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I've Apologized for Being Successful for the Last Time

June 13, 2019


We often speak about empowering other women, but how often do we overlook empowering ourselves?


Does the way you speak empower you or not? Are you giving life to the power you hold or capping it to avoid making others feel small?


I don’t want to come off arrogant, but professionally, I do want to portray myself confidently at the risk of others being uncomfortable.


That said, I’ve apologized for being successful for the last time.


At the risk of sounding overly confident, I’m good at what I do.


I can show you numbers, facts and qualify that statement in many ways including promotions. But here’s the thing: I don’t have to.


My success can be measured in all those ways, but I don’t need you to tell me I’m successful. I know it, but it can still be a challenge to completely own it.


Are you successful at owning your brand? Are you successful at being you?


Or does the idea of someone else being uncomfortable with your achievements leave you holding back?


If someone’s jealous, demeaning or critical of your work, it could be more of a reflection on them than on you. Constructive criticism is one thing, but downright demeaning talk is unacceptable and might mean you’ve just struck a nerve and challenged a colleague to improve themself for fear they’re being left behind and surpassed.


Illustrator Dani Donovan recently posted an incredibly helpful chart on how to email like a boss. Simple, yet profound.


Small changes - such as eliminating qualifiers like “just” and “possibly” - can help you own your voice and speak your power into existence.


“You are allowed to take up space. Your voice deserves to be heard,” Donovan said. “You don’t need to apologize for existing or asking for what you need.”


You don’t have to be peppy in emails and use exclamation marks (!!!) to come off friendly and avoid the bossy stigma of a woman in power. For a more detailed post on how to email while still maintaining your authority, check out Kristina’s post on email language.


Be the boss. Let others form their opinions as they may.


As challenging as it can be to move past criticizing remarks, sometimes accepting compliments can be just as tough.


As females, at times it can be hard to accept compliments on our work without feeling the need to deflect and include others in our successes. Whether that feeling comes from your own personality or predisposed ideas that doing so will somehow stigmatize you as ungrateful, there are ways to feel valued and accept credit without devaluing your associates.


As a female who has two male assistants, I struggle with owning my space. I handle the majority of our social, video and graphic content, which happen to be some of the most visible sections of our department.


My assistants are fantastic guys who would do anything for me and are killer in the respective parts of the job. I’m incredibly thankful for them, but just because they’re awesome doesn’t mean I’m not.


When I receive compliments from coaches on our work, MY work (it really is a hard battle to overcome), I often come back with, “You make our jobs easy!” or something along those lines, implying their ability as a coach impacts my ability to do my job.


It doesn’t.


I’m good at my job whether the team wins or loses. I might get to show off more when we win, but it doesn’t make me any better or worse in my role.


My success is not dependent on anyone else’s and neither is yours.


I love what I do, and I refuse to apologize for it.


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