“When an apology needs to be given, it becomes my topmost agenda. The apology must be given as soon as possible and as clearly as I can. Replacing fear, which triggered the mistake, with confidence and faith is critical. Learning how to say sorry properly has made me a queen. Yes, the queen of the apology.
Recently, I won a bid to do some work for a long time client that I highly respect. I have worked for this organization in various capacities on and off for thirteen years. I have built my professional brand largely for being linked to this organization.
I was given a work timetable that was also sent to the project’s partners before I had signed the contract. Without a contract, no agreement exists and no plans should have been made. The official responsible then promptly went on leave assuming that the work had taken off. A hot whirlwind of indignation activated in me.
The official’s mistake was no big deal. My getting irritated was the problem. If you have been reading this book carefully, you know that this is when I should have taken a pause [this article is an excerpt from my book!..see endnote]. Irritation is saying No to reality. I could simply have said, YES she made a mistake but it does not mean a thing. I would have calmly clarified matters and moved on to other things until the contract was signed. Instead, I locked into the annoyance and set a costly misadventure into motion.
I sent several frustrated messages to her colleague explaining that dates of the contract could not be backdated. I had to ask a key project partner not to book meetings for me as I did not yet have a contract. ‘What a mess!’ I steamed.
The official returned on the day that I had my first post contract meeting with the in-house team. She had seen the agitated emails where I had said that I could not start to work without a contract. In these emails, I had carelessly stated that she should not have sent prior communication to partners.
The official walked into the meeting visibly angry. I received the coldest handshake. Our relationship that had started out on a high had now taken a sharp dive. I still had a chance to pull back, pause and manage the meeting without further negativity. Again I failed to take the chance. My ego continued with its rampage. I put her down over another decision that I thought was also a mistake. She cowered. The damage was done.
The next few weeks, of what was a straightforward job, became a rocky steep climb. I might as well have been working for myself. I received no support. Actually, I now had an opponent who was also responsible for approving my work.
It was only then that I finally stopped to find myself.
I remembered that being peaceful, promoting peace and showing love is the reason I live. If I failed in this, that is my life purpose, it did not matter what became of the work. This irritation that I didn’t nip in the bud was leading me to ‘death’. Death for me is living out of purpose – tolerating internal disturbance, causing conflict and putting others down. My only acceptable choice is life.
Yes, she could have done things differently, but it did not mean a thing. A botched assignment could not change my great destiny. It would all be well. And with that change of mind, I regained my psychological footing.
Of course, the official did not know that I had spiritually recovered. She remained on the war path that I had curved out. In a terse email, she trashed tens of pages of the draft report with sweeping negative statements. Now the assignment was at stake. I had to confidentially request her manager to intervene so that the job did not collapse. In the meantime, no matter what happened, I knew I had to say sorry.
When I next called her, I started with the apology. I took full responsibility for the turn of events. “I want to apologize”, I said. “I am sorry for talking to you in an irritated manner at the meeting. Speaking to you like that set the relationship off in a negative direction. This has made our collaboration a lot more difficult and I am sorry”.
She was stunned. She was not expecting an apology…”
This is an excerpt from my book ‘Journey Home: Finding Peace and Love’. It will be on Amazon in a few days.