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Own more than your business

Matt Morgan • Aug 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” - Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See (and author of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", etc.)

As much as we have explored ways to develop or expand your own business, there is another concept of ownership that must come with it - owning your mistakes.

This week's entry is a great example. Normally LFG is posted Thursdays at 3:00. Looking at the publish time we are a bit beyond that deadline. It isn't The Register's fault ... it's mine. While I can make all manner of excuses regarding odd circumstances, the universe hating me, or even blame the paper as its systems have been derpy lately, the fact of the matter was the time I usually spend writing was taken up by my monthly comic order and I didn't set my deadline alarm.

It feels good to say, despite the light it can cast on you should you find yourself in the position. Far too often when we watch TV, read a news article, or listen to the radio we hear meandering explanations, blame-shifting, or other manners of deflection. It's aggravating to say the least. Your customers, constituents, audience, or employ-ees/ers deserve more. Generally we are a forgiving society, especially if the person begging such a thing is a human being like you and me. It is only when you paint yourself or your situation as beyond the human norm that eyes roll. After all, who wants a boss who is every day the punchline of fate or can't handle the masses of resources, human or otherwise?

It may even be appropriate for you to ask someone for an apology even if one wasn't offered initially. If you do, keep a goal in mind. Beyond the act, use it as an opportunity to tactfully express yourself, thoughts, and the situation at hand. The stage is yours at that point, but you have the responsibility to guide things into a resolution else the apology demanded is as meaningless as the action that necessitated it.

Getting into a pinch is literally and emotionally painful. Embarrassment can be damaging in economic, professional, and other ways. But, handling the situation with a goal in mind is the key to success. While the saying "it's easier to ask for forgiveness than ask permission" is common, that attitude should not be relied upon unless you are willing to sacrifice a lifetime of credibility for momentary gain.

Thanks for your time and understanding. In parting, "so long and thanks for all the fish!"

Editor's note: As Mr. Morgan accepts responsibility in this blog, this Register staffer, Jessica Cuffman, also attempts to accept responsibility. Due to a number of circumstances, I didn't post this blog entry when Mr. Morgan sent it — nearly two weeks ago. I could make excuses. Bottomline, it just didn't happen. Apologies to readers who look forward to his entries each week.

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