The Art of Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

One of the first social things we learn to do as children is say we’re sorry. We’re taught to do this whether we mean it or not and whether we want to or not. The problem with this practice is that it hides our true relationship to integrity. Which is why if learn to never say you’re sorry, you can actually become a person a greater integrity and compassion.

Why We Say Sorry

We mostly say we’re sorry to fulfill the bare minimum of social nicety and/or to assuage the guilt we feel for breaking our commitments.

  • Miss a sort-of-friend’s birthday party, because you didn’t really want to go? That’s ok I’ll just say, “Oh, I’m so sorry I was really busy,” and all will be forgiven.
  • Your boss doesn’t give you the bonus she promised? That’s okay. She’ll just say, “Oh, we’re really sorry but the budget wouldn’t allow for it.” What are you going to do?
  • Hurt your ‘sensitive’ friend’s feelings again? That’s okay. I’ll just say, “I’m so sorry. I just call it like I see it. I mean, you want me to be honest, right?”

These ways of saying sorry not only don’t do much to make the other person feel better, they actually keep us from feeling empathy for others and take responsible for how we show up in the world.

Mea Culpa

So how should you say I’m sorry? Well, instead of explaining it to you I want to model it.

Part of the reason I wrote this post is because I haven’t shared anything on this blog in several months. And yet the promise that I made to many of you is that I would send you posts every week that would “help you create the impact you crave.”

There are a lot of reasons why my writing has been sparse, some of which feel really valid in my head:

  • I’ve been focusing on my full client roster, and helping them do things like sign multi-million dollar deals with Nestle, navigate through Techstars, and even start think tanks at major phone companies.
  • I’ve been hard at work building a second business that has been growing faster than I expected.
  • I tried to get support but we’ve worked with 4 assistants and 2 Directors of Operations this year alone.

Which is why I wanted to start this post by saying SORRY and then justifying why I’ve been so absent. But as I wrote, I realized that instead of apologizing I ought to be doing what I teach my clients to do.

I should be owning my mistakes, doing what I can to clean them up, and recommitting to the promise I made to all of you. And that’s what I intend to do right now:

Dear Amazing Reader,

I screwed up. I didn’t create enough time in my life over the last few months to be able to deliver to you the posts I promised. I got caught up in editing another blog, starting another business, getting situated in New York City, building a team, and a ton of other really important things. And even though all of those things made writing harder, I doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t honor my promise to you.

Now I know many of you don’t care about this. In fact, some of you may not have even noticed that I wasn’t sharing posts. But I want to own my mistake nonetheless. And here’s what I’m doing to clean it up.

Today as I published this post I scheduled the next 4 posts as well. These posts are going to be spaced out so that you’ll keep getting content as I work to create even more space for writing and reflection. In addition, I have and will continue to work with my AMAZING team to make sure we have a system and a routine set up to support me in creating content for you that is truly awesome, actionable, and of service to your highest selves.

If you’re pissed off at me, disappointed, or want to unsubscribe because I broke my word, I totally get that. In fact, I think that makes perfect sense for you to feel that way. Please know that I won’t hold it against you and that I truly hope you find the words that inspire you in your life in unexpected ways, whether they come from here or someplace else.

And if you decide to stay I want you to know I appreciate your patience with me and I don’t expect you to believe that I’ve changed. I simply hope you will let me show you how things are getting better. And if I’m not doing enough to make it up to you please let me know by sending me an email or unsubscribing. I love the feedback, however you give it.

Thank you for hearing me out. You’re amazing and I love you.

Sincerely, Toku

Now wasn’t that better than me saying “I’m sorry” followed a bunch of excuses? I know it felt better to me. And of course the truth is I am sorry, but I’m also not a victim. I chose the things that prevented me from keeping my word and that’s on me.

There are times in our lives when we need to say we’re sorry and times where we need to own what we’ve done and do our best to clean it up. It may feel scary in the beginning, but if you try it, you might find that never having to say sorry, because owning your actions will change the way you show up to everything you do.

You don’t have to fix everything today. You can start with one thing, and enjoy the feeling of lightness as the weight lifts off your shoulders.

Coming Soon to Unexecutive

Part of what I’ve been doing in my absence is figuring out what I want to say that’s different from everyone else out there. A big part of that has been my own study and interest in deliberate practice as a way to improve as a coach, leader, and human being.

Which is why in the coming weeks I’m going to start sharing more of what I’ve learned about the power of practice and how to bring this practice into every aspect of your life.

Professional athletes, artists, and musicians spend hours every day practicing and yet CEOs, innovators, and mavericks like us almost never do. WHY? Isn’t what we do just as important, specialized, and challenging?

I’m excited to share with you many of the things I’ve been learning about the power of practice and how you can integrate it into your life to become a better leader, communicator, salesperson, lover, friend, and human being. So that you can inspire your teams, create better ideas, build the better relationships, and achieve the kind of deeply fulfilling freedom, success, and impact you’ve always longed for.