There is an online retailer called The Pearl Outlet. Now who buys pearls? Especially on line? Well that is something that they wanted to know. If they did a marketing campaign that said, “Say you are sorry with pearls” would that work?
So they commissioned a study of 8,000 customers and a real surprise popped up.
Those customers who were willing to say they were sorry earned more money. In fact they earned twice as much as those who rarely, or never apologized.
It turns out that those who earned $100,000 a year or more were twice as likely to apologize as those who earned $25,000 a year. Now don’t get ahead of yourself. It is not that they had more money. Their research shows that they just tended to be more apologetic.
There was a point in the past twenty years when apology by a leader was seen as a real weakness. We think of President Nixon thumbing his nose at the American populace in his guilt. The message went out “if you are big enough and have enough clout you can do anything you want.”
Fast forward to today. Those arrogant bosses,self centered leaders and celebrities are not respected anymore. Today an apology is a sign of confidence, of civility. It shows a degree of maturity and . . . dare I say it . . . emotional intelligence.
All the self justification, the fault finding and the blaming of others. Why haul around all that negative dead weight. Do we really think we are fooling others? They see that fault and our unwillingness to do anything about it as arrogance. Who have you wronged? Whose feelings have you slammed to the floor? What person did you just walk over?
Remember the 4 R’s of Apology?
Come clean. Find a little honesty in your “self” inspection. I am married to the most saintly woman on Gods green earth. Do we argue? Do you see me turning red right now? I know at the judgement bar He is going to look down at me and shake His head and ask, “what were you thinking?” We become so good at justifying our side of things. Given time most likely you will realize that you were in error.
You have to say it. You have to speak the words, “I am sorry.” This is where that most elusive of the cardinal qualities – humility – kicks in.
Put your money where your mouth is. Words are just that. But the actions that show the words have mass; that they have heft are a must. What do you need to pay back? Who do you need to make things right with? Here is where the true manifestation is found, otherwise your apology is just lip service and you don’t really mean it. This is where you walk away from the $100,000 income and satisfy yourself with the $25,000 income. This where an investment of time, money, or actions say you really believe in an apology.
I remember Johnny Carson making a joke about President Jimmy Carter’s brother, Billy. Billy Carter was a one person Americas Funniest Video show all by himself. Speaking of Billy Carter Carson said, “I don’t mind him shooting himself in the foot. But the problem is that he reloads so fast.”
Don’t reload. You have got to let them know that you won’t do it again. Perhaps ask, “if I go that direction again and you see it happening . . . would you let me know?”
It does indeed look like the meek will inherit the world.
They will buy it with their own money.
And I am not sorry for saying that.