doesn’t indicate herd mentality; it can show tremendous growth and accountability as a leader in your field and leave you more highly respected and appreciated.

So, what can you do to cure your “Sorry Syndrome”?

We don’t need to be sorry to be  strong, confident and intelligent women in leadership

The good news is that there are deliberate strategies you can practice to crush your ‘sorry habits’ and shift your mindset to thrive as a more confident and empowered female leader!

My Free ‘Success Guide + Habit Tracker gives you solutions to change your leadership style, command more respect, grow your authority, and build a brilliant brand that will get you noticed in all the right ways, by all the right people!

I have used these strategies to help hundreds of my female coaching clients raise the roof on their careers!  You can too!

This is your time to be unapologetically YOU!

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Download your “Success Guide + Habit Tracker”


Download your Success Guide + Habit Tracker” here>> to discover the simple strategies you can start implementing immediately to stop apologising and elevate your personal brand and leadership status today! 

Grow your brand and leadership value, authority, and confidence.

In this exclusive Woman Of Confidence Members Success Guide, you’ll get my top secrets and proven strategies to: 

  • Remind you of who you are and the value you bring to the world!
  • Prompt you to recognise your strengths and know when you must draw on them
  • Track your ‘sorry habits’ to recognise when you are apologising and what to do instead! 
  • Unlock a powerful leadership language to craft your voice, change your tone, and lead with greater confidence and presence. 

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To your success,

Suzie Lightfoot Signature