There is a responsibility in making a difference. A universal pact that the difference should, do no harm.
In Ethical Intelligence by Bruce Weinstein, PhD, the first principle Dr. Weinstein cites as essential to living an ethical life is ‘To do no harm’. He goes on to say that if you must do harm, minimize it. The example he gives is when you have no choice but to terminate an employee, do it in a way that retains their dignity, that respects and honours them as well as you and your organization.
Recently, in an effort to do something good for someone, I harmed them. It wasn’t intentional, harm seldom is when we come from a place of wanting to do good. But, in the act of creating ‘a moment’, I didn’t consider the consequences of some of the aspects to what I was doing and the recipient felt unheard and unseen.
I am 100% accountable for my footprint in the world and how I walk in other people’s lives.
When I take a misstep, when I create harm or hurt in another’s life, intentional or unintentional, it is my responsibility to get accountable and clean up my mess.
The most effective way I know to do that is to acknowledge my mistake, apologize (no excuses, no rationalizations, no blame-game), get accountable and commit to making amends and doing better.
Recently, I made a difference I didn’t want to make.
It provided an opportunity to recommit to doing my best, being my best, to paying attention, staying focused and present in what I do.
We all make mistakes. Mistakes can make a lasting impression that creates ‘worse’ when we do not clean them up. We can pretend, ignore and carry-on blithely,
We can hold ourselves accountable for what we’ve done.
Mistakes are an opportunity to create better when we turn up, pay attention, speak our truth and be 100% accountable for ourselves. When we turn up without expectation of our mistakes being made okay by the other and instead use our mistakes as an opportunity to be vulnerable, to create intimacy, closeness, better, we create a space where resentment does not find fertile ground to grow as we move closer in love and forgiveness.
In my mistake I have taken action. Embraced the opportunity to learn and grow. I have apologized and am committed to stay present in my desire to make a difference and do better every day.
It is the best I can do and my best is good enough.