In Massachusetts, where I practice, we have been very fortunate in having excellent professional sports teams, with enlightened management. Only the Bruins, our representaive in the National Hocket League, has not won a championship in the 21st century. The Patriots have won three times, and the Red Sox twice.
Still, there are times of frustration for New Englanders as fans, and last night’s Patriot’s 34-35 loss to Indianapolis surely ranks as one of the most difficult pills for me to swallow as a sports fan. What made it worse for me was the rather blase manner in which Bill Belichick tossed off a bad decision late in the game, and never just said “I made a mistake”.
That smug attitude in defeat got me to thinking about what I would have done in a similar situation. I have been practicing real estate law in Mssachuseets for more than forty years, and I have made many mistakes along the way. There was a time when I would make excuses for my mistakes, or, worse yet, blame others for problems I created myself.
Just about the time I started getting things done on time rather than making excuses why I had not, I realized that most clients would accept an honest apology, especially when it is coupled with an action plan to fix the problem. In fact, i have had some of my best triumphs after I started out in the worst of positions.
Americans are great “forgivers”. They are ready to give people a second chance almost all the time. Keep that in mind when you are practicing your profession. Lying, or making lame excuses, is not the course of action for a person of integrity. Admit what you did wrong, and try to fix it. If you demonstrate humility now and again, you will endear yourself to those people who sought you out because of your confidence and talent.
There is a balance there, and we should seek it every day. Coach Belichick should have just said he made a mistake. We all do, and with his track record, he is entitled to a few. So are all of us.