Wednesday, 14 March 2012

march 14, 2012

today has been a doozy. there's this publication i write for that is in the habit of making changes to important aspects of my articles without consulting me. sometimes, these changes lead to minor factual errors that result from the editing process and don't amount to much personal or professional strife because they can be easily corrected but, today, a real betrayal of trust resulted between me and one of my sources.

i'm not going to get into the details here. the point is, it made me think about right action. how to make something right after i've been involved in a wrong. how to be properly accountable to people whether the wrong was directly because of me or not. there are questions of right action (and steps required to mend a wrong) whether i was fully at fault, partially at fault or simply a passive bystander in a bad situation.

the situation reminded me of the 5 steps for fixing a fuck-up that i learned in a workshop with the fabulous andrea zanin. i hope she doesn't mind me summarizing it here:

Step 1: Be a grown-up and own up to it.
Step 2: Apologize. And mean it.
Step 3: Listen.
Step 4: Repair things.
Step 5: Follow through.  

i've used this process before, and it really works. though, given that most of us never make it past step one, it's no wonder we walk around with so many grudges and bad feelings about our day-to-day experiences. today, i had this formula in mind when i was apologizing to my source and, i hope, mending our relationship. it didn't really matter that the offensive wording wasn't mine. i had assured her during the interview that i understood her need for things to be worded a very particular way. we had negotiated something that i should have taken every precaution to ensure would happen. i gave my editor the benefit of the doubt about something i shouldn't have left to chance. while the wording wasn't my choice, i definitely take responsibility for not communicating my source's needs and wants to my editor. i guess i figured he wouldn't have made such a major change without consulting me. but, live and learn, i guess.

if you'd like to learn more about the 5 steps for fixing a fuck-up - and i highly recommend it! - read andrea's full post on the topic here. note that the context of the o.p. was about fucking up in a kink context, but it applies to most other contexts.

if we all apologized this way, there would be a shit-ton less anger and resentment in the world.

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