The Four Hardest Words You’ve Never Said

I had a sinking feeling when the radio interview was over. I’m always critical of my performance, but this time something didn’t feel right.

Radio interviews are becoming common and I didn’t want to live with the story I was making up in my head.

forgiveness quote

Email:

I sent the show’s host an email.

“… I feel like I didn’t move the conversation along well. But, before I went too far, I wonder if you have any feedback…”

Reply:

“…I did a poor job of leading today’s interview…Will you forgive me?!.!”

Shock:

The words, “Will you forgive me,” get stuck somewhere between the heart and the head. Just the thought of saying, “Will you forgive me,” makes me think of reasons I don’t need to say it.

I’m filled with respect for a person with the courage and integrity to use the four hardest words I can think of.

My reply:

I thought the host did a fine job.

I was ready to fire off a quick email that said, no big deal. But those four words, at the end of his email, called for a better response.

Ultimately, I included this in my reply:

“I did not take offense, but, when someone asks for forgiveness, I feel it’s important to extend it. You’re forgiven. I find forgiveness, both in the asking and in the giving, a humbling thing.”

Asking forgiveness:

  1. Is taking responsibility for your side of a failure or offense, without excusing or accusing another.
  2. Invites improvement next time.
  3. Isn’t saying, “I’m sorry.” “I’m sorry,” is a pathetic substitute for, “Will you forgive me.”
  4. Feels vulnerable, but protecting your status diminishes others.
  5. Inspires a culture of integrity. We see through people who pretend to have it all together.

Leaders who forgive say, “Let’s start again.”

What concerns you about asking for forgiveness?

**Next radio interview is Thursday, 4/17 on WJOB1230 (Chicago area) at 6:00 p.m. EDT. (Join me. It streams on the Internet.)