just got home from seeing frost/nixon, and was really impressed with the story, how it unfolded. it’s impossible not to transpose some bush, some reagan onto the nixon character – the story is all about acknowledgment.
which is not to say that if bush had been apologizing for the last nearly-8 years, that that would be enough. i don’t have a lot of patience for sorry, i read ntozake shange too early in my life and it’s made me never be too interested in “sorry” when improvement is what’s called for.
that said, it is deep to me how forgiveness, redemption, and apologies work. that is – they can’t be skipped. when a great violence has been done, or a great crime against humanity committed – when it can’t be undone…that acknowledgment is one of the ways we begin to pave a new path. to apologize is to say – i have learned, and i won’t do it again. to apologize and then repeat the offense? well then you are the boy who cried sorry, and no one cares.
i have never thought it was a weakness to apologize when you really did something wrong. but i also don’t think it’s good to get guilty-minded, and start apologizing for everything. there’s a sweet and genuine spot called ownership. i think as a leader it is particularly important to hold that space.
today i got an email from someone i love dearly, with some important feedback in it. i have sat really thinking about this email, about the critical feedback in it and how to appropriately respond – where is the appropriate place for apology, how do i acknowledge my power in the situation, and what are the changes i need to make to ensure this doesn’t happen again? time, as i’ve experienced it, doesn’t move backwards. this is why actions matter to me so much more than words.
i’m no nixon, i’m no bush…and yet, we all make decisions every day that have impacts beyond what we can see immediately. if we are to exist, coexist, and evolve in this chaotic incredible world, we have to stand fully present in the experience. that cognizance gives us the ability to reckon, and that reckoning gives us the ability to learn, forgive, be forgiven, and grow.
onward and upward.