Courage for career women blog

with Vanessa May

How to stop apologising and own your authority

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Live Courageously is a book for women who conform to people pleasing, procrastinating, burning out, self-doubt and imposter syndrome but know they’re built for more. 

The book draws on my own experience and those of women I’ve coached. Women like me who have surrendered to playing small, holding back, keeping quiet, fearful of claiming what they truly want or believe is possible for themselves. 

Apology is a way of staying safe under the radar. It is a way of hiding in plain sight. It is the refusal to take up space for yourself, the decision to settle, to prioritise others’ needs and avoid conflict by appeasing. It’s a survival skill. It’s a way of holding your breath through life instead of releasing, letting go and playing full out. 

“Living a fulfilled life is a radical act, most people don’t do it.”  

This was said to me over 15 years ago at the very start of my coaching and leadership journey. It means that as a human you know what brings you alive and you choose to ruthlessly prioritise these values. You don’t succumb to other people’s values.  You don’t bend yourself out of shape and then apologise that you lose yourself to frustration. You don’t wait for permission or apologise before you articulate yourself.  You step in and take responsibility for your impact (both intended and unintended).

As Seth Godin said in his book Tribes, you don’t sleepwalk through your life, too afraid to question whether your compliance is doing you (or others) any good. Instead, you have a passion for what you do and drive to make it happen. 

My personal journey of moving out of apology involved some significant mindset and attitude shifts:

  • I CAN choose how and where to take up space in work and life, and how much.
  • I can choose to create in my life and move towards what I want as opposed to reacting to what I don’t want.
  • I AM worthy of being comforted and supported.
  • My inner authority should always win over my inner apology.

And it involved some significant changes in what I focused on:

  • Observing what I track evidence for. If I look for evidence that I am not enough I will find it. If I look for evidence of where I’m brilliant, I will find that too.
  • Advocating for myself required knowing what I felt and needed in each situation.  This required me to create more space in my work and life to get clear. That in turn involved establishing clear boundaries and being prepared to stick with these despite others’ protests.
I went back to my core values and re-evaluated them.

I tied them together with “beauty.” I hope that you see this in my words, design, and actions. 

I concluded that I didn’t need much “stuff,” but I did need to be surrounded by beauty. I leaned into colours that lifted me, fragrances that stirred my soul, textures that felt soft and music and images that moved me. That’s what my company, book and community are based upon. The value of beauty and living and working lovingly. Because life is short and we deserve to honour who we truly are and do work that matters deeply to us.

So if you’d like to make the move from survivability and apology towards aliveness, authenticity and authority, I have 10 pre-release copies of my book that I’d love to send out to you, with love.

And, if it touches you, I request that you write me an Amazon review, with a photo of the book to show Amazon that your review is genuine.

If this is something you’d like to do, shoot me an email with the title, Live Courageously, along with your address and I will rush down to the post office and send you your complimentary copy.