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Issue #22: Sorry Not Sorry (For Being Sorry)

I say sorry a lot. Like, a lot. Most of the time I say it without it really being necessary. This mig

James Costa

August 15 · Issue #22 · View online
A batch of thoughts, resources, and motivation from a friendly digital agency owner delivered every Monday at 6am ET.

I say sorry a lot. Like, a lot. Most of the time I say it without it really being necessary. This might be because I’ve spent a lot of my life in some sort of customer service-centric role (from running a company to working at Pizza Hut) or being raised by Catholic parents who immigrated to Canada… or just being Canadian. Really, I’ve found it tends to be my competitive advantage in a world where personal brand helps you cut through the noise.
More foundationally, we’ve forgotten the importance of manners.
I’m profoundly against the idea that having manners makes you a weaker person (especially in business). It has less to do with making yourself less threatening, and more about showing empathy (and building stronger relationships in the process). That doesn’t mean we aren’t using the word sorry inappropriately, but I think the world could use with more people saying please, thank you, and sorry.
When I worked with schools and community organizations as a speaker, I would always share a story about the power of a smile that someone told me. Essentially, instead of passing by others on the street and avoiding looking at them or ignoring them completely, this person tried to smile at everyone. This got a lot of strange stares, but one day that smile was received by someone who was on their way to serious surgery and changed that person’s day. While an email, a message, or a call might not seem like much to many people to tell them they’re appreciated, ask how they’re doing, or apologize personally about something: these simple acts of kindness are powerful.
As leaders, we’re in roles where building relationships is a massive part of our job, and one of the easiest ways we can do that is by being relatable. How do you use small actions and your manners to your advantage?
PS: If you enjoyed this week’s issue, I’d really appreciate your support sharing this newsletter. Whether it’s a forward, a Twitter post, or by naming your sand castle after me, it would mean the world.
PPS: I’m playing around a bit with the section below since I noticed it generally doesn’t get a lot of action. I’ve now added read / watch counts, and a type of resource it is (in the coming weeks I’ll work to add things other than just articles) - what do you think? Do you find these resources useful?
PPPS: Sorry this week’s post is shorter!

The Mental Battle of an Entrepreneur
Keeping Work and Life Separate Is More Trouble than It’s Worth
Leading by Design
How CEOs' Paychecks Can Impact Their Employees
How to Tackle Your Toughest Decisions
“It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies by unnecessary and willful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire. For politeness is like a counter  an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer
In Closing
This past week I started watching Star Trek (The Next Generation). (Yes, I’m nearly 30 years behind right now.) This might seem strange for those of you who noticed I always sign off with the Vulcan salute for “live long and prosper” (though the sign actually has Jewish origin), but alas the peace emoji wouldn’t work for me (and I never bothered changing it).
(Also, funny note / bit of irony: last week’s issue on rejection was actually the least active issue I’ve sent out. 😂)
If you have any questions or I can help you in any way, all you have to do is respond to this email.
How to Stop Apologizing for Everything You Do
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