I'm not sure how, when or where women were trained to apologize. Often, in an ordinary conversation, women apologize for something that requires no apology.

That has bothered me to the point that I now have a "sorry bowl" that requires a $5 "fine" every time a client apologizes for something for which she should not be apologizing. The money that is collected goes to my favorite charity.

It's amazing how aware they become after a few donations.

I realize that women do this to seek approval from others. What they should be doing is identifying their attributes and concentrating on them. For example, if you are a creative problem-solver, concentrate on that, rather than your lousy bookkeeping skills. This will do wonders for your feeling of self worth and help you concentrate on those skills at which you excel.

To get you started on changing your perspective and avoiding apologizing, here are my top eight tips:

Walk away from what no longer works for you. That can be a business, a friend or even a spouse.

Don't feel guilty about turning down invitations to events that you simply don't want to attend.

Do what you want when you want to do it.

Your unique personality traits make up who you are and that doesn't require an apology.

What you thought was a dream come true turns out to be a nightmare. It's OK to change course.

Don't apologize for your successes or the amount of money that you make.

Take four months off and sail around the world. (See the third item.)

It's OK not to respond to phone messages, texts or email immediately.

Apologizing should be reserved for having offended or hurt somebody. Saying sorry to everything minimizes the value of the word and plays havoc with your self-esteem.

So consider giving me $5 for every "I'm sorry" that is inappropriate. That should start you off on the right foot.

Kathy McShane is managing director of Ladies Who Launch, Connecticut. She can be reached at kmcshane@ladieswholaunch.com or ladieswholaunch.com.southwestct.