“Never apologize and never explain – it’s a sign of weakness.” – John Wayne
This year, I set some goals for myself. One goal is to master the omelet. I loved scrambled eggs with lots of veggies and cheese, and I figured I could work on my presentation.
My first attempt was – let’s call it an unappetizing cooked mess of ingredients. It looked like an eggsplosion (pun intended – go ahead and groan). As I set the plates down, I said, “well, it’s sort of a mess – hopefully it still tastes good.”
Shaun looked at me and said, “stop doing that.” Confused, I asked him what he meant. “You’re apologizing for the food before we eat it” he clarified. “I’m sure it will be great. Stop apologizing.”
He’s right. Instead of looking at it as I’ve started to work on a goal, I downplay my efforts because they’re not where I want them to be. I apologize for the imperfections.
Then, last week at my dance class, I performed a piece using a prop. While I had thought about the routine for weeks, I didn’t practice anything – in fact, I bought my prop on the way to class. When I arrived, I saw my classmates in full costume, hair and makeup. I was in my workout clothes. Needless to say, I felt incredibly unprepared. So, I started apologizing.
“Did anyone else wing it?” I asked. “I bought my prop on the way here. Y’all look so great. I’m so unprepared.” And so on. After we finished our performances, one of my classmates came up and said, “I don’t know why you apologize beforehand – you did great. You need to stop doing that.”
I’m starting to see a pattern here.
I have a habit of apologizing for not achieving perfection. While I know that I’m not perfect – I’m human after all – I still feel the need to put forth perfect results. Why? I don’t think anyone else, at least anyone whose opinion I care about, expects it of me. So, why do I expect perfection from myself?
So, my new goal is to try new things, keep trying, accept that they will not be perfect and realize that’s OK. No need to apologize.
Do you suffer from “perfect apologitis”? Let me know by commenting below. We can hold each other accountable.