ISSUE 93 ISSN 1712-468

There is a strength in the union even of very sorry men.

Homer Greek Poet 800–700 BC
Author of The lliad

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This Week´s Inspiration

Saying Sorry: a Character Trait of Success


Feeling sorrow, regret, or penitence

Remorse: A distress arising from a sense of guilt for past wrongs

Judges commonly vary a criminal’s length of sentencing, based on his or her level of remorse. Why? When individuals are not sorry for what they have done, they are not taking responsibility for their actions. 

That condition is not restricted to the courtroom.

Over the past few years, I have witnessed a very disturbing trend—people who never apologize for their actions, no matter how at fault they might be! 

Perfection is not only improbable, it is impossible. If you are alive, odds are you will be involved in situations where you must say Sorry—on a daily or at least a weekly basis. 

Here are some examples. 
  • You accidentally bump into someone at the shopping mall. You say Sorry.
  • You send an email without the attachment. You say Sorry.
  • You are insistent that the event is on a specific day, only to find you were wrong. You say Sorry.
  • You make a mistake at work. You say Sorry.
  • You lose your temper with your partner and make inappropriate statements in the heat of the moment. You say Sorry.

And on it goes.

Being or saying Sorry reflects of attitude of responsibility, humility, and accountability. It means you acknowledge that your actions—intentional or accidental—have had a negative impact on others around you. You are taking ownership of your behavior. That is the quality of a winner who will build credibility with others.

But every day, both personally and professionally, we interact with individuals who do not or will not apologize for their actions. They reveal themselves very quickly; their attitude of indifference—with no apologies—immediately leaves a negative impression with others.

  • You are in the mall. Someone bumps into you and yells Get out of the way!
  • In a heated moment, a person is unkind to his partner but says it is the partner’s fault. No remorse there.
  • A lady is late for a dinner party. She blames a traffic accident but does not apologize for being late.
  • A man makes an error at work, saying I’m not sure what happened, but he does not apologize.
  • A person makes mistakes about some details of an important business event, then refuses to apologize for his/her error and blames someone else.

Why this total lack of remorse? 

  • Many who never say I’m Sorry have deep-rooted feelings of insecurity and low self-worth. They cover up those conditions with the perceived strength of never apologizing.

    What they don’t realize is that the opposite is occurring. Your level of success and credibility is influenced by your willingness to apologize. It reflects your maturity and reveals whether you are able to take responsibility for your life.
  • Opposite humility are the characteristics of arrogance, self-centeredness, and pride. Individuals with those traits feel superior to others; they are quite caught up in themselves.
  • In some situations, saying Sorry might be perceived as an admission of wrong-doing. Some people would rather die than admit they contributed to a painful situation. To these individuals, being right is more important than being truthful, mature, or accountable.
  • Some individuals feel that saying Sorry is an admission of failure. Guilt, insecurities, pride, arrogance, and lack of maturity contribute to their not apologizing for their actions.

Think about it for a moment. How willing are you to work or hang out with people who are never sorry for anything they do? They take no responsibility for failures and outcomes that were agreed but not met. 

When an individual never says Sorry, you should be extremely concerned. Why? It will NEVER be his or her responsibility when anything goes wrong! 

Lack of remorse is an offence. We should give those individuals a life sentence unless they shift their thinking. 

I personally struggled with saying Sorry in my marriage. I felt Sorry meant I was admitting I was wrong and that Brenda was right. But it really should have been about the process, not about being wrong or right.

I am not suggesting that Sorry is always easy to say. In some situations, it will take courage, guts, and every ounce of emotion to apologize. But it will be worth it.

To assist you in saying Sorry and Living on Purpose, consider My Source EXPERIENCE Journal and these CRG assessments: the Personal Style Indicator or Entrepreneurial Style and Success Indicator, Job Style Indicator, Stress Indicator and Health Planner, Values Preference Indicator, and Self-Worth Inventory.

This Week´s Action Steps

Saying Sorry: a Character Trait of Success

  1. Think about this for a moment: Do you apologize when you cause an infraction, intentional or not?
  2. Are there specific situations where apologizing is more difficult for you? If Yes, why is that true for you?
  3. How do you feel when someone does not apologize when he or she lets you down personally or professionally?
  4. Just as a judge cannot force remorse on a convicted criminal, you cannot force a sincere apology from an adult
  5. When an apology is demanded, most of us feel least like providing one. So don’t ask.
  6. In a professional or work setting, you can include “taking responsibility”—saying Sorry—as an expected code of conduct. In that setting, you can ask why an apology was not forthcoming.
  7. It is strongly recommended that you avoid working with or hiring individuals with the character flaw of not wanting to apologize. Our experience is that they are high maintenance and don’t take responsibility for their work duties.
  8. Not wanting to apologize is typically linked to immaturity, pride, arrogance, self-centeredness, insecurity, and/or lack of self-worth. Those are hardly character traits you want to be around.
  9. To establish your own roadmap for success, consider My Source Experience Journal and these CRG assessments: the Personal Style Indicator or Entrepreneurial Style and Success Indicator, Job Style Indicator, Stress Indicator and Health Planner, Values Preference Indicator, and Self-Worth Inventory.
  10. No matter your situation, you can chose to apologize. In fact this mindset and act of humility will generate increased success with others. Now who doesn’t want that?

Until next time, keep Living On Purpose!.

Ken Keis

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