Why My Brand Is Ditching The Phrase "I'm Sorry"

My New Persona Is Ditching The Phrase "I'm Sorry"

Done with excessive apologies.

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It was over lunch at Mr. Noodle, Westwood's premier spot for Thai food, that I was reintroduced to the concept of establishing my brand. Over and over again in my first few weeks at UCLA the term was repeated, and it became clear to me that college was not just the place for my academic growth, but for the growth of the professional personality I intend to adopt upon graduating- my brand.

Columbia University Psychologist Dr. Beth Fisher-Yoshida states that the brand someone establishes for themselves defines their perceived effectiveness in the workplace. In particular, she says that we as people (this includes my future employers and colleagues) are attracted most to a brand personality that we think can accomplish the most for us or we think we can work with to accomplish the most together. She says that there are five traits that define supreme effectiveness in someone's personal brand: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. How one portrays those traits means everything.

This got me thinking- how do I display the five traits above in my daily interactions? What are the habits I can preserve or kiss goodbye to ensure my brand is as best as it can be when I graduate?

And then it hit me- I'm an excessive apologizer.

I falter while asking a question in a discussion? "I'm sorry."

I give an incorrect answer after a teacher asks a question in an otherwise silent lecture? "I'm sorry."

When someone bumps into me in a crowded lecture hall? "I'm sorry."

I know, the last one sounds especially ridiculous.

How can I portray the five traits above if I'm constantly minimizing my presence and belittling my conviction with two dreaded words? The answer is, I can't.

My excessive apologies are one trait I've decided to kick to the curb when it comes to building my brand for the next four years. I want to be known as a smart, strong, capable, and confident woman -- I can't be that so long as I'm apologizing for every move I make or breath I take.

The words "I'm sorry" are the chains with which I've stifled my confidence for years, and finally, I say no more. It's bigger than just establishing my brand -- the words "I'm sorry" have been wrongfully ingrained into the vernacular of women since the dawn of time. A study done by the Association for Psychological Science stated that the issue is not that women simply apologize more, but that they perceive more of their actions as offensive than men do which yields more frequent apologies.

The task at hand for me then is not just re-establishing my brand, but re-establishing the way I've been taught to think. Expanding the space I occupy as a woman with both my voice and my gestures is not an offense -- it's a display of empowerment. And for the female professional I aspire to be and for the brand I aspire to have, empowerment is a must.

It seems I've learned this lesson later than many of the incredible women I've met so far at UCLA. The same mentor who mentioned establishing my brand to me at Mr. Noodle said that I should also find women whose traits I admire and adopt them, and it appears that they've long modified themselves to only apologize when needed. They reject the status quo of limiting their influence as women, and it's their brand that I aspire to create for myself -- a brand of independence, confidence, and empowerment.

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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.
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“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.

“Why?"

"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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Let's Talk More About Lori Laughlin Facing Up To 20 Years In Prison When Brock Turner Got 6 Months

And he was released three months early for 'good behavior'... after sexually assaulting an unconscious girl behind a dumpster.

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To start, Lori Laughlin messed up royally, and I don't condone her actions.

If you live under a rock and are unaware of what happened to the "Full House" star, here's the tea:

Lori Laughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli — and like 50 other celebrity parents — were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, and paid a $1 million bail on conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and honest services fraud. You don't need to know what these mean except that she paid $500,000 to get her two daughters, Bella and Olivia Jade Giannulli.

I know you're wondering why they did it — tbh I am too — however, these parents paid the University of Southern California to give admission to her daughters in through the rowing team on campus, despite neither one of them actually playing the sport ever in their life.

Yeah, Aunt Becky messed up and should face punishment, but why is she facing up 20 years when men like Brock Turner are sentenced only six months for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at Stanford?

I hate to bring up the gender card, but I'm pulling it: Why is Lori Laughlin — a woman who with bad judgement who used money to give an upper-hand to her entitled daughters — face more prison time than a man who willingly raped a woman who wasn't in a right state of mine (or any at all!) behind a dumpster of all places.

The answer? Because the system is a mess.

Yeah, Aunt Becky paid for her daughters to get into a school, giving disadvantages to students actually deserving and wanting to attend a college. Her act was immoral, and ultimately selfish, but it doesn't even compare to what Brock Turner did, and it doesn't even effect others as much his rape survivor.

The most that will happen to the Giannulli girls is an expulsion and a temporary poor reputation, however, Emily Doe (the alias of the survivor) will feel the consequences of the attack forever.

There should have been a switch:

Lori Laughlin and the Target guy should have had to pay other students tuition/student debt while facing prison time, while Brock Turner should have had to face over 20 years with more consequences.

But, that'll never happen because our system sucks and society is rigged. I guess our society would prefer a rapist walking around more so a woman who made a poor choice by paying for her daughters to go to a college.

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