Accountability: Words Are A Choice


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Ever heard a politician say the wrong thing?

The governor of New York told the citizens belonging to the opposition party they should move to Florida. Ouch.

The challenger for the Wisconsin governorship made the mistake of saying to his audience, “Take up pitchforks and torches!“ Oops.

Campaigning in Florida, a pol stated, “Those who support my opponent should vote for him. I don’t want your vote. If you have hate in your heart, keep it there.” Wow.

I’m no politician, but as a professional speaker, I’d love to coach political people. My input???

Stop saying stupid stuff.

But Wait …

Have I said stupid stuff?

Yep. Like the time I asked an audience if anyone owned tropical parrots. When a nice man raised his hand, I inquired, “How many do you have, Sir?” He proudly shouted, “Two!” To which I responded, “Well, the Millers have seven. Guess I win!”

The worst words ever? Nah. But bad enough to embarrass the fella and push the entire crowd of 200 away from me, which is never the goal of a professional speaker.

I assume none of us want to push people away … amiright?

People have also said the wrong words to me. I was at my corporate desk many years ago when my wife, Karen, called to say, “Our roof is leaking! Water’s pouring into the living room!” When I rushed to my boss, whose income was way beyond mine, to ask if I could go home, she mused, “Hope you have a few thousand dollars in the bank for a new roof!”

Actually, in 1985, we didn’t have $200 in savings.


Examples such as these represent how easy it is to say the wrong thing. I’ve struggled with this all of my life—because my mouth has always run ahead of my brain.

Like the time I said to my young wife, “Why can’t you be happy all of the time?” That question didn’t solve any marital problems we were having—and may have created new ones. 

Yet, as I’ve grown in years and gained <some> wisdom, I’ve come to realize what I say—is my choice.

The words I speak begin with a decision to speak them. No one controls my tongue but me. I’m accountable for each and every word I utter. I can’t blame anyone else for what I say out loud. Period.

The Fix

Words can’t really be taken back. Once they’re spoken, they’re spoken, they’re out there. But, I can …


Being human, we’ve all said the wrong thing. Are we self-aware enough, though, to admit our mistake to ourselves and sincerely apologize to the hearer of our words?

If so, we’re growing. We’re improving. We’re becoming better people.

As a boss, spouse, friend, neighbor, or colleague, have you chosen to speak the wrong words? If so, swallow that pride, eat some crow, go to that person who heard them, and utter new words such as, “I am so sorry for what I said. It was wrong and I apologize.”

Or something like that. 😉

When we do this, we feel better, the other person feels better—and the world is a better place.

Who do I need to apologize to today?

Grab your QBQ! book here or Amazon


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