Whatever happened to I’m sorry?

rose candela

The other night, my husband and I were discussing a company he purchased something from via kickstarter that has been royaling making mistake after mistake. I asked him: have they apologized to their customers for all those errors?

Answer: nope.

Recently, I went through this too – not receiving an apology from a company that I trusted.

Within the past month, I’ve had 3 separate conversations with 3 different people about apologies – or lack there of – from the companies we give time and money to. What gives?

Here’s what I want to call attention to. Though this topic is a bit off the creativity spectrum, I know many of you are leaders in your workplace or operate your own business.

To not apologize when you’re in a position of power (aka business owner to a client) is privilege in practice.  Avoiding an apology is a reflection of deep and systemic issue within our culture.

As a tiny business owner, I’ve apologized for my errors. Even if it was the shipping company that messed up a package, even if my customers were the ones wrong – if they were upset with my efforts, I apologized.

I probably I haven’t apologized enough. And for that, I’m sorry.

I think that apologizing is about integrity of persona and relationship. I can’t control what everyone thinks or feels. I can control how I react to an unfortunate situation.

As your business grows, you will upset more and more people.

Yet, apologizing for your wrong in the scenario makes you stronger. It helps your customer/client/employee trust you after the mistake – because you’re taking ownership of what got messed up.

As your artist, guide, and as a person who sells courses – I know my customers will be disappointed from time to time. That’s a risk that I take, knowing that those moments will be few if I stay in integrity with my mission.

If you’re in a scenario where you messed up (as a biz owner or in your professional life), do this practice:

  • What is my part in this? How can I own to my error, and accept that me or my business strategy-action was flawed?
  • What sort of beliefs do I have about people who apologize?
  • Even if I (or my business) didn’t really mess up, how can I apologize to connect to my customer/client?

Then, apologize.

Now you: when was the last time you received an apology from a business you love?

Also – I know apologies and I’m sorry is a loaded subject. Here’s a great resource for apologies in relationships by Elizabeth Gillette. 

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