The Power of an Apology

Last month I messed up. I mean REALLY messed up. Never mind what I did, but suffice it to say… It was bad. It was an error, not an omission, but should not have happened and it impacted a client’s book launch.

My client (let’s call her Rebecca) called to let me know that she was beside herself and she rightfully let me have it. She wanted her money back. She wanted my head on a platter. And then she wanted me to really suffer.

Today Rebecca is my happiest client and has just signed up for another 6 months of service.

What happened?

I apologized.

When Rebecca called up last week yelling, my first instinct was to defend myself. I wanted to explain that there were extenuating circumstances. Iwanted to remind her that she was just as much to blame.

But I bit back the urge to interrupt and fight back. I ignored the voice in my head telling me that it was not FAIR to be blamed. I listened to what she had to say and then I completely copped to it. No excuses, no defense. I took full responsibility and promised to do everything in my power to make it right.

As I apologized and made a commitment to fix what I could, I gave Rebecca the only thing I could at that moment… I honored her by admitting she was right to be upset without a defensive tone or throwing around passive-aggressive blame. In an instant, I was once again her partner and would work with her to make things right.

There is strength in admitting that we are wrong. No one is perfect. Admitting we are wrong without justification can help us lose our fear of imperfection. No matter how unfair we think it may be or what other circumstances are to blame, when something goes wrong, it is best to take a deep breath, look at the situation honestly and take responsibility for the parts of which you are responsible.

…. and then not do it again.

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