Yesterday afternoon about 4 p.m., I discovered I had given myself a potentially really nasty Halloween trick. I had failed to bookmark and act within a clearly defined deadline, and realized, with a sinking feeling, that I could be under personal legal obligation for something like $10,000 in costs for a service that would be of extremely limited immediate value to me or my business.
I wish (or more accurately wish I didn’t find it necessary to even think of this) I could have a copy of my desperate-sounding voice mail recording to the other organization’s sales representative, who had acted in good faith throughout the experience. Certainly my family knew something was rather wrong, when I went into my “hissy fit” mode, that (they know almost alway) correlates with a not-so-healthy bout of very loud and anxious negative self-esteem noise.
By 9:00 p.m., the problem was under control. The sales representative sent an email saying “not to worry” and he would work to resolve the problem, and I would indeed not be on the hook for the unwelcome extra costs.
But what about my own actions, (in)maturity, failure to keep notes of my obligations, and so on?
Certainly, the hissy fit didn’t reflect well on me. However, I also (once I had calmed down) made peace with the problem — I decided to give things some time and then weighed the maximum negative consequence and how I could mitigate the problem. I realized that the situation, while painful, at worst would be an expensive lesson, but not one that would destroy my life. I could take some measures to recover at least part of the loss, if necessary, and maybe could turn it into something that would be a bit fun and even profitable.
We all screw up from time to time.
Most of the time, when dealing with individuals and organizations with a reasonable degree of integrity, mistakes do not represent permanent risks and can be resolved.
When you spend money, effort and resources on marketing and things aren’t working right, you’ll rarely suffer from a bit of humility and recognition that you have made a mistake. In these situations, consider the worst possible outcome, take steps to mitigate the problem, and seek some support. Things will probably turn out for the better.