No Apology

Stand up straight and look the world in the eye.

That is what my father has said to me every since I was a little girl. Walking into a restaurant...you got it. Playing first base...you got it. Getting bullied at school...you got it. Graduating with my PhD...you got it.

But these days, this is the type of advice that is hard to come by. I see people that are afraid to stand up straight. Choosing to make a statement that they can stand behind, not a side comment they think no one will hear.

These thoughts have been swirling in my head lately and then this morning my boys (7 and 8 years old) and I were watching a few minutes of TV before I took them to summer camp. And this picture was shown on the screen:

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They knew who they were because we follow basketball. And they were excited to see them speak. But I didn't hear a word they said...

They were standing like they were apologizing for their words, their statements. When you stand and put your hands in front of you like they are, it weakens how others perceive you. It takes away from the powerful message you want to share with others. And their message was a powerful one that deserved to be heard.

Now, I'm not saying that you need to yell at or frighten people - just don't let them dismiss you. Don't apologize for saying something others may not agree with. And even if it's something many people will agree with, you will say it with greater strength if you have your arms at your side.

Sure, it may feel weird at first, to not close your arms or fold your hands in front of you. You see people do it all the time on TV. But...do you trust them? Do you believe what they are saying or in the back of your mind, sometimes, do you question their authenticity?

When you speak in front of others, you will feel vulnerable leaving your arms at your side. But guess what? They love that! You are being open with them and even if they don't put those exact words together, they will feel it.

So, I ask you, the next time you are in a business meeting, attending a conference or networking event, will you stand up straight and look the world in the eye? Or will you apologize for your:

  • Presence
  • Strength
  • Contribution

I say...

No apology.

Stand up straight and look the world in the eye.