This morning, I watched Good Morning America as former Today Show co-host Billy Bush spoke with Robin Roberts about his vulgar exchange with Donald Trump from years ago that was caught on video and released during the Presidential election. While Trump went on to become President, the viral video of the incident cost Bush his job.
Bush is the latest public personality to be embarrassed by previous behavior and an illustration how easily one incident can harm a career. While most of us strive to live our work and home lives ethically, we can appreciate Bush’s attempt to bounce back from a huge career setback.
Clearly, in my career I have made mistakes. I have found the more that lands on my plate, the easier it becomes to make mistakes – big and small.
So, what happens when your mistake is big, maybe even a career setback like Bush experienced in this visual and digital age...How do you recover? The steps are clearer than you might think. Here’s what we can all learn from Billy Bush.
- Admit your mistake and apologize. In my workplace, and I’m sure in yours, you have had people who make mistakes and try to cover them up. Almost always that makes the situation worse. Bush will continue to have critics but coming out on camera and explaining his actions and stating there is no excuse for his actions was a start.
- Lean on experts. Billy Bush admitted to Robin Roberts that he has spent the last seven months doing a lot of soul searching. He now meditates, practices mindfulness and yoga. "He knows it's a process which led him to be ready and able to do the interview, Robin Roberts told the audience after the interview. DUring the seven months, Bush went to Tony Robbins workshops to better himself. He said Tony pointed at him and said: "One bad moment does not define who you are."
- Redefine yourself. How will the mistake make you better at your job going forward? Bush said at the time of the video, he was "insecure and a pleaser." He says he is ready to get back to work because there is purpose, clarity and acceptance of his mistake. "I feel like a better man." Bush says he has redefined himself and wants to do purposeful reporting going forward.
- Share your lessons. Everybody has made a mistake, but what have you learned from yours? Sharing what you have learned is a path toward moving forward. Bush said his advice for young men entering his profession is "believe in yourself. Be confident. Stay true to who you are. I think I sacrificed my own dignity in that moment," he said of the Trump incident.
Whether or not you are a Billy Bush fan, or believe in the sincerity of his apology, recovering from a career setback isn't easy and watching how Bush fares offers lessons for all.