Practice Recovery | Fundamental #23

In his “Essay on Criticism”, Alexander Pope is credited with, “To err is human; to forgive, divine …” 

Mistakes will be made. 

How we respond to these foibles can make all the difference in one’s personal and professional life. As business coaches, we say practicing recovery demonstrates a commitment to relationships that sets us apart from the herd of superficial connections.

It’s about accountability.

Just five days ago I had an interaction with a client where I gave myself the opportunity to practice this.

In a group setting, I offered up some coaching to a man after something he said. His reaction wasn’t what I intended to elicit, but the group continued the conversation.

Doing my best not to derail the discussion I waited to check in with him at the first break.

I approached it like a simple clean up. I started with my commitment and then apologized for any negative impact I may have had. In this case, he told me there was no offense taken and what I said to him had been nothing but positive. 

Perhaps it was unnecessary in this instance, but when we practice recovery as a high-performance behavior the commitment to keep it clean redefines how we maintain relationships.

I sensed the possibility of something being off, so I took action. Of course, my intention in the first place was to contribute, not to offend, but I’ve noticed people tend to be more affected by my impact than my intentions. 

This was a good-case scenario, but I can assure you I’ve been blind to my impact many times and continued on by NOT practicing recovery as a result.

Like all our fundamental behaviors this has nothing to do with perfection but does prescribe diligent awareness. The best we can hope for in cases where we don’t notice our impact is to keep our awareness heightened and stay open to feedback from others.

Now, back to forgiveness:

A key ingredient is to give yourself a break. When we step out of the world of RIGHT & WRONG we can allow our selves the grace to screw things up every now and then.

I know if I’m wrapped up in guilt about doing something wrong, I’m more likely to defend my actions than to take accountability. 

Another real beauty of this practice is that it creates a safe environment ripe for full self-expression.

When we know we have a good clean-up tool at our fingertips we are free to communicate openly. Walking on eggshells in any relationship can restrict creativity, productivity, vitality, love and a host of other things we hold dear. 

How can we support you in restoring a relationship, in getting back in the game?

I’d love to hear from you on how you are practicing recovery.



Fundamental #23 | Practice Recovery

When mistakes or errors in judgment happen, “own it.” Take the necessary steps to communicate to the appropriate parties, acknowledge your accountability, and set corrective steps in motion. “Get back in the game” quickly.


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