Today’s Thought: A clear conscience is far more valuable than money.
This week I realised that I had made a mistake at work. It was a genuine mistake, but it affected someone else greatly. As soon as I realised what I had done, I felt that stab of panic: ‘Oh no! This is my fault! What can I do? I don’t want to have messed this up for that person!’
For about a minute, I sat at my desk, penning a short email to the person who had reminded me of what I was meant to have done (the thing I had forgotten all about)! I initially thought I could write a half truth, claiming that I had only remembered to do part of it. Maybe saying that would enable the person impacted by my mistake to be less affected. I wrote the email and immediately deleted it. I wrote it again; I deleted it again. Something was telling me that this wasn’t the way to deal with this situation – an invisible Jiminy Cricket whispering in my ear!
I took a deep breath and went to find the person who was about to feel the impact of my mistake and asked to speak to them. I told them what I had forgotten to do and apologised and told them what I needed to do to put it right. I could see they were upset, but they didn’t shout at me and, just as important, I wasn’t sweating with the pressure of a half truth being told (and nor had my nose grown Pinocchio style)! Despite being genuinely sorry and embarrassed about my mistake, I felt confident in the conversation I was having.
As soon as I had finished confessing, I emailed the colleague who had pointed out my mistake and owned up to them as well. They didn’t admonish me, they simply asked me to keep them updated.
I was honest and the sky didn’t fall in, no one shouted and the problem was solved far sooner than if I had chosen to take the dishonest path.
Honesty – a magical and powerful character trait to calm anxiety and solve problems!