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Don't excuse

Don’t excuse for your existence

I often see that young women at the beginning of their careers often do the same mistake: they apologize for everything.
Sometimes it looks like they apologize for their existence in general.
She apologizes when she needs a development input (estimation for example). Looks like she is here not to create great products, but to disturb everybody around without any reason.
Will she ever ask for a raise? Not likely. But if she does, she will look like she doesn’t deserve that raise.
Would a manager think about her when there is an opportunity in another department? Not likely.
This issue damages a career. It stops a young woman to establish trusted relationships with the teams.
By the way, have you ever seen a man with these apologizing behavior? I personally, never.

There is a trick that I suggest my mentees:

  • Ask yourself whether you looked confident and not apologizing after each meeting or important conversation. Journal your results.
  • Choose a regular and not important conversation and lead it like the other person will forget the conversation after that. Act like you always afraid to act. Act as nobody will ever judge you. After that analyze. What did you do differently? Was it good or a bad thing? If it is a good thing, practice it. If it is not a great thing to do, remember it and create a plan on how to avoid it.
  • Admit that the exercise wasn’t deadly scared. Continue practicing.
  • Ask somebody (whom you trust) in your team to track your progress. It will allow you to compare your self-perception with an external opinion.

Often apologizing behavior is closely connected to the fear of being wrong. What if somebody notices that you are wrong? Well, you will often be wrong. Because product management job is about being wrong, understand it, correct and iterate.


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