She said exactly what I thought she would say. Having arrived at our 8:45am meeting about 9:12am, she was clearly late. Having called the office, her staff had let me know she was running late. When she arrived, the first words she says? "I'm sorry!" I knew she would. Canadians are world famous for our insistence in saying sorry - and saying it often. As the joke goes, if you want to find a Canadian in the crowd, start stepping on toes. Its the Canadian that will say sorry!

While it seems to be socially acceptable and supposedly gets the job done, let me share a few points for you to consider before you say sorry:

1. It is devoid of energy. Even if you say it with an upbeat tone, it really doesn't sound real. True apologies build relationships, trust and are filled with loving energy.*

2. It assumes you've done something wrong. In the example above, was she wrong? Here's what I believe: people make the best decision they can in the moment. Now, I know the reason she was late is because of her kids so I applaud her lateness. She had her values in line with mine. Kids are a higher value than an appointment at the office. So no wrong doing.

3. It is said a lot, so the weight and meaning is almost pointless. While I'm writing this, the barista behind the counter at Starbucks was explaining something to a customer and because he wasn't understanding, said "Sorry, I just don't know how else to explain it." Its becoming a filler word.

I have an alternative for you: say thank you!

My appointment this morning could have walked in and said, "Thank you for waiting. My office is this way," as I was getting up from the waiting room chair.

The barista could have simple stated, "I'm not sure how else to explain it. Thank you for your patience while I ask the Manager."

Do some field testing with this. When you're aware you've said sorry, go back later and see how you could have said thank you instead. Experiment and enjoy having more clear communication in your life!


*Stay tuned for how to give a true apology.

Coach Mimi

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