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How To Make A Comeback After You’ve Let People Down

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Your stomach is in knots.

You wish you could turn back the clock and have a do-over.

Your mind doesn’t stop asking, “What the heck were you thinking!?!”

Unfortunately, what’s done is done. The truth is, you screwed up. You made a mistake.

And now you’ve got to figure out how to make things right and have people trust and believe in you again.

You’re hopeful, but deep down you wonder…

Will things ever be the same, or did I just totally eff-up EVERYTHING forever!?!

Look.

Everyone makes mistakes. But not everyone handles them in the same way.

Knowing the right way to rebuild your reputation after a screw up is key — especially since you’ve worked so hard to get where you are.

Watch to learn three simple, but effective, steps to making a swift and strong comeback.

Positive action is the best way to put your mistakes in the past. @MarieForleo

Once again, mistakes are inevitable. We all make them. They’re uncomfortable and can be one of the most difficult areas of our lives.

But the real difference comes in how we handle the aftermath.

That’s why I’d love to hear from you…

Have you ever dropped the ball and let a bunch of people down? What did you do to make a comeback?

On the flip side — has someone let YOU down and made a great comeback? How exactly did they handle it?

Leave a comment below and let me know.

And remember, since mistakes are a natural — albeit tough — part of life, this is a post you may want to bookmark for future reference.

Thank you, as always, for reading, watching and sharing!

With love,

Marie Forleo

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Read the comments or Add yours

Darlene with BlogBoldly

Ahhh, this is a good one..

I remember when I young blogger did the same thing.. he was big in WP design. But he did make a comeback after eating humble pie.

I think that’s what ya have to do!

Fess up.

Ask forgiveness.

Do better.

darlene :)

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Kristen the 20-Something Breakthrough Coach

“Fess up. Ask forgiveness. Do better.” That’s some seriously good life advice, Darlene! :)

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Emelia

Yup. Acknowledge. Apologize. Act.

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Robyn

I totally agree Kristen. The first step is really to acknowledge your faults and move from there.

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Elise

That’s exactly what I did when I made a huge booboo. I got into a coaching program that I 100% believed I could afford, but as time passed I realized I just wasn’t able to survive & afford it. After DAYS of agonizing what to do I just had to come clean.

I wrote a heartfelt email to my coach in tears and apologized. I thought my head would be cut off for sure, but she was so wonderful, so forgiving and really helpful.

So ya, I agree with that. Fess up, ask for forgiveness & do better. Great advice you guys!

Elise xo

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Laura G. Jones

Ah, Darlene, yes – all failures are definitely recipes for humble pie. And I seem to be a pro at fumbling things, so I’ve definitely had to force down plenty of (un)tasty pieces of that pie.

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Heidi Nicole, Life Coach

Eating humble pie. If you mess up, get yourself some humble pie!

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Megan

Fessing up and eating humble pie and doing better are good. But get specific. If I mess up, I want to fix it not just by floating my own boat and doing well in my mind – I want to know how that person would feel compensated. Often, asking them what I can do to fix things for them shows that I am thinking of them – not just me and whatever went wrong with me in the past. If I am lucky, the person I messed up with will tell me what I need to do. Sometimes it can be easier than anything I would have dreamed up.

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Fiona

That’s really interesting Megan. A great strategy that’s sure to work more often than not.

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Fayola

“Fess up. Ask forgiveness. Do better.” Now that is a tweetable!

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Darlene with BlogBoldly

Funny you should say that.. because Laila (@LailaAtallah) was kind enough to do just that!

~ darlene

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Martina

Stomach in knots – check .
Yes it happens, especially when one is starting out with a new business idea etc.
I always try to look for the silver lining, to give a service FOC and to go out of my way to apologize..in person if possible.
Humor is another good one to apply. In fact the more I think about it – your best bet. Try and make light of it. Great blog btw. I wish I had more time to read more here. Cheers

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Marcy Criner

Right on Darlene! I’ve got to remember: FAD – Fess up, Ask forgiveness, Do better.

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Laura G. Jones

This is a great video and an even better topic, Marie. The most important thing for that situation is just taking responsibility. I grew up making excuses and avoiding responsibility. Now I know that the most important thing is just owning up to it and saying “I’m sorry. I messed up. Here’s what I’m willing to do to make it better.”

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Emma Gwillim - Life By Design

You’re spot on Laura … it’s the “making it better” bit that brings it back around and makes the difference between bridges being burned completely…. or just temporarily singed!!! ;-)

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Laura G. Jones

Absolutely, Emma. I used to expect people to just forgive me when I said I’m sorry and that I would make it better, but now I know that once you messed up, what’s going to change things around is what you do, not what you say.

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Darlene at BlogBoldly

“I grew up making excuses and avoiding responsibility.”

Yeah.. I grew up military so assuming responsibility was front & center.. however I could shift blame like a pro.

Of course once I got past that, I’m as bad as a reformed smoker. I have zero tolerance! LOL

Luckily practically every family member (even the kids) and many friends have participated in workshops and “breakthroughs” throughout the last eight years.. so we’re pretty good about holding each other accountable and stopping the bulls#@t in it’s tracks.

darlene
p.s. and it’s amazing the deeper level of our relationships once we stopped hiding behind excuses and blame.

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Laura G. Jones

Yes, Darlene! I completely agree with you! It was actually my husband that was the first to inspire me to take responsibility, by simply not putting up with the BS of blame-shifting I kept doing. Once I realized that I loved him more than I loved my pride, I learned to say “I messed up, it’s my fault” and with that came the realization that it’s only human to make mistakes. One more blow to my ego = a happier me and happier relationships with other people overall.

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Denise Duffield-Thomas

Sounds like a cool family – to be able to keep each other accountable like that!

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Marie Forleo

Laura! I love that you shared “I grew up making excuses and avoiding responsibility” — thank you for that level of honesty. You are a gift woman.

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Laura G. Jones

Thank you, Marie! I learned to be honest from the best ;) (hint hint).
I do believe that being open and sharing all of the crap I thought (and still think) about myself and the world can only help others. We have this idea of how others are perfect, but the truth is we usually share the same troubles and insecurities.
This really hit home with me because taking responsibility for my life and actions has made the biggest difference in my life and has been my biggest focus for the past few years. It looks like it’s going to be a lifelong journey, but I’m OK with that.

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Heidi Nicole, Life Coach

It’s a super tough lesson when avoidance has been your learned tactic for so long hey? I can sooooooooo relate.

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Laura G. Jones

Yes, it most definitely is. What’s been toughest for me is when I know I should take responsibility, but I just don’t want to. But doing the right thing in that moment makes the biggest difference. It’s definitely a lesson I’m going to have to keep learning as life goes on ;)

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Ngoc Khong

Love your comment, Laura. I must admit that I always feel so ashamed after making mistakes and it was hard to be honest that way… But I’m learning to be honest as best I can and take responsibility instead of avoiding it.

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Laura G. Jones

Ngoc, I completely resonate with what you’re saying. The main reason why I used to have trouble taking responsibility was the shame I was feeling. But over time I learned to deal with it. Ego is not your friend. Good luck.

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Darlene with BlogBoldly

Ngoc and Laura..

There’s a song called “Redeemer.” (Nicole Mullen sings it beautifully)

Part of the lyrics go:
————————-
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know my Redeemer, He lives

To take away my shame
———————————
When she gets to the part “To take away my shame” I expect her to say “pain” instead of “shame.”

…But saying “shame” really nails it.

Shame is the underlying feeling in so many situations.

Wow! This has turned out to be quite a discussion.

~ darlene

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Ngoc Khong

Darlene, thank you for the song! Yes, saying “shame” really nails it. I know I have to let go of shame, of my ego, so that I could move forward.

Kristen the 20-Something Breakthrough Coach

I love this advice, Marie. Rebuilding trust is tough, but being really honest and upfront with people will help them see things from your perspective. And yes, actions definitely speak louder than words, so if you’re walkin’ the talk, people will really notice your positive changes.

“Positive action is the best way to put your mistakes in the past.” Love it! Plus, it keeps you in the present and reduces anxiety. Great tweetable, Marie!

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Heidi Nicole, Life Coach

And go the extra mile with those positive changes. I don’t mean rub it in other people’s faces but because you may have been MIA for a while, make sure that you’re showing up and staying late to get the job done, now!

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Cecilia

I recently had an amazing customer service experience. I bought an apple strudel from an amazing bakery for Mother’s Day. When we dug in it was undercooked and gummy.

I wrote them an email letting them know that it wasn’t good and was surprised to get an email back right away (on a Sunday) and an offer to send me an email money transfer to refund my purchase. WOW!

Love everything you do Marie and of course your hair. Oh, the hair… ;)

ox
Cecilia

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Marie Forleo

Cecilia — ha ha, thank you for that. My parents and their parents take the credit for the hair. Excellent example here. You remind me of a call I still need to make about flowers that came WAAAY late and dead on Mother’s Day to my mom.

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Natalie Sisson

Cecilia I really love this example as aside from our own screwups and owning up to our behaviour, confronting it head on and accepting what we did, I also really like to point out when things are done so right, and people go the extra mile.

I had Coast Capital Bank do the same when I was closing the account. This lady went out of her way to help me do this from overseas and I just raved about the experience, I got her name and posted on their Facebook page to credit her and thank them. It’s a pity more people don’t honor the great things that happen more, but focus on the time things went wrong or the service was lousy.

Same goes with screwing up. people will forgive you with time and if you’re honest in your actions and try to rectify what you did. But people who continue to blame you for a lifetime because of one screwup way back is not fair either.

Ahhh to finding the balance in life!

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Leah

OMG I don’t feel so alone anymore!! I had a hard time picking the right buisness for myself, and I definitely let people down in the learning process.

I definitely took a walk in their shoes, and apologized as best I could, but I never felt “resolved” about it. I’ll definitely take action on that now.

This was SUPER USEFUL! Thanks Marie (and Ben!).

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Emily

Oh, I can relate! Luckily I saved most of my relationships, but I had a whole long journey of experiences finding my calling.

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Emelia

Brilliant advice as usual, Marie. This is applicable to so many areas of life. Facing challenges head on and DOING something about it is the only way. Sometimes we waste a whole lot of energy trying to explain. Let’s face it. Words are foreplay. The real action begins afterwards. Now don’t skip “foreplay” but you have to deliver on the promise. ;)

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Marie Forleo

Thanks Emelia! As someone who makes mistakes regularly — the minute I own it and then have the courage to (briefly) share the why behind my actions/thoughts/perspective — it helps me get back in real relationship with people and have awareness to not go there again!

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Emma Gwillim - Life By Design

I was let down by someone recently…. it turned out they’d completely overlooked my project and put huge pressure on my deadline. I’d brought it to their attention too so who knows how long it would’ve been before the company had realised BUT, apologies made, they went straight into offering options to resolve it. Far from an ideal situation but their genuine care in trying to solve the problem they’d created restored my faith some.

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Heidi Nicole, Life Coach

That’s a good example of awareness in problem solving! Sometimes if you just lay it out on the table, people can rethink what they were previously perceiving something to be. Like you said, not ideal but it definitely has to be done, sometimes (more than we’d like due to the confrontation nature of it).

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Laura G. Jones

That’s so important, Emma. Many times I find myself thinking “well it’s not so bad…” or “I won’t cause trouble”. But it’s so important to respect yourself and bring stuff up (not excessively, of course). Sounds like for you bringing it up rather than waiting for them to realize it saved you an extra headache!

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Adam - Sexy Confidence

There’s nothing more important than being willing to “fall on the sword” so to say. I’ve found this is the best way to deal with making a mistake. Just totally 100% admitting your mistake. Thanks Marie.

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Ms. Pillowz

This is definitely a good question and great advice as usual, Marie.

I’ve let people down with my blog. I used to update sporadically. Once I got engaged, I wrote even less. My engagement ended some months later and between the fact that I felt guilty for not updating it for so long, time consuming work obligations, and grieving for my break up, I stopped writing for almost 2 years. People kept asking me to come back and I kept blowing them off. I told them that I was working on new posts, but it wasn’t true. I was actually thinking of quitting.

The biggest reason why I didn’t want to start posting again, was because I felt like a failure. I was ashamed that I was single again after I had gushed about being engaged in the last post that I had written.

I worked on my emotions and with the encouragement of friends and family, I made a comeback with the most vulnerable post that I had written up to that point. It was raw. I was open and letting it all out. It was hard pressing the Publish button, because it was so honest, but I did it and have gotten the best response that my blog has ever seen. You can read the post here: http://www.bigdivahq.com/2013/03/testing-testing-is-this-thing-on.html

Now, I post faithfully. Recently, I needed to cut back on how often that I post, but this time, I let the readers know ahead of time,so they knew what to expect. I did what I said that I was going to do. I gained new readers and supporters and I am so proud of what I’ve done. There’s so much more to come and I am truly grateful that my readers gave me another chance. :-)

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Laura G. Jones

Ms. Pillowz, I love your honesty and just how raw that post was. You are an inspiration to all of us. Isn’t taking responsibility so freeing?

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Ms. Pillowz

Thank you so much Laura! It is definitely freeing. The gorilla climbed down from my shoulders and turned on the wind machine Beyonce-style. lol

Putting it all out there no holds barred felt great. It wasn’t easy, but once I did it, I felt light for the first time in a long time. I could finally exhale. :-)

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Laura G. Jones

Haha, that was such a funny comparison! I’m really glad you found your way to that. It’s painful and scary to go through it, but so rewarding and freeing once you do it.

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Genevieve from The Oval Table Community for Women

Hey Marie,

Loved this weeks episode – I screwed up a business venture about 5 years ago and then battled depression as a result (partly) of giving too much time and thought about what others thought of that and the judgements they may be making.

When I started my current business The Oval Table Community for Women, I faced a lot of worried faces, a lot of “here we go again” judgement and a lot of people, family included, who seemed to just wash their hands of it.

Not wanting to fall victim to it again, I ploughed on and put my heart and soul into my venture. Now, I have been successful and continue to work hard – you are SO right (as always) – forget what others think and let your actions speak louder than words. :)

My family and friends now have a lot of time and love for what I do and I am contributing to my family which makes me feel wonderful.

Thanks you for another fab episode – xo, Genevieve

p.s. LOVE the dress!!

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Denise Duffield-Thomas

I think forgiveness for old business mistakes is SO important to be able to move on.

It’s weird that men chalk up business failures as “experience” whereas we totally blame ourselves for being failures.

Congrats on your new business venture!

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Neil Ferree

In the SEO space, clients expect (and rightfully so) that your work product stands on its own and if your results deliver, all’s well. If you don’t produce the results you promised, you make them whole or hit the PayPal refund button.

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Marie Forleo

Simple and straightforward Neil — love it.

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Lula Brooks

Thanks so much for saying this Neil! I make skincare products and sometimes worry about my clients not getting the results that they were after. Even great products don’t work for everyone. Hitting that PayPal refund button is such and great and easy way to say “I’m sorry” and make good on your promise- even if it didn’t turn out quite how you wanted it to. Very empowering :)

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Ree Klein

What? Mistakes? Let people down (including myself!)?????

Heck, yeah, I’ve been there…without going into the gory details, I’ll just say that your advice, Marie, is SPOT ON!

Ree ~ I blog at EscapingDodge.com

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Nathalie Lussier

I would also chime in that forgiving yourself before you speak to everyone else will go a long way. If you still feel down on yourself, then you aren’t going to be speaking from the best side of yourself.

I love Ha ‘oponono for this, it takes care of all the different angles of a relationship and makes sure that you’re removing the resentment, too!

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Marie Forleo

Smart and on point Nath — as usual :)

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Jimena Pardo

Hi, so right! If we don´t forgive ourselves first for messing up, how can we expect others to do it. I´ve been in both sides of the problem; being let down and letting others down, I think honesty is very important to make a “comeback”. Not doing as if nothing had happened wishing everyone forgets because no one does. My collegues valued that I was brave enough to say “Im sorry” and really took action and made it up for them! :) happy ending!

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Erin Flynn

Great advice, Nathalie! That’s definitely something I struggle with–I can admit mistakes to clients/customers, but have a hard time forgiving myself for making them, even if the client forgives me!

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Laura G. Jones

Yes, forgiving yourself is so important! Many of us hold on to shame related to how we’ve disappointed others long past when they forgave us. Great advice!

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Mike

In all honesty, I think I’ve reached that age (45) where a reputation based on gossip and slander (or even legit reasons for that matter) doesn’t phase me enough to want to take some sort of action to make it right in someone elses eyes. It’s too much time and effort to fix any of that and life is too short to lose sleep over that.

All I can do is try my best to be honest, have good ethics, not step on anybody’s toes and let everything ride out its course. Really, f*** what anybody thinks. Misery on their part I say. They can have it.

Not to get all preachy on you, but look at what happened to the perfect and flawless man Jesus. They slandered him and they killed him. People are corrupt to the bone is what it boils down to and that’s just the nature of the beast.

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Heather Thorkelson

So true, people almost always forget any negatives when you replace them with (*consistent*) positive action. Not to mention, sometimes better communication during the ball-dropping phase helps. I’ve never gone through anything like Ben did, but on a smaller scale if I get sick or something happens that prevents me from serving my clients with my normal level of awesome, I let them know. There are tasteful and valuable ways when you’re dealing with a shit sandwich to show your vulnerability your co-workers/partners/clients that opens the door for them to support you more or at least understand that you’re not just being irresponsible.

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Marie Forleo

Great point Heather! Real-time communication is SUPER important.

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Gigi

I think another thing to keep in mind is that we often think we’ve made bigger mistakes and letdowns than we actually have. I always used to work myself up when I made a mistake, forgot to email someone back when I said I would, etc. But I’ve found in so many cases, a simple “I’m so sorry I forgot to email this to you yesterday. Here’s the exact thing you needed. Please let me know if you need anything else at all” email mends the rift.

I find that overall people are very understanding, especially if you’ve already built a good rapport with them before making your mistakes and as long as you are willing to own up that it is your fault.

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Marie Forleo

I like your script Gigi!

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Gigi

Thanks, Marie!

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Melissa

Sometimes, it’s the little things that can let others down. I recently got my hand slapped (bitten off actually) for my lack of organization and follow through. While my first and most common reaction is my list of CEO tasks is too long and resources too slim, the real message is MY habits need adjusting so I can inspire others instead of frustrate them. So, it’s always worth putting down defenses for a moment to hear what is said. And while you an never change the past,you can shape the future.

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Melissa

But you can’t fix iPad spelling mistakes in comments. HA!

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pat tallman

Hi Melissa,
I can really relate to your post. I have had a mistake ( or 3 !) happen in my year of being a CEO at an indi studio. I’m overworked, and under staffed, but I do feel it’s possible to do better. I love the line about inspiring others. Here’s to a better future!
Thank you,
Pat

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Melissa Curran

Melissa – I appreciate your comment and your brutal honesty. Here is my question to you about this situation: How do you accept responsibility for the issue at hand and yet deal with the truth of not enough resources to get your job done in one day – how do you balance your full CEO plate with having a life outside of work and NOT playing the “pass the buck” game?

I wrote a blog about changing the past by changing your perspective of the past. While I know you cannot change the actual events of the past, I believe by changing your perspective, it allows forgiveness of mistakes – especially of yourself.

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Karla T.

This past weekend I have 20 minutes to give a presentation on 5 points. AND I was supposed to leave time for questions. Even with practice you cannot account for your presentation not being up (as promised) and the fact that I had to wait for the session before mine to conclude.

The room was filled to the brim. People were turned away at the door. When it came time for the presentation, I feel like I didn’t do my best. I felt rushed and nervous for some reason. I’m NEVER nervous. Now I am on the path to redemption. A YouTube video is in the works so that I can properly give the presentation the way that I wanted.

The timing on this video was awesome :)

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Katharine Trauger

Karla,
Wow. I love your solution.
I’ve been in the situation where I was asked to present an hour of workshop and arrived to find the time cut way short.
Wish with all my heart I’d thought of a video on my site to make up for the lost content, the fault of others, yes, but how wonderful to use that to invite others to view your site!

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Rebecca Fraser-Thill at Working Self

As an instructor at a college for the past ten years, I’ve seen a number of students mess up royally, often letting down and taking advantage of people who trusted them (including me).

The students who bounce back best are the ones who are honest, fully aware of what they did wrong, and willing to do the hard work of giving 200% going forward to regain trust. The ones who place blame, act like nothing happened, or try to fight the consequences that came from their actions (e.g., a poor grade) are the ones who have a lot more difficulty going forward.

It’s worth noting that the students in the latter category may not have difficulties because of that one slip-up, per se, but because of socioemotional issues that cause a series of performance problems. In other words, if you screw up once but have developed the character to avoid similar problems in the future, chances are you’ll be fine. (And, indeed, I screw up, too, and try my best to handle it like the great screw-up student role models I see! We all mess up!)

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Marie Forleo

Rebecca — this is awesome. Thanks for sharing specifics. Incredible how a simple set of behaviors post mess up (be honest, self-aware, work hard to regain trust) can put you right back on track fairly quickly!

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Katharine Trauger

Rebecca,
Our youngest son could have been one of your students! He lost a full-paid academic scholarship because of having too much fun at school and not working enough. At least he was in his senior year. He had to borrow money to finish his degree and learned a LOT about taking responsibility.
Now he’s a webmaster, married, with a wee one on the way, and is taking full responsibility for all that.
Lesson learned.
Whew!

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Katharine Trauger

Oh, and I forgot to say, he’s webmaster for the same university where he lost the scholarship. They were watching and liked what they saw about problem-solving and accountability. Good employers KNOW some things are more important than saving face or looking good.
Messing up and then fixing it can be a sign of great personal strength.

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Benji Boy

Thats really true, because as a student I sometimes come across and face this kind of situation, but I dont give up. I mess up many times struggling to be what I wanted to be. However, learning from the role models like you I think I can do even better despite my previous mess up did. Thanks Rebecca!

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Mitze

Most of the time is when people get ill , their performance decrease.
Need, health coaching , help with moving abroad, problems with love, get your goals achieved, financial problems, especially during the tough times, in order NOT to let yourself or others down, get a coach to prevent this. For me, this really helps.

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Jessica Oman

We all blunder. When I do, I fess up. I’m honest immediately. What is the point of acting any other way?

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Emily

Amen! Whats the point of pretending to be perfect? We are all imperfect. Better to accept it and get on with it.

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Tatiana Escalada

Marie, great video like always but I have a bit of a different take on this. I believe one of the best ways to move forward after you’ve screwed up for whatever reason even if these reason are “circumstances outside of your control” is to admit your part of responsibility for it both privately and publicly, this shows not only courage but also that whatever situation you may be in, you take control of it, are willing to recognize your mistakes, learn from them and move forward wiser and stronger.

Only when you admit your part of responsibility can you really learn from your downturns and show the world that you have learned and are now ready to move forward. It also gives you the opportunity to forgive yourself, after all can’t expect for others to forgive you and give you another opportunity if you don’t forgive yourself first.

When you explain a situation and promise it will never happen again, whether your reasons may be valid and your promises come from the heart more often than not to the disappointed person these sound like excuses that make you seem weak, like someone who is a victim of the circumstance at any turn and someone who’s in this position can not keep promises, so the promises also sound false which in turn doesn’t make you win trust that easily or fast. ;-)

BTW Marie that’s some nice singing voice you’ve got there! LOL

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Charlotte

A few years back I got involved in a financial scam. I thought is was a good investment at the time. I got others into this as well. This company keeps coming after us for increases in payment that I or anybody else cannot afford to pay. It was a major screw up, I honestly don’t know what to do to get out of this.This has cost me thousands of dollars and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I am really upset over this.

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Marie Forleo

Hi Charlotte, so sorry to hear about your situation. You may want to contact a lawyer, or at the very least, a local investigative journalist to help bring the story/company to the public light and help others from falling victim to it.

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Katharine Trauger

Or your D.A.

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Ryan Arnold

I messed up so big time I created a whole brand around it!

I built two 7 figure businesses then lost everything when the economy crashed. I had taken on too much business debt.

It was hard to face myself and my wife having lost millions of dollars that could have been prevented. Later when my wife left for another man I really hit rock bottom in life. Much worse than the financial woes.

For me the most the goal became to turn lemonade out of lemons. So I created Comeback Academy to inspire other entrepreneurs to push past setback and create businesses and lives they love.

I’ve found that people come to know and love you through your story of struggle much more than your story of success.

Thanks Marie!

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Marie Forleo

Hey Ryan! Thanks for sharing your story here, and I love how you’ve taken really tough experiences and turned them into lessons for others.

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Emily

Oh my goodness! That is brilliant!!!!! I’m a networker in the startup space. I will def be passing this along!

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Melissa

This was awhile ago, but I just wanted to say you really inspire me sir. You just can’t keep a good man down :-)

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Deb Brown

Love this, Marie! When you make a mistake there are a few things people want to hear from you:
1. I’m sorry
2. Acknowledge what you did wrong
3. Show what you’ve learned and how you’ll change things in the future
4. A promise to never let it happen again

When it’s a major screw up with one person, a thoughtful gift and note can go a long way in patching things up, but for a situation like this where you have wronged multiple people over a long period of time, I would stick with an apology and then earn their trust back by doing better in the future.

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Laura

I always worry that my honest explanation of why I failed will sound like I am whining and making excuses… so I try to just do better moving forward, but not having a moment to explain always ends up making it feel like an open wound. How can I explain without sounding like [or feeling like] I am making an excuses? Or is that just something that I have to get over in order to move on?

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Marie Forleo

Hey Laura, taking full responsibility for what happened is key. Sometimes simply owning that means you don’t have to explain what happened — you can simply take responsibility for the result and focus on making things right and moving forward.

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Heidi Nicole, Life Coach

Good morning everyone!

I love this topic! Not only have I learned (once, the hard way) how to own up to my mistakes, practice empathy, apologize profusely and then recreate my worth… but my clients ask me all the time how to fix something when they let other people down. I really agree with Marie! First acknowledge it, fess up and state what you did wrong. Take it one step further and say that there might be more things that you’re not even aware of. Marie and I agree on putting ourselves in other people’s shoes – because how else will you even attempt to FEEL the impact. Sorry sorry sorry – and really mean it! Like Marie said, then right those wrongs and ask for forgiveness. As well, come up with a plan of how you’re going to fix those wrongs and how you’re going to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I love creating back up plans that I never have to use. It feels darn good!

Thanks Marie. Your hair looks amazing!

Heidi xx

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Patricia

Remember that when you mess-up people can be forgiving, however they do deserve an explanation and an apology. People need a reason to convince themselves that you are worth a second chance –A good honest explanation will more than likely work.

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Silvia Bianco

I think the flip side of making mistakes is that the “mistakes” always reveal something about yourself that needs your attention and therefore needs healing…otherwise it wouldn’t have happened. So learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and then make amends wherever and to whomever you can.

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Marcia Luz

Adorei os comentários Marie. Acrescento um recadinho ao Ben: em primeiro lugar Be, você precisa se perdoar! Parece que você ainda não se perdoou pelo que fez e esse é o primeiro passo para que as outras pessoas façam o mesmo”. Marcia Luz, Brazil.

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Theresa | The Tarot Lady

An earnest apology goes a long, long way when you’ve done something wrong.

Everyone can evolve. And a mistake, even a bad one, can be a catalyst for growth.

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Joan Nie

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Patricia

A couple of years ago I had to realize that I was very selfish to my best friend in collage. I used to talk and talk about my love life, my problems and I never considered her feelings or problems. She was my emotional dustbin. After realizing it I felt very ashamed and wrote her a long letter. Partially I explained myself, my behavior and also I apologized to her. This letter took her totally by surprise and although she replied she could not really say anythings. I understood that is confession was a lot to handle and I wondered if I had put a burden on her by asking for her forgiveness. I still think about it and I can not make up my mind about this. Can we ask someone’s forgiveness just to feel good about ourselves? And put the other person in a more difficult situation that he/she was before we hurt his/her feelings? It is just difficult enough to handle a bad situation but when the person who hurt you comes back to ask for your forgiveness, this just puts you in a lot of pressure. Specially if you are not ready to forgive or may be you never can.
What do you think? Am I too hard on this?
Patricia

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Rebecca

Thanks Marie! This is just what I needed. I am in the middle of this mess now. Of course, the whole thing petrifies me. But I love your comment and feel the need to take full responsibility. That is the only way forward.

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Heather

Ha! Thank you! I have to admit, I almost forgot what the video was about b/c I’ve been singing “Hey Mambo! Mambo Italiano!” for the last hour. And what kind of mistake could I POSSIBLY not be able to clean up if I’m in that frame of mind?

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Steve Woody

Napoleon Hill once quoted “I know that I am going to be successful because I am running out of things to do wrong”

I would rather try and make a mistake then never attempt at all.

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Danielle Mund

LOVE the tip to put it in writing–so simple, yet such a different meaning than talk.

Part of this is also about forgiving ourselves when we’re in that kind of situation! It sucks to feel like we failed or made a huge mistake. And it’s super duper important to prove to others that we will get back on our game, and to do so by ACTING on our words…but sometimes acknowledging where we were and that what happened was what was needed for us in the moment is the greatest thing we can do. At least to start :).

A great way to do that, too, is to recognize what benefits came from that experience. How are you stronger because of it? What did you learn about yourself that will make you an even better Sr. Manager? So much learning must have happened!

With love!
D

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Dominika

Hi everyone! Hi Marie!
Well this hits home big time for me, recently some things have happened to me because of a series of bad choices, all of them I see that are because a lack of confidence and trust in myself.
I am taking it day by day, choice by choice, and most of all being honest and truthful to myself.
Always knowing that although I will screw up, as long as I am aware, I will make the most out of the situation.

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MsCarter Carter

I screwed up ROYALLY when I planned our annual conference, bringing in 6 well known, national speakers. During the hecticness, I forgot to actually confirm the saved flight itinerary for the keynote speaker! We discovered it as she attempted to check in for her flight. Our Director was so angry she couldn’t even look at/speak to me. The immediate fix was to:

*Try to get an immediate flight (was not happenin in time)
*I contacted the IT department to see what had to be done on both ends to set up a live feed (like Skype)
*This was actually do-able, so the keynote speaker Skyped in. We are able to view slides and everything!
*I publicly acknowledged my oversight to conference participants and our office staff

In order to regain confidence in me by Director
*I did submit a written apology
*We came up with a plan to avoid that oversight again (include receipts with flight itineraries, have second eye to confirm, etc)
*I had to work extra hard to ensure no other deadline was missed, no other project went wrong, no conference detail was overlooked.

I felt bad for a while, and felt like I was stepping on egg shells for months. After a while, we were able to “laugh” about the situation and at the same time were proud that we pulled it off.

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Marie Forleo

Amazing story MsCarter. I’m sure we can all imagine what that felt like — thanks for sharing the full scoop of how it turned out!

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Roshini

Boy did I need this today… thank you Marie.

I feel goddamn awful whenever I’ve made mistakes- for example, I got my mum to drink a green smoothie with kale in it every day for a couple of weeks, thinking that it would be good for her… only to read up on it today that having raw kale everyday can cause hypothyroidism- and my mum already has hypothyroid issues from years ago, so she’s prone to this kind of thing!!

She trusted me and I feel so bad that I didn’t know this earlier, but I did explain it today and asked her to rotate her veggies everyday from now and have kale only occasionally, if that! She didn’t mind too much but I could have died from the guilt. And now I wonder if she’s even going to trust my advice from now on… hopefully she will, but next time I am properly going to research something before I tell someone to go do it!

Your video helped me see that everyone makes mistakes and I do feel a bit better.. thankfully I read up on the green smoothie thing today and caught the problem before it went out of hand, so I’m grateful for that!

Thank you Marie for your awesome videos! It helps to know that I am not alone XXX

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Udoka O.

If it makes you feel any better, the kale is only an issue if you also have an iron deficiency!

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Lisa Robbin Young

It’s almost like you have a crystal ball that sees my world, Marie! :-)

This morning, my oldest son was given on of those magical “second chances” by our local court. I finished blogging about it just before I saw your video.

We are all given second chances – often more than one. In fact, I believe that every day, every moment is a new opportunity, a new second chance, and that ultimately, it’s up to us to decide how we’re going to use it. It may sound corny, but as long as you’re still alive, you’ve got another chance to make a more empowered decision.

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Karlie Moore

In my business (health and fitness for firefighters), there is a strong need for privacy, yet it is very difficult to protect the firefighters’ privacy when they work in such close quarters. There have been situations in which I felt I owed someone an apology for not working harder to protect their privacy, but I never know if they truly felt wronged or if I am making assumptions and they really weren’t bothered. This video has encouraged me to approach the person and let them know that, whether they felt that way or not, I take full responsibility for it. Thanks Marie!

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Patty

Wow! Spot on — especially the part about ACTION! You do not want to apologize with the mindset that all will be forgiven right away…..you must gain back their trust through right actions and it may take YEARS! The thank you note is a start!
Awesome Marie!
Patty

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Mary Jane Allen

Hey Marie! Great q&a Tuesday segment! The only people who don’t make mistakes are the ones who pretend they don’t and personally when someone doesn’t come clean with having made a mistake that clearly affects others, I lose respect for them. It’s a deal breaker for me. On the other hand if they show that they’re human and admit that yes, something went wrong, they’ve got me back on their side. I think it’s really important to give people a second chance if they apologize for a fumble and mean it.

It’s really scary when you are the one who made the fumble but I’m a big proponent of “feel the fear and do it anyway”. Ya gotta do it!

Blessings to you and all,
Mary Jane

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Pamela

Great, great, great video! Beautifully shared. Best way to make a comeback is to do so with honesty, humility and grace.

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Francine

I think it’s important to realize that even when you admit you were wrong and/or have had a very rough time in your life, the others you’ve hurt may simply not be open to forgiving you, trusting you, and moving on. This has been the case many times in my experience, but it has taught me to understand the potential reasons why they aren’t accepting of my sincere apology or resistant or silent to my explanation or my attemps to grow.

It seems that when you-know-what hits the fan in someone’s life, sometimes those closest to you in work and life may have the hardest time understanding and supporting you because what you’re going through may bring up all sorts of unconscious fears in them. They see that you’ve had all these struggles suddenly and start to become afraid–what if the same thing were to happen to them? They’re probably not aware of this deep-rooted fear and how it may color their reactions to you, but if you can be aware of this possibility, it can help to change your approach to them for the better.

Because fear is such a strong motivator but often likes to disguise itself, those people in your life may not understand how fear works in them, and it may come out in other ways in how they treat you–being cold or silent to you, angry or distant with you, not willing to respond to you if you try to explain things to them, unsure of how to respond, and/or unwilling to accept your attemps to get through this time in your life and to change and grow. So if they react to you in this way even after you’ve been sincere with them, you can come to understand that their own fears about potentially experiencing what you have and not knowing how to cope are likely the root of those reactions.

If they react in these ways toward you, it can get really hard, but it may actually turn out to be a big blessing. You may have simply started down another path and may now be ready to branch out on your own or seek work with a new person/company, and this path could turn out to be just what you need at this time in your life. It’s hard to see it this way when we’re going through or coming out of such hard times, but opening ourselves to receiving unexpected blessings can be a great lesson to be gained from these hard experiences.

I believe we are also given a chance during these times to learn to develop more compassion for those who treat us poorly, because we can start to understand why they may do so. It doesn’t always mean that we should stay in their lives or not set our own healthy boundaries with them. But we can still treat them more kindly when we understand that our life experiences may simply be reflecting their biggest fears back to them, and they are just unaware of that emotionally even though it still creates a reaction of powerlessness in them. I have personally found that it’s often best not to try to explain all of this directly to them, as it will potentially confuse and scare them even more! Like Marie says, “don’t talk about it, be about it!” :) Meanwhile, we can be who we know we are–the powerful, amazing beings that are becoming more and more aware of our own selves. We can open up to receiving unexpected blessings, and we can develop more compassion for others–and for ourselves–when we understand what may really be going on. :)

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Sue

Thank you Francine, for your thoughtful and thought-provoking comment. A few years ago I made a terrible mistake. I moved in with my boyfriend. He immediately dropped the act that had so convinced me he was a decent guy, and showed his true colours, a textbook narcissist and bully. It took six months of hell before I got my act together and moved out. It took a big toll on my health and wellbeing and it happened the same time as the recession hit. I’m a freelance designer, my business took a huge dive, and I didn’t have the confidence to pick up again.

What really hurt, and still does, is that I lost the respect and support of some family and friends. They haven’t said anything to my face but I get the feeling that I’m an embarrassment and I’ve hardly seen anything of them.

I’m over the pain, and working hard to rebuild my life. I’m a positive person with a sense of humour and I don’t wallow in self-pity. But I’m hard up, like many freelancers, and I’ve discovered that when times are bad you do find out who your true friends are. I agree that there are blessings to be found in adversity. What I had never considered is that I need to be more compassionate towards those who are treating me poorly. Working on it!

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Katrina

I turned my mistakes into a way to help others! I wrote about my experiences in a book, and also offer trainings to help others avoid the mistakes I made. (My book is called All the Ways I Screwed Up My First Year of Teaching, and How You Can Avoid Doing It, Too.)

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Turiyas

I loved this post. It reminds me of being human. We make mistakes, life happens, s*#t happens, and you have a choice point where you have to make a decision. While our work becomes our life, our life and dramas can take over and push work to the sidelines. I’ve found that keeping as honest as possible with everyone in my personal as well as work relationships keeps me coming from an authentic space, and it seems a refreshing and more understanding place for others to comprehend your situation. By being honest, I feel more clear in my body for whatever then proceeds. Thanks for posting about the not so glorious issues that we all face! Blessings Angie @ Turiyas.com

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Mary

I often have an irrational fear of making a mistake, but I still make them. I work in a company that can be quite punitive about mistakes, and often do not say a thing until you have made a third one then they fire you. I still fess up, own up and move on. Sometimes I am a nervous wreck though. I just keep being the best I can. And yes I am looking for another opportunity. Thanks, Marie, for tackling a touchy subject.

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Alyxandria - Straight Up Talk

Another video full of wisdom.

Apologize, but make sure that you are apologizing in a way that recognizes the damage you may have caused the other person.

Tell them specifically what you plan to do about it — if it’s something you can fix or, if it’s not, what you will be doing to prevent the problem from happening again in the future.

Then you do it. If you say you are sorry and commit to making a positive change, but do nothing different in the future, that’s actually worse than not saying anything at all. Because you let them down twice. In the same exact way.

As others have mentioned here, HUMBLE is the key. Humble, direct, honest and pro-active.

Good stuff.

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Kathy Martens

Omagosh yessss. I try try try to be appropriate and professional at all times, but sometimes, goofball that I am, I fail fail fail. I actually wrote a post about a recent blunder… have a little chuckle here:
http://www.love-is-better.com/2012/10/26/a-sticky-note/
In the end, we’re all so very human and really have to step back and look at the bigger picture, take a deep breath, and have a quick belly laugh and give ourselves a hug. It’s the only way some of us can survive! :)

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Priti Chanda Klco

Marie,

Great, practical advice on this video. The only piece I don’t think quite lands is telling people “it will never happen again.” Many times, the situations and events that converge and result in us making mistakes are outside of our control. I don’t believe anyone intends to make a mistake…so saying something will never happen again is not really honest. Instead, I’d focus on action, just as you suggest, and on acknowledging both the perspective of the people who got hurt/inconvenienced by your mistake, as well as you commitment to have integrity and be fully engaged moving forward.

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monica

Same thing happened to me this year and it’s only July. My mom got a heart attack, 2 weeks later a stroke, and then my 10 yr old pup passed away. these events caused me to miss work and work from home a lot which is working from home is not an impact when you’re in IT but the perception from other dept got me in big trouble. What i realized through this process is that i no longer like my job and i’m only here for a paycheck now but i feel this way because i no longer get the respect i used to. Instead of proving myself i have decided to look for a new job.

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Rachel T

I made a HUGE mistake that led to the end of my marriage…
I thought I’d lose all my friends and the respect of my family. But I laid it all out on the line – everything I’d done and how awful I felt. I was humbled and amazed to find that everyone stayed right behind me. One of my friends said to me, that he could forgive me anything because, as he put it “I owned my own shit”. The act of taking responsibility was enough.
My ex forgave me a long time after – that was his own process.
And I finally forgave myself a year or so later again.
I think for any mistake these are all things you have to do – own your own shit, let the person who you upset/wronged feel how they feel and forgive you in their own time (or not forgive you – that’s their prerogative- and then forgive yourself and learn.

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moni

great stuff, recently I also needed to do my own inventory. Almost five years ago, I hurt my older sister with words and she is not speaking to me since then. She does not answer my calls and texts. Because she does not have an email, I wrote her a long letter taking the similar to apologize to her. It has been only a couple weeks, I am praying that she will write me back. You might ask why so late. Because i truly believed that i was right about what i told her back then. It took me that long to realize a truly admit from a heart that i hurt her.Now i know holding on to anger hurts no one but yourself. So, i asked myself, do i prefer to be right or happy?

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Natalie

Hi Maree,
Thank you for this episode. Perfect timing and practical advice as usual.
I love your work.

Natalie

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Carmen I

Hey Marie,
I’m glad you are back!!! This topic comes really handy with Paula Dean on the news. I try to be legit an mend things right away. The sooner I recognize my mistakes, the faster I can find a solution. I guess if I wasn’t human, I would be making no mistakes. So, there is always a humbling lesson in recognizing our faults. I put in practice that a lot when playing tennis. You miss one point, you better come up with two better shots. Not because anybody else expect that from me, but because it’s the least I could do.
I’ve been betrayed and screw over big time without receiving an apology, but a big Oh, well! Like I supposed to know the type of deceiving creatures I was dealing with. I thought my hard work would pay off at the end, but that only taught me to rely on myself and to focus my attention on the things I care about. There are always good people that will help without screwing you over. I don’t like to play victim, so I dusted off myself and moved on… It took me couple of years to get back, and it’s still a work in progress.

P.S: After b-school I came up with some good ideas to put all I’m learning together and it’s coming along pretty good! Thank your Marie!!!

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swarna

Usually what I do is to try and forgive myself first, before asking anyone for forgiveness. Now this is a huge step!! I can’t say I am doing this perfectly but I am more conscious these days and getting there. Once you forgive yourself, you get some clarity and space to think logically for the next things to do.

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Joy

I absolutely agree! Sometimes when we ask for forgiveness from other people without having forgiven ourselves first, even if they had already forgiven us we still feel the guilt.

Let go of and move on, and do better next time. :)

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Emily

This IS a great one. I’m in innovation and therefore a professional faithwalker and an expert at navigating the unknown. I have messed up so much you cannot even imagine because failure is inherently a risk in walking out into the unknown. I realized somewhere along the way, I stopped approaching things as “performances” and am ALWAYS in learning mode. Life moves fast and people forget things anyway. I talk to one technology executive today like nothing happened before – and I made a HUGE fool of myself with one outlandish idea last year that had no ground, but my level of innovation has matured, just like my faith. Walk out into the unknown and give it a year od bumping and bruising. You’ll be polished like a rock in a tumbler.

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Kyle Sheldon-Chandler

No one is perfect (although I do try to convince my kids I am). I have made my share of mistakes and it is upon me to confess and fix it – one way or the other. A most recent *whoops* was when I updated my cell phone’s OS, found that one of the changes was to the calendar view. Seeing my client’s calendar on my phone was not a goal, so I simply deleted everything off that calendar. Little did I realize that it would delete off her Google calendar.

She found out when she walked out of a movie and found more than 160 cancelled appointments. OMG – well, after talking with her that night and doing everything in my power to confirm her appointments for the next day (telephone messages and e-mails), I got to re-do her calendar. :-)

She was not angry – I was in tears. She was so cool about it and said stuff happens. Now that is an ideal client.

I am first to admit if I do something wrong or in error and have even taken the blame for a client snafu with their client. No worries because it was not endangering my reputation or self-worth.

However, I did have one incident where a former client blamed me for something that I certainly did not do and I know full well that it was the client and the client’s issue. Now that is hard to handle.

I simply replied to her that I guess we have different memories of the issue.

Bless her heart……….

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Carla

Is it wrong to say I had to watch this video a couple of times for all the juicy tidbits to sink in because I was so distracted by how FABULOUS your hair looks?!? Seriously! It’s amazing! No joke! But for reals… :D
this is wonderful advice and I’m really grateful for this post as I know someone in a similar situation who is looking to reestablish themselves. Thanks again for your words of wisdom, Marie. Always right on time.

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Janice Tanedo Powis

Carla! So true! That hair of hers was pretty distracting today. It’s just soooo….bouncy, haha! :)

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Janice Tanedo Powis

“Everyone loves a great comeback.”

So true!

Very inspiring video. A great reminder that when you fall, dust yourself off and try again. Rebuilding trust takes time, but can be done.

P.S. Marie, your hair is looking more fab than ever! ;)

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Monica

Recently, I missed an interview. Car trouble, bad directions, the whole gamut. After I apologized and they graciously offered me their time the next day, I showed up early. I also gave myself full treatment in the morning even though I felt ashamed. I ate a good breakfast, got gas, strategized and slept well the night before etc. Even though it didn’t turn out (my interview kicked butt, but my skill set was off for the position), it was great experience and now I’m sending thank you cards.

Regardless of how people take your mistakes, it’s really important to take the high road. You never know when you will see someone again. Or if a friend will interview with the same person and by chance mention you. You want to stay in check for yourself and your peeps so we can all work together amicably despite misunderstandings, setbacks, and honestly human mistakes.

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Sara Lynch

Stick it in the fridge! Was that a 50 shades reference??

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Sandy Galiano

Marie,

Love this video. I made a 2 min video earlier this year on Damage Control for the messes we make. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBRY0FLdV58

It was part of three day series:
Day 1: Damage Control
Day 2: How to Apologize: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duCQugicFf8
Day 3: How to Forgive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vID51MaR-Hw

Sharing the love. :) Have a good day everyone.

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Chrissa Reed

Love your energy, Marie – it’s always a breath of fresh air!

I agree that actions definitely speak louder than words. I’ve seen people I’ve worked with (who in the past were very difficult to communicate with) take positive actions steps in their work and work relationships – and I think everyone always welcomes these positive changes, regardless of their past actions.

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Chas

“If you shut your door to all errors truth will be shut out.” ~Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds, 1916

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Jessika

Hi Marie!
I’m still trying to make a comeback from a horrific leadership experience. About a year ago I was asked to be the co-lead with a partner a uni retreat. Because my partner was rarely “all-there”, I needed to make up for what she lacked. With school and this leadership deal on the side, I was getting overwhelmed and I often got big headed and bitchy. I felt as if I was making all of the big decisions because my partner was never listening and because of her lack of presence it made me look bad. I lost a lot of “close friends” because of this experience, but I also learned that those “close friends” weren’t really there for me either. In fact, because of my horrendous actions, they were the ones talking about me and spreading nasty rumors. Since that day, I have given those people their space and have found other ways to be a leader in my uni community. Because of that tragic boo-boo, I was able to cry and stress about it, but realize that I can’t do that forever. Now that I look at it, I’m glad that it happened to me, because I was strong enough to get through and it taught me a thing or two about trusting the right people and hanging with the right group of friends.

xx Jess

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Mary Catherine

Marie and team great post!! I totally screwed up a contract for my job and the coming clean was the key – speaking honestly from the heart – offering the fix it plan and then following through definitely have put me back on track with my boss. The one thing I think I may do in the future is write something and mail – that has a nice feeling and it makes your statements concrete – there is an accountability that shows up when I write things down!
Love all that you do Marie!!
Big thanks
MC

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Katharine Trauger

Hi, Marie!
I recently read on Facebook a note from a local restaurant pleading with customers to let them know when something is not right. They promise to refund or redo or whatever it takes to make a happy customer. It hit me at that time, “Of course, as a businessman, I’d rather give away a meal than lose a potential lifetime customer.” It just made sense.
I think all business is run that way. Or should be.
My husband had a very wonderful assistant in training when the young man badly wrecked a company vehicle. The attitude of the entire company was: “You’re good, but you’re no good to us dead. Learn from this.”
I believe many authorities are willing to look for the new, improved version if they know the potential is there for a great return on the mistake.

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Katie - Conquering Fear Spiritually

Hi Marie- absolutely love this week’s video, thank you my lovely!

It’s very true that actions speak louder than words. We all need these tips in our life toolkits- we’re only human!

Thanks again Marie (and may I say how particularly beautifully and swishy your hair looks today? Work it girl!)

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Elly

Making mistakes and dropping balls due to illness/burn-out are not the same.

Ben has been ill. He appears to have given this company his all and suffered a burn-out.

Did he get the support of his company, after all his hard work and achievements, to get him back up and running again as quickly as possible? Perhaps not. He appears not to be given a second chance and/or the support to get him through.

How many employees of that company are walking on their toes to the detriment of their health and well-being, perhaps fearful of ‘being found out’? How people there are far less productive than they could be because of that?

Of course, we don’t have all the details and only Ben’s side of the story. We wouldn’t want a workplace to become a therapeutic community, but employers do have a responsibility.

This is not simply about making mistakes.

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Katharine

Ooh, Elly, you are so right.
We do not know the whole story. Not at all.
Perhaps his serious health problems were drug-related.
That would explain a lot.
I do think a different employer would have reacted differently. Unless . . .

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Glenda Thompson

I was thinking about Ben too.
Although we don’t have the whole picture, Ben, maybe there’s a space for you to consider your work and health leading up to the events described and take this opportunity to also set in place approaches that support YOUR wellbeing.
If you were burning the candle then a return to that state may only lead to further burnout. You deserve a great job but also a great life too.

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Lisa D. Sparks

This is right on time for me as I had a recent challenge emotionally and it greatly affected my new business. I lost a key client and created a shaky connection with the organization that referred me.

I was having challenges emotionally that I have since addressed fully. I did apologize without getting into the details of my challenges. I plan on using your techniques and the script you shared to bounce back.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Marie!

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Ritu of The Lifester

Thanks for the singing on this one Marie! You have an awesome voice. I hope there will be more of it in the future videos!

I recently let a friend down by missing a Skype date. It was awful because he had donated to my startup fund for my life coaching site, http://www.TheLifester.com, but I got the date wrong and totally missed the call. He was pissed off and I think he really needed a bit of coaching advice. I still haven’t figured out how to comeback from that. Any tips ladies? xo Ritu

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mary purdy

Wonderful advice! I’ve heard it said that the measure of someone’s character is really about how they recover/respond to crisis and challenge. We can make a huge statement about our integrity when we own up to mistakes and utilize them as life lessons from which to learn and grow and improve! Love the, as always, positive spin from Marie.

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Jessica Stone

Great topic.

That’s why I like biographies and memoirs so much — when you read about the “mistakes” others have made, you realize it’s simply a natural part of being human.

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Virginia (The Heartographer)

This is rough! I’ve made the mistake of offering my services for free, and in doing so I wind up prioritizing people way lower than paid work, and not giving them the level of service I’d give a paying client. Which then means they don’t value what I do, and don’t think to recommend/refer my service… terrible cycle!

I’ve finally figured out that I need to charge no matter what, even if I’m bartering or something. It just needs to feel like a proper business transaction. I still haven’t fully resolved how I should tackle the freebies I let slide back in the day, but I recently met up with a paying client for free while I was in NYC. I had given him advice but felt really small-fry about it, since my Seattle market is so different than his NYC market. I felt like the consulting I gave him back in 2009 was out of touch and didn’t scale to his needs. But my offering to follow up for free while I was on vacation really helped establish me as a pro, and I now feel better about having cleaned that item off my list!

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Rose

I liked Marie’s video, but an illness, mistake or ignorance doesn’t brand you with a “bad reputation”. Get over yourself.

People make mistakes, that is true. But if you went to jail, re-hab, or some place to deal with mental issues, it seems many don’t want to “deal with you.” Why?, I’ve paid for what I’ve done–right? To many, the answer is no we are branded. Sometimes for life.

You should read Inc.com article: “Why You Should Hire Ex-Cons” by Catherine Rohr CEO of Defy Ventures.

Give us who paid — a chance.

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Ngoc Khong

Thank you so much for today’s episode!
But I have a question: What if one comes back and take actions to prove oneself… but without any apologies for the mistakes he/she in the past? Is that wrong or right? What should people response in this situation?

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Elizabeth

Fantastic video Marie . . . and kinda extremely timely in my case. I made a HUGE boo-boo this week in fact, a boo-boo that can easily ruin my reputation, but I quickly went into action mode. It was completely my mistake and admitted to this; or rather took responsibility for my actions (I got a gig date mixed up and received a phonecall on tuesday morning with the organiser asking where I was – eep!!). I apologised profusely and asked how my client felt that I could fix the problem, we fixed it – swapped with another speaker who was on later that day so I had time to hightail it down the motorway, and then gave my two talks . . . funnily enough, one was on gratitude – and I was really thankful my client was so forgiving. I have also offered a free talk to my client for next academic year and again asked them if I could do anything else to ease the stress I had caused.

This is the first AND only time that I have/will stuff up my dates, I have invested in a better calender system and am making sure I get into the habit of double checking all dates v clients v gigs. It was the kick up the backside that I needed to eliminate complacency and as much as it caused my client (and myself) a lot of stress, in the end I managed to remedy the issue without to many tears and threats!!

I think we should always take responsibility for the mistakes that we make and admitting our errors is the definitely the first step to rebuilding a relationship with your client . . . no-one likes someone with a “victim-mentality.”

Cheers

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Judith den Haan

Excuse me?
Since when is illness, serious mental, physical and spiritual breakdown a mistake???
This is called burn-out in my country.
You get there because you cannot cope with your environment. Of course this is an opportunity to learn but also an opportunity to check out if the environment you’re in is right for you.
IMHO ;-)
Take good care of yourself, love yourself and chose places where you are understood, chose people that understand. But first, understand yourself.

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Michael Rich

Communicate. Be honest with yourself. Thus you can be honest with others. Create change. Rather thank talking about changing.

Love the tweetable,

“Positive action is the best way to put your mistakes in the past.”

Great video, Marie! Until next time….

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Rose

Thanks for answering me Judith.
I agree Judith, since when is illness, serious mental, physical and spiritual breakdown a mistake? You Judith then go on to make a typical and uneducated remark by referring to it as “burn out.”

But it’s not called “burn-out.” And you don’t get there because “you cannot cope with your environment.”

I did call these incidents “mistakes?” Doesn’t it take but one mistake and you are an addict. Just one mistake and you are homeless. Just one mistake and you are in jail. This is an agreeable thought? Or is everyone in your “environment” perfect and not burned-out?

I tried to celebrate those people who made mistakes with a “feel-good” article, in which those who went to jail, for example, because of mistakes in their lives then turned themselves around. This woman dedicated her time and efforts to second chances. How wonderful. Wish we all could just take the time to help just one person.

Sorry but when I read your remark was taken by me to be deprecating and demeaning to these “environment” (cough), sorry I mean jail people. If only they chose better—huh Judith!

I am upset and don’t want this to be a fight or a put-down match. I come with my answer with love but also confusion.

Have you ever been homeless? Without an address it’s harder than heck to get hired.
Ever spent time at a mental facility for any length of time or re-hab center? Try getting out and try to get your old job and salary back? If you have tell me how!
Have you ever been to jail like those in the article I suggested earlier? And wanted just one person to give you a second chance?

I have been through at least one of these “mistakes” in my life as well. Thank God someone gave me a second chance. My intent with my comment was to make you think of more than just yourself –or maybe yourself. Has no one in Marie’s audience ever had one of these issues? Can we not represent?

If my mistake was to offend you and others by telling you to “get over yourself” then I apologize. My intent was to think of the lost and forgotten and invisible—my “environment” –apparently.

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Katharine

I know a lady whose husband made THE big mistake and she had to figure out if she wanted revenge, justice, satisfaction, etc., or if she wanted her kids to have their dad. She chose the kids’ welfare, forgave him, and they lived happily ever after. He is older, wiser, and has great compassion for folks who make mistakes.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Mimika Cooney

Thanks once again Marie for sharing such valuable insight! You always know how to say what we are thinking.

We own our mistakes and learn from them, that is what builds our character.

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Denise Marie Filmore

When I first started out as a business coach, I had to give two refunds. I was so happy to have clients, I did not think about the fact that they weren’t my “ideal avatar.” And so I could not deliver. After identifying their “real” problems, I knew I did not have a solution for them {within the scope of my business and expertise}. So, I quickly gave them a refund. And, I actually felt good about it. Both clients are still on my email list and contact me on occasion.

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Lisa

I would like to share a piece from my personal journal in 2010 -
“Let me just say, I was hit into an oblivion of fear by my own truths. Through the fog of disbelief, layers of humiliation and self-loathing I knew that I had a decision to make. I could call it quits all together and bury myself in the ground, or I could go to my closest loved ones and lay the absolute truth on the table. This was tricky, truth at this point seemed very tricky. There was a part of me that just knew no one would still love me or help me if they knew the truth; so telling the truth might just lead to the burial after all – at this point I was operating on pure anxiety; a bundle of nerves and tears. I literally could stand in one place for an hour, not knowing where to go or what to think. I could feel my eyes blacken, my legs want to buckle, my heart was beating out of its casing. I walked in silence, not wanting my mind to even consider thinking about my wrongdoings being unveiled, “it would just all go away soon”. What a nice trick my mind tried playing with me there, I consider that self preservation of the ego. I could feel that defiant ego still wanting to lie and munipulate the truth for me, “there’s got to be another way than the truth!” So, I have come to understand that my first acknowledged gift from Source was Truth. Telling the truth about my mistake to the people I love was an entirely freeing moment for my mind, body and Soul. It is hard to say between the engulfing fear and pounding guilt when I came to realize the relief of telling the truth, but I know today that I wouldn’t change it for the world. No longer was I going to spend sleepless nights wondering if today would be the day that my secrets would be revealed.”
I share this with great vulnerability and appreciation for all others who have ever experienced great feelings of shame, blame and guilt from a mistake(s). The next “gift” I received was the absolute knowing that I was the creator of the experience, no matter how ugly or unwanted it was, I created it. So, the gift is in the knowing that if I created “that”, then, I sure as heck can create(co-create) experiences that are new, true and good for myself and others. Forgiveness of self allows the True Self to emerge; and THAT is what I intend to share with the world today. Someone once told me that, “no one is so vile that they are not already forgiven”. Shame is shame, fear is fear, and guilt is guilt – no matter the conditions of the experience the energy is the same, and I for one would like to give a shout of Love out for all those that are on the journey from surviving to thriving – because no matter what -you matter, you matter, you matter and you are already loved, loveable and loving.
Thank you for your presence, love and support.

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Kay Fudala

We need to define what a letdown is. I thought I had let people down when I took a job last year that did not resonate with my principles or long term goals.
I didn’t let people down but my unhappiness might have been apparent and unexplained to those around me.
My comeback has been through battling depression (nothing like living a lie that sets you down the path of deep depression) and standing up for myself saying – it’s taking me everything in my spirit to confess that I am a writer. Always wanted to be one and will die trying to get there.
How can I apologize? It hadn’t occurred to me to. But I should provide an explanation to my previous manager and coworker. It may get them thinking about what they do for a living.

Thanks!

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Charlene

Wow. This post couldn’t have been timed more appropriately.

This past week, I had a client come in for a lash and brow tint. This was her second visit.

In her previous visit, she emailed me two days in a row — first saying that she thought she might have contracted pink eye (and maybe she might’ve gotten it from one of her students), then the next day saying it might be an allergy to an ingredient in the tint.

After sending her the list of ingredients and checking in later, she wrote back a week or more later saying that it wasn’t the tint, it was definitely pink eye from one of her students.

So, she came back this past week. We talked about how it was “great” that it was pink eye and not the tint.

The next day, she emailed me. She IS allergic to the tint (or my other theory — maybe a material in the brush I use). The reaction was worse than the first time, where she ended up in the E.R. :-\ She sent me a picture just so I could see what happened.

I can’t even begin to express how awful I felt! :(

It’s easy to make excuses ~> this hasn’t happened to any of my other clients – she was sure it was pink eye the last time – if she was that worried, she should’ve asked for an allergy test…

But it happened. And now I know that from here on out, an allergy test will be made available for my future tinting clients.

I sent an email back to her, apologizing and I offered a full refund (which, by the way, was also the most I had been paid + tipped for a tint, and I was very excited for that). When she replied, she was thankful for my “sweet spirit” and was sorry that she wouldn’t be able to see me anymore.

Le sigh. And so, lesson learned and I move onward.

Reply

Katharine

Charlene,
After the mistake of not making sure (who’d have known?!) you did the right thing in offering the refund.
And really, so did she. No way would anyone expect her to feel at ease with a third go-round, eh?
Sometimes we just have to chalk it up and keep smiling.

Reply

Liz B

Hi Marie,

Last year I went through a difficult time both in my work and private life, which effected the second place where I worked.
I was completing my PhD whilst at the same time being a yoga assistant in a private shala. My passion and love was in yoga, but my time and effort needed to be in my PhD.
I abruptly left my assisting job, with the hope of returning, but my boss and colleagues felt very let down and upset with me.
I suffered for a long time with the anxiety of letting people down.

To show I cared I continued to practice everyday at my shala and worked my butt off at my PhD.
I finished my thesis, defended and am now a Ph.D. Once I had my mind settled, I asked my boss at the shala that I would like to return. She saw the positivity in my continued daily practice there, and saw this dedication as something that I personally could bring to the team, and how to make this work for me at being an assistant again.

Since then I have been made responsible for managing food events at the shala, and given classes on my own. I took the opportunities that I felt where where I could shine to show them what I offered. After committing myself daily to what I could do, and not suffer internally as to the time commitments I couldn’t give to them at that time, slowly my guilt and feelings of the past let down have resolved themselves.

They saw me complete my Ph.D. and become a published scientific writer. And so when I returned and said I was 150% committed now to them, they saw that I could carry through and complete what I made the time to do.

It is still sometimes hard, but just show up and give daily what you can – and speak up when you are struggling. I’ve learnt that I hold things to the last moment, rather than burdening people with a ‘what if’ situation, rather than approaching them, talking through with my boss and colleagues how they can help and what my options are.

Show your love and commitment, and if they are truly people to spend your time with, they will welcome you back and over time the trust will build again.

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Neil

Yes, I made a mistake in high school. I was on my high school’s morning show operating the soundboard, and then I screwed up and messed up the entire show. I eventually started checking if things were right before the show.

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Audra

This post really hit home for me. I messed up BIG time and destroyed my relationship/friendship with my best friend and her family. The hard part is that nothing I can do can get my friendship back even though I have apologized and am taking strides to do better. Even though what I did was terrible, my friend still turned on me and said extremely hurtful things. It’s extremely difficult to deal with the regret and wanting take back what I did. I know I have to move, but it almost feels impossible.

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Austin

I’m Austin 32 , which drink had affected my life is it to late too fix , relationship partner said one more drink episode it as over , I was such a high leaving them that day said three words I’d been waiting on said there trust is gone , I’ be never been so serious never drinking again, and hadn’t 4 weeks , I am so happy about not drink , was heavy drinker either every day ! I had ticked 9 out of ten boxs been perfect partner one box was drink not going out they said to me was the going home , feel let the one only person down threw drink I want them back please help

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Austin

My mistake I wasn’t A heavy day to day drinker once week couple of hours odd time six months or so I’d be hours and drunk feel so sorry hurtful letting them down I ain’t doing this to feel goud for myself bit show them how much I care love them how can u earn there trust back if they won’t let u see them .

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Katharine

Austin,
When it comes to addiction, it usually takes a year of being free from the addicting substance before anyone will believe you are free.
Stay dry one year. Do not try to get anyone to believe you before you have proven you are over it. But you know you never really are over it.
You cannot force anyone to believe you. You must walk free of alcohol, and show it. Show that you are free. Every time you ask anyone to believe you, it just reminds them of the pain. So just show them you are better, if you can. Join AA. Attend meetings. Stay off the bottle for a year. That’s the only right thing for you to do right now. You may never regain their trust, but at least you will have regained your own life. And that is most important right now.

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Lori Green

Hi, here is my story. After a year of unrest in the dept. I worked for and working with management to develop new processes my supervisor (who was like my sister, I thought) and I got into an argument and I said I quit. (It was on a friday at end of day). I left and immediately emailed my manager to tell her what happened and very naively told her verbatim what I said but said in next sentence, of course I did not quit my job. I asked to meet with her on monday and resolve issue. Upon coming to work on monday, I was told that they accepted my resignation. I again said that I did not quit and begged them not to do that. I had worked for this hospital for 15 years. I did not receive unemployment because they said I quit. I would have never quit my job. It was the best thing I had in my life. My field of study is small community and it spread that I had quit my job and I have not been able to find work for 4 years, leaving dependent on abusive boyfriend.

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Dennis Rainey

Hello everyone, am here on this site to share my testimony, my names are Dennis Rainey,i want to share with you all about my relationship breakup which almost lead me to frustration and unhappy life experience,i was married to my ex divorced wife 4years ago and i and my wife have been living happily with our baby boy,but few months ago my wife started behaving strange to me, unknown to me that she have been engaging her self online with another man, who claims tolove my wife,my wife still was keeping this as a secret to me, but few weeks ago i caught her on our computer messaging this man, and when i asked her who he was she told me that he is just a friend, the message conversation caught my attention and i decided to rea through it, to my surprise my wife have been dating this man on my behalf for a very long time , so immediately after i noticed that i began to quarrel with her and i gave her a slap,she told me that she never loved me and told me that we should go for a divorce, i thought she was saying it from anger due to what was happening in our room,after some time my wife told me that we should go for a divorce due to the love i had for her i never wanted to support it, although it happened i still did not give up on her to get her and my child back home, so i went in search on how i can get my wife on the internet, well on my search i saw a testimony of a woman on how Dr ADUWAWA was able to restore back to her, her ex husband, immediately i copied the email address and decided to give a try, after all the procedures and instructions given to me by Dr ADUWAWA within the space of 2days my wife gave me a call and started begging me that she was sorry for what has happened between us, due to the Love i had for her i quickly responded to her that i have forgiven her and told her to come back home, now me and my wife are living happy again, all respect and honour to Dr ADUWAWA for the Help you have render to me and my family sir i pray God Strenghten you….
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Dinda Riexa

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Jody

Hello! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.
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Joe

I have to make a comeback and hope people forgive me. I am currently starting over again rebuilding my life (if you want to read about how it is going, I am writing a blog about it at http://rebuildingat30.blogspot.com). It took years to get to the point where I was even willing to rebuild. I don’t know how to do it, if I can do it. I am scared to be honest with you.

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Today I had a big cricket match that meant a lot to my team mate and I am probably the only reason why we lost so terribly! :(

I don’t really know how to make it up to my team mate because I can’t exactly put it into writing and to be honest I will probably be left out of future matches…

I feel so ashamed…

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