Once upon a time before I became a real estate agent I was a sportswriter. In fact, to this day I still write free-lance articles for the Associated Press including spring training coverage of the Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers.
This past March, I was walking from the press box at Maryvale Stadium in Phoenix to the Brewers' clubhouse in the middle of their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Apparently a Dodgers pitcher gestured, one Brewers player took offense and then Prince Fielder, the Brewers' first baseman, came out of the dugout to take further offense to the entire situation.
Since I was on the walkway behind the elevated press box, I saw none of this; all I heard was the roar of the crowd.
When I reached the Brewers clubhouse, I approached Fielder and said "what the hell happened", not knowing at all what had taken place and looking quite like a clueless sportswriter looking for a quite. Another player quickly (and loudly) shooed me away. (It's interesting I felt slightly intimidated even though I'm only two years old, stand an inch taller and weigh damn near twice as much as this other player.)
There's no chance Fielder would remember the situation. But I did. And it's been bothering me.
By chance, I was at Chase Field this past week when the Brewers were back in town and I found myself in the Brewers' clubhouse after they beat the Arizona Diamondbacks. I also found myself standing right next to Prince Fielder at his locker while we waited for another player.
And so, I apologized. I said I knew he wouldn't remember, but that I did. I explained that I wasn't a bloodsucker looking for a quote; I really didn't have the slightest idea what was happening and, as I often do, I resorted to my old prep sports coverage mode and asked the nearest person what had happened.
He said it was cool. And so it was.
Taking personal responsibility for an error isn't about the seemingly aggrieved party, though they certainly appreciate it in the vast majority of cases. It's about yourself. It's about character. It's about looking in the mirror and knowing you are not the type of person who makes excuses for things you cause to go wrong.
It's a thought that has been on my mind greatly this morning as I argue with a lender that held one of my buyers' files in the underwriting department for nine days because a couple of underwriters were on vacation. The buyer's now facing a per diem charge. Rather than take responsibility for the problem, the lender is shifting everything to me and my ability to negotiate the elimination of the per diem.
Maybe I'll be able to do so. But even so, when this lender looks in the mirror, one can only hope he realizes that he made an error and shifted the blame as quickly as a 5-year-old trying to get away with writing on the wall in crayon.
It's got to b a difficult way to live.
Photo credit: Steve Paluch via Flick Create Commons
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