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Leadership Lessons: Apologize like Tony Robbins

3things jordan myska allen personal growth relatefulness sorry stayinlove Dec 29, 2021


I’m pondering this years-old Tony Robbins apology (re #metoo) in the context of a few well-intentioned organizations I see facing some serious karma. I also recently made some personal apologies for big mistakes that happened under my leadership a few years back. One takeaway: When I’m under fire it can be very hard to apologize and take steps to change without making myself or the ‘accuser’ wrong—but it’s almost always the right thing to do. Why? Because unconscious assumptions that I’m irredeemably guilty crop up as defensiveness, which becomes a vicious cycle of guilt-projection-attack as I feel justified in making someone else wrong, but secretly to not feel my own pain, perpetuating a false sense of separateness. (Do you relate πŸ˜‚?)

When I can genuinely say to someone who’s telling me I’ve hurt them, “I’m sorry, I see your pain, I support you and what you stand for, and I’m going to make sure this doesn’t happen again”, I affirm both of our inherent innocence (totally separate from fixing whatever I may have screwed up). I can then genuinely hear them; probably there is something I need to change, and when I’m humble enough to listen I’m grateful for the reflection—since I can’t ever see my own face.


With love, Jordan


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