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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

How to Fess Up and Still Be Cool

Updated: Sep 6, 2023


Remember Happy Days, the TV sitcom set in the 1950s? Some of the funniest scenes were when The Fonz, the epitome of tough, cool, and sexy, had to admit he was wrong and say he’s sorry.

We all mess up sometimes. As painful as it can be, the best way to recover is to acknowledge your mistake and take responsibility for it.

Being humble can feel vulnerable and uncomfortable but accepting responsibility for your actions is the right thing to do. And it paves the road for improvement, growth, and stronger relationships.

There are two key things to keep in mind when communicating after a failure: Acknowledge the mistake and be transparent about what you will do so that it doesn’t happen again.

Sometimes it can be hard to find the words to get back on track. Below are 12 different ways to jumpstart your communication, so that your people know you are owning your mistakes.


1. I’m sorry

2. I apologize.

3. I was wrong.

4. My behavior was unacceptable.

5. My actions did not meet my standards.

6. I can and will do better.

7. I made a mistake.

8. I take responsibility for this.

9. This was my fault.

10. I’ve let you down.

11. I want to make this right.

12. I recognize this was wrong.

Check out our most recent blog for more information about gracefully moving through mistakes and making your company better.

And, for laughs, watch these videos of The Fonz attempting to be humble.

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