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Sorry, not Sorry with Victoria McLean

  1. Sorry, not Sorry with Victoria McLean Evergreen Podcasts 39:31

In this episode of the Connected Leadership podcast, Andy Lopata welcomes Victoria McLean, CEO of City CV and Hanover Talent Solutions. Victoria transformed recruitment strategy at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. She founded City CV in 2009, growing it into an international business. She serves on multiple boards, including Hanover Group and Rainbow Trust, and holds memberships in professional organisations like the Institute of Directors. Andy and Victoria discuss the importance of refraining from excessive apologies and the strategic power of saying “no.”

Victoria begins by highlighting the ubiquitous nature of apologies in everyday life, pointing out how people often apologise for things they haven’t done wrong. She emphasises that over-apologising can damage our confidence and lead to a negative feedback loop where we feel increasingly inadequate.

Andy questions whether the over-apologetic tendencies of Brits are a cultural trait. Victoria confirms this, citing statistics that show a significantly higher percentage of Brits apologising for minor inconveniences compared to Americans. She also points out a gender difference, suggesting that women are more likely to apologise than men, perhaps stemming from traditional upbringing and societal expectations.

The conversation then delves into the impact of upbringing and trauma on our tendency to over-apologise. Victoria suggests that traumatic experiences might make individuals more sensitive to relationships going wrong and, therefore, more prone to apologising.

Andy challenges the potential for over-apologising to become a vicious cycle, reinforcing feelings of inadequacy. Victoria agrees, emphasising that breaking this cycle is crucial for personal growth and confidence.

Shifting gears, Andy asks how to recognise and break the habit of saying “yes” to everything. Victoria argues that strategically saying “no” allows us to focus on our priorities and say “yes” to the things that truly matter.

Victoria also emphasises the importance of saying “no” to protect our mental and emotional well-being, suggesting that overextending ourselves can damage our relationships and our ability to perform at our best.

Andy asks how to navigate saying “no” without damaging relationships. Victoria recommends a combination of clear communication and boundaries, ensuring that we’re consistent in our actions. She advises against feeling compelled to soften our language or make unnecessary apologies when declining requests.

Victoria shares her insights on how saying “no” and having a more thoughtful approach to apologies can positively impact career development and transitions. She introduces the “Goldilocks dilemma,” where individuals who are too accommodating or too assertive might struggle to advance in their careers.

Finally, Andy seeks advice on how to change these habits, especially for those who have been over-apologising or saying “yes” for years. Victoria encourages self-reflection, practicing saying “no” assertively and replacing apologies with expressions of gratitude.


with Andy Lopata: Website | Instagram | LinkedIn | X/Twitter| Youtube

Connect with Victora Mclean: Website | X/Twitter | LinkedIn| 

The Financial Times Guideto Mentoring


Andy Lopata Author, Podcast Host and Speaker on Professional Relationships Strategy

Andy Lopata is a specialist speaker on professional relationships, mentoring, networking, and social media strategy. He is a firm believer that professional relationships underpin our success in business, our roles, and our careers. The right relationships with the right people can lead to new business opportunities, investment, collaborative working, innovation, and career progress. We just need to be comfortable approaching those relationships strategically, without making people feel ‘networked’ by us.

Andy has worked in the field of networking and professional relationships for 25 years, working with global giants such as Paypal, GSK, AstraZeneca, Wella, HSBC, Wembley Stadium, the BBC, and the Prime Minister’s Office of the UAE, among many others during that time. He has also worked with leading universities including NYU, Duke University, and Oxford University’s Said Business School.

A regular blogger for Psychology Today, Andy has been quoted in The Sunday Times, The Financial Times, and The Guardian, as well as many other national and regional newspapers and magazines worldwide. He has written or co-authored six books on networking and professional relationships, with his sixth book, "The Financial Times Guide to Mentoring," being published in Spring 2024. He is also the host of The Connected Leadership Podcast and has interviewed globally recognized names in business, academia, sports, and entertainment for the show.

Andy has been inducted into the PSAE Hall of Fame – the Professional Speaking Association Award of Excellence, which was held by only 21 other speakers at the time it was presented. He is a Fellow and a former President of the Fellows’ Community of the Professional Speaking Association (PSA), a Fellow of the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI), and a Member of the Association of Business Mentors and the Meetings Industry Association.

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