Hungry for a more senior role? Eager to sink your teeth into a new challenge? Whether there are promotion opportunities on your radar or not, your habits can put the odds of getting promoted on your side — or stop your career development in its tracks.
And if you think hard work and experience alone are enough, think again. “Hard work and experience are great things to possess but it’s not the only thing that’s going to get you where you want to go,” says Joyel Crawford, CEO of Crawford Leadership Strategies and host of Career View Mirror, a career development show. “It’s up to you to put the career address into the GPS and press go.”
Wondering what kind of habits to keep in mind in order to avoid a career crash? It’s all about being visible and putting yourself in front of the right people — even in the age of remote work. And you’ll also wanna focus on cultivating a solutions-oriented, resourceful mindset.
“Having an intrapreneurial mindset can really help catapult you into visibility projects that will drive results for the business and for your professional goals as well. What solutions can you bring to the table? How can you help the organization save, make or donate more revenue?” says Crawford.
Beyond cultivating your network and adopting the right mindset, there are also actions and approaches you should absolutely avoid if you want to get a promotion anytime soon. Start by unlearning the six habits below.
1. Passive decision-making
“You have to take an active part in navigating your career,” says Crawford, who recommends building a network of professionals who can not only act as a support system but also serve as possible mentors or sponsors that help you drive your career.
And if you’re interested in a particular role or career direction, shadowing or informally interviewing someone who holds a similar position is a great move.
“This type of background research is key — you may find that the position you want isn’t at all what you saw from the outside looking in. Shadowing and informational interviews will also give you some visibility. And don’t let working remotely get in your way, you can still do this via a web-based meeting platform.”
2. Being a sore loser
Being resentful at work is a surefire way to erode your reputation. Let’s say you just got passed up for a promotion. It’s normal to feel disappointed, but it’s really important to process your disappointment in a healthy way and avoid letting it show. “If you don’t get the role the first time, how you show up afterward counts even more,” says Crawford.
So resist the temptation to lose steam or disengage. Do lick your wounds if you need to, but then focus on using the missed opportunity as motivation to improve and find an even better opportunity for you.
3. Not knowing your why
Do you know why you even want a promotion to begin with? And are you making it all about yourself? When thinking about your next step, Crawford says it’s important to keep in mind the why behind the what — not only in terms of what you value but also what your organization values.
Aligning your own interests and desires with the needs and goals of the company will help you get clarity on what to bring to the table. Better yet, the alignment will naturally encourage you to tap into your passion. “That passion will come through in your interview and your day-to-day dealings with others.”
4. Lack of consistency
Getting promoted is not the finish line. It’s only the first step. “Every day is an interview even after you nailed that next step up the career ladder or across the career lattice. Everyone matters, from the assistant to the executive. Treat everyone with kindness, dignity and respect. Get to know all of the names of the people you interact with. No one is beneath you,” says Crawford.
The good news is that if you focus on cultivating the right habits, you’ll be equipped with lifelong best practices regardless of your role or industry.
5. Neglecting relationships
Life sometimes gets in the way. But neglecting to nurture your professional relationships might be costing you your chances of getting a promotion. From thanking people who’ve helped you to keep in touch with former coworkers and bosses, small gestures go a long way when it comes to keeping career bridges intact.
Crawford recommends reaching out to mentors on a quarterly basis, getting into the habit of sending thank-you notes and booking one-on-one meetings with key stakeholders: “I’ve also found that having a one-on-one with your new clients or a new manager that you’re supporting is paramount.”
Why? To discuss expectations and deliver on them, which will get you that much closer to a promotion. “This really helps set the tone of collaboration and support. It used to blow people’s minds when I came into their office and asked them how they wanted to be supported,” says Crawford.
6. Having zero boundaries
Even if you love working, burnout won’t get you where you want to go. “Take care of yourself and create boundaries. Putting in 20+ hours a day thinking that will help you get the promotion faster is only burning you out and making you less productive,” says Crawford.
“You need to take care of yourself. There’s only one you — and we need you to keep bringing your best light and talents to the world. You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Manage your energy in a sustainable way so you can keep crushing it once you get the job.
Recently, I participated in a master class on managing our emotions. Ultimately, what it became was a class on building healthy habits.
Each of us went through the process of identifying our goals for healthy habits as it came to our emotions. We imagined a version of ourselves that we aspired to. In my case, I imagined being a more curious coach as self, parent, and leader. To have deeper and more meaningful relationships, inside and out.
As part of the course, I spent a lot of time thinking about what stood between where I am and the version of me that I aspired to. Ultimately, it came down to the default patterns. Reactive conditioning, instead of purposeful intention.
To move towards purposeful intention, we must interrupt our autopilot. Each of us may respond to different techniques for helping us build new habits. One that was suggested was a mnemonic or acronym to outline steps we can remember.
I am a huge fan of acronyms. Done right, they can be easy to remember.
In this case, I wanted to identify steps that would allow me to better engage with myself and others. As someone who wants to help, and am often approached when help is needed, I tend to go into problem solving mode very quickly.
Recently, I’ve realized that love was often modeled in my home via “acts of service.” Frequently, those acts were teachable moments. It was seen as loving to help someone – even if they didn’t ask for it.
The reality is that most people don’t really need us to solve for them, or turn everything into a teachable moment. They may need us to listen to an idea they already have. They may want some additional context to make their own decisions. There is rarely a single response to the multitude of needs a given person or team may have.
What steps would help interrupt the problem solving auto response, and provide an opportunity to better understand how someone needs us to engaged?
Be a BuILDeR of relationships
There are five steps to interrupting our automatic response and choosing from the myriad of possible engagement options.
B – Breathe
When attempting to interrupt an automatic response, taking a deep breath can be a great first step. If we are tempted to jump right in, just pause and breathe. It gives a moment to hesitate and engage the pre-frontal cortex. We are then more likely to remember and follow the remaining steps.
I – Inquire with curiosity
Have you ever started problem solving with someone or telling them something you thought was relevant, only to hear “I know.” We may assume we know why someone is engaging us, but we won’t know for sure unless we ask. Ask questions with a sense of curiosity and really wanting to understand their situation and need.
L – Listen to understand
Our brains are fascinating, but can sometimes be frustrating. We are constantly filling in gaps, creating meaning, and seeing patterns. While this can be helpful, it means we may start solving and preparing to answer while someone else is talking. We listen to respond, rather than to understand another’s perspective. Instead of replying, maybe go back to inquire to ask a follow-up question to gain a better understanding.
D – Discern my role
In every conversation, we likely have thoughts and ideas regarding what’s being discussed. Suggestions or relevant anecdotes we think could help. One, some or NONE of them may be relevant, depending on our role. Going back to the inquiry, why is this person here and engaging with us? If we aren’t sure, we can always ask what role they’d like us to play. Ultimately, if we want to improve engagement, we should remember to stay in our lane.
R – Reply or write
But but but! What about those stories? What about the great advice we had queued up?
Just because we have thoughts and ideas does not mean we have to express them. We can consciously and deliberately choose our response, including no response. In my case, I might have an idea with a lot of energy behind it that feels like it needs to get out. So I write.
I take notes during conversations, which helps slow down my thinking, allows me to get thoughts out of my head (instead of my mouth), and selectively choose what – if anything – I share in a reply. In some cases, I will have loads of notes. If this person is not yet ready to solve, I have them for a potential follow up conversation when they are.
From habit to practice
With deliberate steps and a handy acronym to remember, it’s time to practice. New habits take repetition and intention, and rarely come easy. If they were easy, we would have done them already.
To help facilitate a change, it may be worth sharing our intentions with those around us. In my case, I tend to let my direct reports know when I’m trying something new in our interactions. I’ll share the insight I’ve gained and what I will be attempting in my new habit.
The reason for this is two-fold. The first is for support, accountability, and feedback during habit-building. If a few people know about a new habit, it helps maintain commitment to change. Later, they can be approached to see how it’s been going. In some cases, they may be enlisted to help identify triggers or signal when they see a behavior.
The other reason is we can create confusion when we change habits. If our habits include engagement with others, changes may generate upset or frustration. Given the move to remote work and social distancing, suddenly engaging differently may result in assumptions that something is wrong with us or the relationship.
With support and feedback methods in place, we can go into our first interaction, committed to being a BuILDeR of relationships.
* * *
Breathe, Inquire, Listen, Discern, and Reply/Write can certainly help create more engagement and deeper relationships with others. However, each of us have our own struggles and best methods to interrupt our automatic response to change behaviors.
But instead of adding items to your morning in hopes of starting your day more productively, consider eliminating a few things from your routine. Consider it addition by subtraction.
What should go on your not to do list for first thing in the morning?
1. Don’t plan out your day.
Instead, make a to-do list the night before. That accomplishes a number of things.
One, you’ll sleep better. As David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, says, “Your head is for having ideas, not holding ideas, and it’s certainly not for filing things away. Without exception, you will feel better if you get stuff out of your head.” Deciding what you’ll do tomorrow — especially deciding what you’ll do first — instantly relieves a little stress and anxiety.
And ensures you don’t waste time deciding what to tackle first. Or mistaking the seemingly urgent for the truly important. Or wasting time gathering up whatever you need to actually work on what you want to tackle first.
Before you end your workday, list what you need to get done tomorrow. Then determine the single most important thing you need to get done tomorrow.
Then, before you step away, set up your workspace (which, if like mine, is simply your computer’s desktop) so you can hit the ground running first thing in the morning. Have the reports you need open. Have the notes you need handy. Make sure you have answers to your questions.
Starting your day with a productive bang creates natural momentum — and provides the motivation you need to move on to whatever is next on your to-do list.
As Gladwell says, “There are so many other things I would rather do with my time than agonize endlessly about those kinds of trivial decisions.”
Plus, we all have a finite store of mental energy for exercising self-control. Some of us have less, some have more, but eventually we all run out of willpower steam.
That’s why the more choices you need to make during the day, the harder each one is on your brain — and the more you start to look for shortcuts. That’s when you get impulsive. That’s when you make decisions you know you shouldn’t make.
The fewer decisions you have to make, the better the decisions you will make when you do have to make a decision.
Maybe you’ll start having the same thing for breakfast. Or always working out before you start work. (More on that in a moment.) Or scanning the same key metrics.
Or, as President Obama once told Vanity Fair, “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
Automate as many decisions you have to make in the morning as possible, especially when they don’t improve your efficiency and effectiveness.
Which means exercising first thing lets you take full advantage of the “happier” 12 hours that science says follow.
4. Don’t forget to include protein in your first meal.
In The 4-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss recommends consuming 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. At least one nutrition professor recommends consuming at least 30 grams of protein for breakfast.
Why? Protein tends to keep blood-sugar levels steadier. Protein tends to help prevent hunger spikes. Most important, research shows dopamine regulates motivation, helping you to “initiate and persevere.”
Which is exactly what you need to do first thing in the morning: get started and keep going.
Granted, knocking out 30 grams of protein might sound daunting, so try a protein bar or protein shake. That’s what I do: My first meal is always a protein bar and a glass of water.
Decision already made, protein consumed. Win-win.
5. Don’t forget to take the right breaks.
Generally speaking, we can only focus on any given task for 90 to 120 minutes. After that, we need a 15- to 20-minute break so we can recharge and be ready to perform at a high level on the next task.
So do this: Split your day into 90-minute windows. Instead of thinking an 6-, 8-, or 10-hour workday, split your day into four or five 90-minute windows. That way, you will have, say, four or five tasks — or chunks of tasks — you will get done a lot more efficiently.
Just make sure you take the right kind of break. Sitting and chilling is fine, but taking a break to knock out a few relatively mindless tasks could be just as useful (and leave you feeling a little more productive).
Think of it this way: Momentum is everything. Breaks should reinforce your sense of activity and accomplishment. So take a quick walk. Grab a drink or a snack.
Or, if you feel the urge to stay Type A, pick a few productive tasks you like to perform — and gain a sense of accomplishment from — and use those for your “breaks.”
6. Don’t stick blindly to the same morning routine.
Maybe you’ll need to wake up a little earlier to take advantage of “quiet time” to complete your first task. Maybe you’ll need to wake up a little later so you’ll feel more rested.
Maybe you’ll need to exercise later in the day after all, or adjust what you eat, or change a few of your other “automatic” decisions.
To be more productive, you can’t do what you’ve always done.
Nor should you slavishly stick to the new routine you create. Every once in a while, take a few minutes to evaluate what’s working and what’s not. And adjust as necessary.
Because the key is to do what makes you most successful.
Whether you’re a natural early bird or a night owl who could happily hit snooze until lunchtime, a good morning routine can improve productivity, prevent burnout and help manage the mental load of your daily to-do list.
Read on for nine morning rituals to boost your wellbeing and performance.
1. Wake early
Successful people often rise early to get a head start on the day before any disruptions arise.
If early starts are difficult for you, start by waking 15-30 minutes earlier each day until it starts to feel natural.
It’s normal to feel groggy for the first few days or weeks, however waking up at the same time each day trains your circadian rhythm, which will eventually make it much easier to get up in the mornings and achieve deeper, more restful sleep at night.
Hydration is essential for efficient waste product elimination, metabolic function, gut and skin health. It’s also good for better cognitive function, as the brain is comprised of about 75 per cent water.
Much of our internal fluids are used overnight for these important functions, and as you aren’t drinking while asleep, your body is quite dehydrated upon waking. Drinking a glass or two of water each morning will help you feel awake and ready for the day.
Physical activity can improve concentration, mood, and energy levels, however finding time to be active isn’t easy.
Working out first thing in the morning is a great way to start your day, and eliminates the need to find time for exercise later on, when you’re more likely to be derailed by a long work day or spontaneous social plans.
Setting your alarm to wake 30 minutes earlier to squeeze in a walk to your local coffee shop, an at-home yoga class, or a training session at the gym before work can do wonders for your immediate and long-term wellbeing.
Meditation has many positive impacts on mental health, burnout, and stress management. Particularly for those working in high-pressure environments or who experience anxiety, meditation can be a great way to destress and instill a sense of calm.
There’s no bad time to meditate, however meditating in the morning can set the tone of your day and empower you to respond to challenges with composure and mindfulness.
Don’t worry if you’re short on time, as you only need to practice meditation for 10 minutes a day to reap the benefits
5. Eat a nutritious breakfast
Breaking your fast with a wholesome meal is a great way to start the day, as it replenishes the glucose stores in the body and the brain, which is essential in order to function properly.
A nutritious breakfast can support better weight management by fueling your body before you get too ravenous, decreasing the chances of succumbing to less healthy convenience options later on.
Breakfast is also a great opportunity to get in some sources of essential micronutrients which support brainpower, energy and mood, as well as prevent fatigue and boost your immune system.
6. Read a book or listen to a podcast
Morning people often describe the early hours as a sacred opportunity for ‘me time’, before anyone else is awake and all the demands of daily life start to pull focus.
Gratitude has been shown to improve mental and physical wellbeing, lead to better relationships, greater job satisfaction and deeper, more restful sleep.
Incorporating gratitude into your daily routine by linking it to something you already do each morning, such as reciting a gratitude mantra during your yoga practice or morning shower, will help form the habit more quickly, meaning you can enjoy the benefits of gratitude sooner.
8. Plan your day
It’s often tempting to dive straight into responding to emails first thing in the morning, however taking time to plan your day can improve time and workload management, preventing unnecessary stress caused by short deadlines or last-minute surprises.
Creating a to-do list ensures you can accomplish the highest priority tasks for that day, empowering you to feel more in control, less stressed and more productive.
9. Make it achievable
Make your new morning habits sustainable and less overwhelming by trying one or two of these rituals at a time to see what works best for you.
Putting pressure on yourself to overhaul every aspect of your morning routine at once is more likely to add stress rather than supporting your wellbeing and productivity.
We all have different demands on our time and energy, which may make some of these actions unfeasible.
Be kind to yourself, and adopt a realistic approach to get you on your way to having more rejuvenating and productive mornings.
When you muster up the courage to apologize to someone that you harmed, it says a lot of great things about your character. When you tell your apology the right way, it makes a much more impactful difference. An essential quality in any apology is the sincerity and delivery of the message. What you have to say is necessary, but the manner and method in which you say it carries more weight.
In this article, we examine the 15 most important aspects to take into consideration when apologizing to a friend, loved one, or anybody who you owe the conversation. There are certain mindsets that you have when approaching the conversation, as well as appropriate types of locations and times for it to mean more. It is also vital to have an action plan to follow up with the person after giving the apology.
Understand the Reasons to Apologize
Before you apologize, you must understand why you will have the conversation in the first place. There are usually five reasons why someone may need to give an apology. The first is to open the line of communication between you and the other person of value. Having a common understanding that an apology is needed is the first step toward a healthy dialogue when giving an apology.
Another key reason you would need to apologize is to express your feelings of remorse and regret what you did. By admitting this to the other person, you also acknowledge that you were wrong in this situation. When you become aware of your actions and are upfront about your wrongdoings, you show a sense of humility that will increase the chance of the other person accepting your apology.
When apologizing to someone early in your time knowing them, it may lead to a crucial discussion about what is allowed and not allowed within the scope of the relationship. This type of talk will set boundaries and expectations for future decisions. By knowing what gets expected of each other, you are less likely to experience issues down the road.
Apologizing is also a great way to learn from your mistakes. By breaching a discussion about your wrongdoing intimately with someone, it allows you to articulate how you will be better next time verbally.
Apologize in Person Rather than via Phone or Text
If you want to convey the full value and emotion behind your apology, it is best to have the conversation in person. It is easy for bullies to hide behind a screen when they are saying things online, and you could do the same with an apology. Anybody who apologizes through a text message or email is taking the easy way out. By not apologizing in person, you are shying away from any raw emotions that come with it.
When you meet with someone in person for an apology, it sends a message to them that you want to dedicate enough time to making amend with them. When you schedule the window to meet with them, you should arrange so that you have no commitments right after it. This planning ensures that you will have all the time you need to formally apologize and then discuss more topics and game plan afterward.
When you set up the time to apologize, make it known to the person that you will not be able to communicate effectively unless you can speak with them face-to-face. When you meet up with them, give them your undivided attention and make excellent eye contact while you are making your points. Making the apology in person also allows you to read his or her body language as you communicate your points.
Find a Location and Time for the Apology
Once you have established that you can make the apology in person, the kind of location where you apologize is equally essential. You must make sure the site is private, quiet, and free of distractions. If you go to a noisy place, the other person may not be able to hear from you. If possible, do it in the privacy of your home or theirs, but you should give them the authority to pick the location of the apology.
You also want this to be a unique conversation shared between only you and the person. If you go to a shared space, someone might overhear what you are saying. You may also withhold information or communicate differently with your body language, knowing that there are people around. When you surround yourself with privacy, you can give undivided attention to the other person.
The time of the apology is also an important component. Work hard to fit your schedule around the time that the other person wants. A good idea would be to make the apology over lunch or dinner when the person is not in the middle of the work or stress. An apology during the nighttime would allow you to have a full conversation without having to worry about getting back to your daily obligations.
Imagine Everything from the Other Person’s Perspective
As you should in any conversation, you should seek to understand the other person before getting them to follow you. Before you formally apologize, put yourself in his or her shoes. Ask yourself how you would feel if you were them. Even though you cannot truly feel what they feel, showing empathy will allow you to deliver your apology better if you can get on the same wavelength as the other person.
You should consider all potential impacts of your wrongdoing or mistake. Was the person that you apologize to the only person who was indeed affected? By contemplating all the indirect implications of your error, you can address these components in your discussion so that you can apologize to the best of your ability. If the situation calls for it, you can bring all the impacted parties together for the conversation.
By seeing the events from the other person’s perspective, you can ask more educated questions. Significant inquiries result in a more extended, more meaningful dialogue between you and your friend or loved one. Take time to think hard about what he or she dealt with in the past. Their history, relationships, and other past traumas give you insight into how you can approach your apology effectively.
Manage Your Expectations
Managing your expectations is vital when making an apology. Saying “I’m sorry” does not automatically mean that the other person will accept it right away. It is a good idea to taper your expectations if the apology does not go as planned. Everybody handles trauma and negative situations in different ways. One of the most important things to remember is that the apology is about the other person, not you.
You may have negatively affected someone, and time could be the best healer in your situation. So, the apology will not be the means to the end, but it will be a crucial step in the grand scheme of the whole process. Part of full forgiveness will be letting your follow up actions communicate more than your words do. Outlining an action plan not to make the mistake again will get discussed later.
There is a minimal chance that the accepting of forgiveness might be impossible. Depending on the severity of your actions, the other person may express that they could never forgive you. The best thing to do here is to communicate your sincere apology and continue to show that you mean what you say. Opening this possibility before you make your apology will help you remain mentally stable.
Express Remorse about Your Mistake in Your Apology
Expressing genuine remorse for your mistake will get shown not only through your words but through your body language and facial expressions. Your choice of words and phrases need to be authentic, deliberate, and right to the point. Everybody makes mistakes, say things they do not mean, and acts irrationally. But it is all about how you reflect and show you are genuinely sorry about your error.
When you express regret, be very clear and communicate on why you are having the conversation in the first place. You could be attempting to strengthen communication or be upfront that you regret your actions so much, that you need to schedule this discussion about it so that you can formally apologize. You should be apologizing for the right reasons and not for ulterior motives.
The timing of your apology makes a critical case for your genuine remorse for your actions. The longer you wait after the mistake gets made, the less the message means to the other person. Depending on the nature of the transgression, try your best to make sure the other person learns about the mistake from you rather than someone else. If they find out before you tell them, follow up immediately.
Empathy is an essential aspect of expressing regret in your actions, so make it known to them that you are sincerely sorry for both the direct and indirect impacts of the situation.
Admitting responsibility for your part in the mistake is one of the most critical aspects of a sufficient apology and being upfront and honest about your specific behaviors, actions, and the violations of trust that occurred. Make sure to empathize with the person and understand who your mistake impacted all. Address the potential future impacts in your apology to make it more authentic and real.
Another important aspect is to understand the details as to why your specific action caused their emotions. The other person might be going through a variety of different emotions for different reasons. It is essential to understand all of these, address them, and talk about what you could have done differently. Addressing these facts will make communication more direct and productive.
Throughout the whole conversation, do not assume anything about the other person’s feelings, or how you think your words are coming across. Before you end the discussion, it should get fully understand how each person feels that the meaning behind everything got communicated.
Lastly, avoid shifting the blame onto anything and anyone else. This deflection of blame will take away fro the sincerity of your apology. Take full responsibility for everything you did and own everything.
Make Amends with the Other Person
You can say everything that needs to get told during the apology, but the follow up actions are what matter the most. It is essential to let the other person know that you will make it up to them in some way or another. You should outline a plan or schedule a future event to let them know that you are committed. This next event could be a dinner, a group event in which you include them, or some other value.
Another simple way to make amends is to tell them you will not make a mistake again, and then let your actions do the talking. Once you make your initial apology, revisit the conversation weeks or months down the road to circle back on your promise. It takes a big person to learn from his or her mistakes, and you can make amends by putting this into practice. It takes much longer to earn trust than it does to lose it.
By promising to make amends in the future, you put your reputation on the line. If you do not follow through with your future commitment, many people will question your character and trust. You create a high risk, high reward situation by promising to make amends. One thing you could do to keep yourself accountable is to write this conversation down in your journal so that you stay serious about it.
A refreshing, unique strategy for an apology is to express gratitude in different ways throughout the conversation. It is vital to let the other person know that you appreciate their time and that you are grateful that they gave you a chance to offer an apology. Showing that you are thankful for this opportunity shows that you genuinely care to make amends and try to correct your wrongdoing.
You can also show appreciation for everything that gives you in the relationship. You can thank the other person for sharing good times with you. If you have known the person for a long time, shed light on the memorable times shared. You can then let them know that making it up to them is essential to you because of how much trust you already built. A loyal person should get valued as such.
When showing that you are thankful for your person, make sure your words count. It is not what you say, but how you say it. Eye contact is something that often gets overlooked in regular conversation, so give them undivided attention throughout the entire conversation. People want to feel important and appreciated, and you are sure to give your apology more weight by taking this sincere, grateful approach.
While you might be doing a majority of the talking at first, listening is just as critical during the conversation that follows an apology. No matter what happens, the other person wants to feel understood and valued. You cannot connect with a person and show empathy without actively listen while he or she is talking to you. Do not just listen with your ears but listen with all your body language.
When the other person is talking, look them in the eye and show affirmation that you hear what they are saying — nodding your head a few times when they make an extra important point will show that you get locked in on what they are saying. When it is your turn to talk, reiterate what they just said and expand upon how you will continually work to remedy the situation. Do not interject and respond respectfully.
Another way to show that you are effectively listening is to ask fantastic questions. Focus on posing inquiries that revolve around how the other person feels. The facts are one thing, but it is essential to focus on the emotions of the person and where they stand mentally. When you bring great questions to the table, you prolong the conversation and make it healthier and more meaningful.
Write Down Your Apology
If you want to keep yourself fully accountable throughout the entire apology process, it would be helpful for you to write your thoughts, actions, and plans out. This strategy can get done in a journal, if you already do that, or on a sticky note that you can place in plain sight for yourself. When you put your thoughts on paper, it makes them more real because you think them, then you see them, then you repeat them.
Another reason why you might write down your apology is that you could be concerned about how your words will come off when you apologize. It is entirely reasonable to get nervous going into a conversation such as this one, so you could outline what you will say on paper. This strategy could help you organize your thoughts and help you feel more prepared when you sit down with the other person.
One thing you need to keep in mind here is not to make your apology seem too rehearsed and scripted. While it is good to plan and write words down, you want to make sure that you come off as a sincere friend when you have the conversation. When you are done with the conversation and have followed up steps to take, it is vital to put these down on paper as well to keep yourself committed to the promise.
Do Not Offer Excuses
The act of offering excuses is an easy trap to fall into when giving your apologies. The simple way out would be to try and explain your actions and provide justification as to why you did something. It is normal to try and defend yourself. But again, this conversation is not about you, and it is about the other person. Your priority should be to fully understand how you emotionally affected them, not to defend yourself.
Excuses are dangerous to use because it might make you feel better about yourself to use them, but they will severely weaken your apology. Offering reasoning as to why you did something will discount the meaning of your words in the other person’s eyes. Instead, be upfront that you are taking full ownership of your actions. Do not shift the blame on to other things to reduce responsibility.
A great way to prevent yourself from making excuses is first to explain what you did, then immediately follow it up by expressing that it was the wrong decision. You should be upfront by saying there is no reason for you to make the other person feel the way you did. And while it was not your intention, be cognizant of what you did and incorporate that into the apology.
Be Fair to Yourself When You Make an Apology
Throughout the entire apology process, you need to establish the difference between taking full responsibility and accepting blame for too much. You want to communicate that what you did was wrong and work to make amends, but do not be too hard on yourself while doing so. It is good to focus on earning forgiveness from the other person, but do not forget to forgive yourself as well.
It is also essential to realize that humans are not perfect and make mistakes. While you cannot control what the other person will say after you apologize, you can control how you respond and learn from failure. You will improve yourself and develop, and the repairment of the relationship with the other person will eventually come with it. Give yourself a chance to rebound from your misstep.
When you apologize, let the other person know that you are working to become a better person from the entire experience, not only for them but for your own sake. Be humble throughout the apology, but make sure to stay healthy mentally so you can take care of yourself too.
Do Not Expect Instant Forgiveness
The entire apology does not happen in a single conversation, so you cannot expect the person to accept your statement 100% right away. Depending on the nature of the mistake you made, it could get fixed with one conversation. But everybody’s healing process and timeline is different, and it is essential for you to recognize this fact.
Be forward about this in your apology and let them know that you wanted to have this conversation right away because it is essential to you. Do not put pressure on the other person to accept your apology because that could make everything worse. Be prepared for them to ask for space from you. Spending time apart from the other person could end up being a blessing to let the apology clear the air and sit.
In the days and weeks after the apology, be sure to follow up and see how the person is doing. Do not bombard them with messages or calls but let them know you are there to talk if they still want to. But through the entire experience, respect their space if they ask for it.
Promise That You Won’t Make the Same Mistake Again
When you commit not to make the same mistake again, your loyalty and trust will get put in the spotlight. This step is an important one for you and your relationship with the person because it puts pressure on you to follow up on your promises. It is critical to reassure the other person that you have an action plan to alter your behavior. Be specific when talking about how you will do that going forward.
After you outlined your plan, schedule a time with the other person to have a touchpoint on how well your changed behavior affects the relationship. By putting in the extra effort to follow up on your apology, you will increase your chances of repairing the relationship.
Conclusion: Be Sincere, and Actions Speak Louder Than Words
As you can see, there are many essential things to take into consideration when giving your apology. The most important thing for you to do is be real with them. Do not provide excuses or an explanation for what you did but own it. Take full responsibility, then be forthright about your action plan to make amends and not make the same mistake in the future.
The other person wants to feel important and valued by the time the conversation ends. By actively listening to them and being sincere with your words and body language, you will show them that you are grateful for their time. One of the more important things to remember is that the formal apology is half the battle, and the other half is following through with your actions. You are capable of remedy.