In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about the emotional bank account. He explains that when people do things, their behavior results in either a deposit or a withdrawal in someone else’s account. When the account balance is high, there is trust. When it is low – or overdrawn, the relationship is strained.
There’s another expression that goes like this: “You are only as good as your last at-bat.” Under this rule, it matters not what your account balance is. If you mess up, you are withdrawing everything at once.
The two metaphors are not incompatible. In real life, positive behavior seems to result in small deposits while negative behavior results in large – very large withdrawals.
Scary? You bet. The good news is that a sincere apology following a mistake or wrongdoing can go a long way in replenishing the account.
Oddly enough, apologies can result in the largest deposits.