Thursday, July 10, 2008

Apologies


So I had a conversation with a client of mine this morning. He called me to tell me that a fix I'd done for him wasn't fully complete, which shocked me, because I knew I'd done exactly what he'd requested. It turned out I'd heard him literally and thus misunderstood what he meant. I'm usually better at listening and clarifying.

I apologized to him, and he responded gruffly with "Don't ever apologize, its a sign of weakness."
Without thinking about it, I responded, "No, John, an apology is a gift."
"A gift?" he sounded incredulous.
"Yes. A genuine, heartfelt apology is my gift to you, and if you accept it, it is your gift to me."
He was silent and for a moment there I was concerned that I had crossed a line with him, but I also felt good about what I said. I'd been true to myself and spoken from the heart. John can be very stern and demanding, so much so that he normally refused to deal with anyone else in my department, and his refusal had created some difficulty for him and my office while I was out on medical leave.
Finally, he stammered, "You're right, Kay. I didn't mean to imply that you are weak. And thank you."
I smiled. Somehow I'd managed to avert disaster, and he'd actually thanked me for, well, for correcting him or for the gift of my apology, or maybe even both.

The person who had transferred him to me had been standing anxiously at my desk. When I hung up, she asked "How did you do that?"
"Do what?"
"He was being a real prick 10 minutes ago."
"I just told him that I was sorry."
"Well, so did I. I even offered to help resolve the problem."
I thought about it for a moment.
"Yes, but I really meant it, and he got that."
"Got what?"
"Got the gift."
She just shook her head a little. "Unbelievable. I could never get away with saying some of the things you say."
"Or..." I pondered... "Or..." I spoke in an exaggeratedly breathy tone, "it could be that I just give really good phone."
I gave her a wicked grin and she laughed.
"That, too."

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1 Comments:

Anonymous SacredTouch said...

It's so easy to love and be loved, so easy to lose yourself in love, so easy to lose yourself in the pleasures of love, and so it's nice to be challenged now and again. Even unusual demands can bring out the best in us, compel us to speak our truth from love, with power.

- SacredTouch

12:16 AM, July 12, 2008  

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