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How To Be Unapologetic

In a world that often expects us to conform and apologize for who we are, embracing the art of being unapologetic can be a game-changer. On the surface, the word “Unapologetically” can feel brash, especially to those who are not used to respecting one’s boundaries. The thing is, it’s never been about being rude and unwilling to grow; quite the opposite, in fact. It's about stepping into our authenticity, owning our strengths and challenges, and fearlessly pursuing our dreams. In this article, we will unpack what it truly means to be unapologetic and how it can transform our lives.

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"I said never apologize for how you feel. No one can control how they feel. The sun doesn’t apologize for being the sun. The rain doesn’t say sorry for falling. Feelings just are.” (1)

I. Understanding the “Unapologetic” Rhetoric

The “Unapologetic” rhetoric is a mindset and communication style that promotes self-assurance, authenticity, and confidence. “In recent years, the term "unapologetic" has emerged as a rallying cry for those striving to redefine traditional norms and pursue their ambitions courageously (2).” By definition, it means  “not acknowledging or expressing regret (3).” According to John C. Maxwell, a renowned leadership specialist, unapologetic individuals are driven by their own sense of purpose and are willing to take risks, challenge norms, and stand up for what they believe in (4).

Unapologetic individuals are characterized by their strong sense of purpose, willingness to take risks, challenge societal norms, and advocate for their beliefs (5). These individuals are often driven by their internal convictions rather than external influences, such as normative beliefs or social pressures (6). They exhibit a high level of self-efficacy, risk perception, and subjective norms, which contribute to their determination to pursue their goals despite potential obstacles (7). Moreover, unapologetic individuals are likely to have a clear understanding of their own attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control, aligning with the theory of planned behavior (8). In the context of normative beliefs, which are individuals' perceptions of what behaviors are acceptable within a group or society, unapologetic individuals may deviate from these norms if they conflict with their personal values and beliefs (9). They are less influenced by societal descriptive and injunctive norms, focusing more on their own moral compass and principles (10). This independence from normative influences allows unapologetic individuals to maintain their authenticity and integrity in the face of opposition or criticism (11). Overall, unapologetic individuals exhibit a unique blend of self-assurance, determination, and moral conviction that empowers them to challenge the status quo, embrace risks, and steadfastly defend their beliefs. Their unwavering commitment to their principles sets them apart as catalysts for change and advocates for progress in various spheres of society.

The unapologetic rhetoric strategy can be effective in capturing attention, mobilizing supporters, and rallying people around a cause. It appeals to individuals who are seeking assertive leadership and a departure from the perceived weakness of apologies or compromise.

However, it is important to note that unapologetic rhetoric can also be controversial and divisive. Critics argue that it can lead to a disregard for accountability, empathy, or the potential harm caused by one's actions or beliefs (12). It may create an environment that stifles constructive dialogue or promotes a "win at all costs" mentality.

From a research perspective, studying the use of unapologetic rhetoric requires a qualitative approach to gain insight into the motivations, strategies, and effects of this communication style. This may involve conducting interviews, analyzing speeches or public statements, and examining the social, cultural, and historical contexts in which it emerges. My plan, in the coming months, is to present to readers an empirical research study on this very topic. Until then, let’s look at how you can live “Unapologetically”.

II. How To Be Unapologetic

  1. Embracing Resilient Leadership:

Being unapologetic starts with developing resilient leadership qualities. It's about stepping up and taking charge, even in the face of adversity. Resilient leaders understand that failures and setbacks are stepping stones to success. They learn from their mistakes, adapt to change, and inspire others to do the same. By embracing resilient leadership, we can navigate challenges with confidence and inspire those around us.

  1. Cultivating Personal Growth Strategies:

To be unapologetic, it's crucial to prioritize personal growth. This involves continuously seeking opportunities for self-improvement, both personally and professionally. It may include attending workshops, reading books, or seeking guidance from mentors. By investing in our growth, we expand our knowledge, skills, and perspectives, enabling us to reach new heights and make a meaningful impact.

  1. Balancing Positivity and Productivity:

Being unapologetic doesn't mean neglecting our well-being or becoming workaholics. It's about finding the delicate balance between positivity and productivity. By cultivating a positive mindset, we empower ourselves to overcome challenges and maintain a healthy work-life balance. This includes practicing self-care, setting boundaries, and celebrating our achievements along the way. When we prioritize our well-being, we become more effective in our pursuits and inspire others to do the same.

Example: Sarah, a successful entrepreneur, believes in the power of positivity. Despite facing numerous setbacks, she remains unapologetic about her dreams and stays committed to her vision. By incorporating mindfulness practices and self-care routines into her daily life, she recharges her energy and maintains a positive outlook, which fuels her productivity and inspires her team.

  1. Shedding Survivors' Remorse:

Survivors' remorse is the feeling of guilt or regret that arises when we succeed while others struggle. To be unapologetic, we must shed this weight and embrace our achievements without guilt. It's important to acknowledge that our success does not diminish the worth or potential of others. Instead, it allows us to uplift and inspire those around us. By letting go of survivors' remorse, we can lead a purpose-driven life and make a positive impact on the world.

Example: Mark, a renowned philanthropist, has overcome survivors' remorse by using his success to support charitable causes. He believes that his achievements are an opportunity to give back and empower others. By channeling his resources and influence into creating positive change, he lives a purpose-driven life and inspires others to do the same.

By cultivating resilient leadership, prioritizing personal growth, balancing positivity and productivity, and shedding survivors' remorse, we can unleash the power within and redefine our journey. This all allows us to create a life filled with purpose, fulfillment, and success. Of course, it’s easier said than done.

A Resources For You:

Designed to empower individuals in nurturing their mental, emotional, and physical well-being, this workbook offers a blend of assessments, journal prompts, educational resources, and agendas to guide users toward holistic wellness.

III. It Happens To Me Too

Throughout my life, I have realized that there are certain aspects of my identity that I should never feel the need to be apologetic about. Being a woman, a person of color, and living with neurodivergent conditions are all parts of who I am, and they should be celebrated rather than apologized for . I have learned to embrace my uniqueness and recognize that these aspects of myself are not shortcomings but strengths that contribute to my perspective and abilities.

In my journey towards unapologetic living, I have discovered the power of being direct and firm when the situation calls for it. It is essential to assert myself and communicate clearly, especially in professional and personal settings. By being direct, I can effectively express my thoughts, needs, and boundaries without hesitation. This approach has allowed me to navigate various challenges and advocate for myself confidently. I have found that being direct not only helps me to be heard but also fosters respect and understanding in my interactions with others.

Story Time:

A few years ago there was a meeting scheduled where a group of investors wanted to speak about the firm. There was a man, we will call him “Humbert” who had need especially disgusting to my staff and I. As he awaited his meeting with the CEO of the firm, this man needlessly spoke down to the support staff, displaying a lack of respect and professionalism. His behavior escalated when I sat down at the head of the boardroom table. In a condescending tone, he blatantly said, "I think someone's sitting in the wrong seat," not realizing who I was. His disrespectful remarks continued as he tauntingly requested a drink from the cafe bar and made irrelevant comments about my appearance. There was a moment when I’d simply straightened my pens that were placed before me on the table. He scoffed and said, “Someone’s OCD.” I clarified to him and said, “Yes, also Autistic. However, I just like to be tidy.” He cackled and asked how did “someone like me” land the job, suggesting my AuHD somehow made me less capable. I just blinked at him with a half smile on my face.

I was raging internally, but I knew that women did not have the privilege to behave abruptly unprofessionally. However, I knew I had to assert my authority and put an end to this disrespectful behavior. When it was time to start the meeting, I stood up and addressed everyone in the room, expressing my gratitude for their presence. I said, "Thank you all for joining today. I am Paradise Rodriguez-Bordeaux, and I am pleased to meet you. Lillian (my assistant) has placed binders in front of you all. Please turn them over". As everyone turned over their binders, they revealed my name and the title "CEO" on the cover. I then looked the man in the face and said, "Now that we are all on the same page, let the meeting begin". The fearful look on his face told me that he knew he’d messed up, and that the rest of the meeting would go smooth as silk.

After all was said and done, I started to replay the situation in my mind. What made him think he could speak to me, or anyone, like that? I felt that if someone would be willing to speak to me (a person who is quite outspoken) like that…then there was a chance that this was happening to many others. Knowing that I cannot be responsible for other’s behavior, I merely adjusted accordingly. I’d decided I was not interested in their business if that is how their leadership behaved.  In fact, I decided I didn’t want any investors. A few days later when they tried to follow up, I simply told them “No, thank you.” Since then, I have not had another experience of being disrespected by a peer in business; especially in my own boardroom. Not long after, I decided that I would put myself into a position to empower other to lean into their own languages of living “Unapologetically” and I built a Women’s Empowerment Business Club, L’Ambitieux (an exclusive community empowering ambitious female leaders through private events, coaching & mentoring circles and our global network. Members find their tribe for support, guidance, and celebrating victories on their journey.)

One of the most liberating lessons I have learned is that "no" is a complete sentence. I no longer feel the need to provide lengthy explanations or justifications for my decisions or boundaries. Understanding that "no" is enough has empowered me to prioritize my well-being and set healthy boundaries . It has allowed me to focus on what truly matters to me and avoid unnecessary stress and obligations, because at the end of the day, Boundaries are non-negotiable. 

In my journey towards unapologetic living, I have discovered the power of being direct and firm when the situation calls for it. It is essential to assert myself and communicate clearly, especially in professional and personal settings. By being direct, I can effectively express my thoughts, needs, and boundaries without hesitation. This approach has allowed me to navigate various challenges and advocate for myself confidently. I have found that being direct not only helps me to be heard but also fosters respect and understanding in my interactions with others.

Being unapologetic is an art that requires courage, resilience, and self-belief. It's about embracing our uniqueness, pursuing our passions, and inspiring others to do the same. By cultivating resilient leadership, prioritizing personal growth, balancing positivity and productivity, and shedding survivors' remorse, we can unleash the power within and redefine our journey. So, let's embrace the art of being unapologetic and create a life filled with purpose, fulfillment, and success.


For Your Benefit

Are you ready to embrace empowerment and unlock your true potential? Introducing "The Unapologetically Approach" – a catalyst for personal and professional growth. Through this transformative mentoring program, you will embrace your journey with courage, determination, and authenticity. With this transformative mentoring program, you'll thrive on a journey of personal and professional growth. Are you ready to stand tall in your convictions, overcome challenges, and lead with unwavering determination? Join us and experience the power of resilience, continuous learning, and a positive mindset.



  1. Thomas, I. S. (2012). Intentional dissonance. Central Avenue Publishing.

  2. Archambeau, S. (2022). Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms. Grand Central Publishing.


  2. Maxwell, J. C. (2011). The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential. Center Street.

  3. Huesmann, L. R. and Guerra, N. G. (1997). Children's normative beliefs about aggression and aggressive behavior.. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72(2), 408-419.

  4. Neumann, T., Bengart, P., & Vogt, B. (2023). Which expectations to follow: the impact of first- and second-order beliefs on strategy choices in a stag hunt game. Behavioral Sciences, 13(3), 228.

  5. Dempsey, R. C., McAlaney, J., & Bewick, B. M. (2018). A critical appraisal of the social norms approach as an interventional strategy for health-related behavior and attitude change. Frontiers in Psychology, 9.

  6. Culnan, M. J. and Armstrong, P. K. (1999). Information privacy concerns, procedural fairness, and impersonal trust: an empirical investigation. Organization Science, 10(1), 104-115.

  7. Gibbons, F., Gerrard, M., Blanton, H., & Russell, D. (1998). Reasoned action and social reaction: willingness and intention as independent predictors of health risk.. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(5), 1164-1180.

  8. Park, H. and Smith, S. (2007). Distinctiveness and influence of subjective norms, personal descriptive and injunctive norms, and societal descriptive and injunctive norms on behavioral intent: a case of two behaviors critical to organ donation. Human Communication Research, 33(2), 194-218.

  9. Henry, D., Guerra, N., Huesmann, R., Tolan, P., VanAcker, R., & Eron, L. (2000). Normative influences on aggression in urban elementary school classrooms. American Journal of Community Psychology, 28(1), 59-81.

  10. Leunissen, J. M., Sedikides, C., and Wildschut, T. (2017) Why Narcissists are Unwilling to Apologize: The Role of Empathy and Guilt. Eur. J. Pers., 31: 385–403. doi: 10.1002/per.2110.




About the Author:

Paradise Rodriguez-Bordeaux

🌎Global Business Strategist: Building Your Business To Sustainable Profits

🌟Empowerment Coach | Philanthropist

A Paradise Company / Paradise Rodriguez-Bordeaux Inc.

best-selling author, entrepreneur, and thought leader.

     Paradise Rodríguez-Bordeaux, 2022 Human Rights Activist and the 2023 Innovative Leadership Awards recipient, says, ​ 

 "Sustainability is the bare minimum." 

As an author, coach, and mental health advocate, she is a passionate advocate for those who have faced adversity and discrimination in life. She has been a philanthropist for more than 15 years, giving back to her community by supporting organizations that provide solutions for poverty alleviation and social justice. Her work as an innovator in business solutions led to the founding of... Learn More

"We need to consistently produce effectively efficient solutions.

This world, the communities, it's all of our responsibility.    Leaders HAVE to lead."



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