The F Word
Feedback is the breakfast of Champions
This really depends on what is being served for breakfast.
On one table there may be a veritable delight, a smorgasbord of scrumptious, mouthwatering goodies, strawberries and cream with freshly baked waffles, warm chocolate sauce and other naughty but nice confections.
On the next table another appetising selection, freshly poached eggs, a hearty and healthy omelet of your choice, fresh fruit, and yoghurt. A breakfast that will give you energy and meet the needs of your body for the day ahead.
Then a table of unappetising fare. Dry muesli, porridge oats without the milk, burnt toast without the butter. This breakfast would be difficult to swallow.
Feedback is indeed the breakfast of champions but it depends on what we are being served for breakfast and the strength of our digestive system.
“ For what we are about to receive may we be truly grateful ’’
The fast track to stopping ourselves from repeating the same mistakes is to ask for feedback.
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different result
Feedback comes in many forms, some we seek out, and some shows itself in small changes in our circumstances.
When my jeans are feeling a little tight, I recognise this as feedback that it is time to hit the gym.
When I have difficulty getting to sleep it is usually feedback that I have worked too late.
When a friend leaves three messages and the last one is “Are you still alive?” I recognise this feedback and know that it is time I called them.
When I am feeling energised, bouncy and alert, I recognise this as feedback that the healthy living plan is working.
Feedback is a gift
“but is it a present?’’
“That’s not a present!”
These words were said to me by a very serious and disappointed four year old Tom when I gave him a gift recently
I had handed him a colourful Christmas gift bag and he was eager to look inside.
The bag contained a book and some chocolate. Neither of which make a noise or require batteries. In this four year old’s world this clearly means they are not really presents. So he looked up and said “That’s not a present!”
His Mum was mortified, I thought it was very funny.
I learnt in a flash what not to buy four year olds for Christmas.
If you are handed a gift which you do not accept, who does the gift belong to?
How many times when presented with a gift have we secretly thought “That’s an interesting choice’’ and then put it away, not to be touched until our next spring clear out.
Feedback is a gift and as with all gifts, sometimes we really appreciate it and other times we might like to put it in a box and forget about it.
If we really do not like it then we must remember that feedback is often only one person’s opinion.
I remember an occasion, after giving a talk about ‘ the importance of making the most of life’, a member of the audience approached me and said that she would like to give me some feedback , a gift.
I thanked her and asked her to go ahead. She told me that there had been one element of my talk which had made her feel uncomfortable. She had not liked the analogy I had used when I broke life down into different stages, as due to her age, she would be in the latter stage. I thanked her for sharing that with me.
That night I received nine more comments from other members of the audience, all whom had loved the analogy I had used, and had found it really motivating.
I decided to let the first comment go as it did not match the rest of the feedback. However if in the future I was to present that same talk to a more mature audience, I would remember that comment.
Just because a gift is given it does not mean that we have to use it.
If you know that you are full, if you have no appetite for it, postpone your order.
Last year I started a new business The Leading Ladies Company. I was really excited about launching. It had been nine months in the planning, and just three days before we were about to launch there was a significant problem with the website which had led to a couple of very late nights and a fair amount of stress. Come the day of the launch party and the website going live I was shattered.
I had calls from a couple of friends, each with a wealth of experience in marketing and design. They both said that they were really eager to see the website and I knew that they would be able to give me some valuable feedback.
I told them that I was very excited for them to see it and that I would really appreciate it if
they would share their feedback in a certain format.
I gave them two questions to answer.
- What do you love about it?
- What could work even better for you?
I also requested that for today they only share the answer to question one. Save the constructive ideas until the following week when I had my energy back.
I was so exhausted that day and so much had gone wrong on the lead up, I knew that I was not in the right place to receive any negative feedback, no matter how well intentioned.
‘I needed the love and not the lessons on that day’
It worked perfectly, I got great feedback which boosted my energy levels and I was able to meet them at a later date to discuss any constructive comments they had.
Two very simple questions.
What did you like about it/ love about it?
What could have or would work even better for you?
This gives me the insight into what is working and also is a great way of getting input for fresh ideas for improvement.
Once you have received it, what will you do with it?
I mentioned my partner, who is now actually my fiancé. We have a really great relationship for about ninety percent of the time but like many relationships things do not always feel quite right. I really do not like it when life is not good with us as having a loving relationship with great communication is top of my list of goals.
A few months ago I was feeling really disconnected from him, we were bickering about small things and I was missing the feeling of being close and sharing with him.
We had got out of sync with each other and it was getting worse. When either of us tried to talk about it, the other one would get defensive, and no solutions were being found. We were starting to accuse each other and lay blame at each other’s feet rather than talk to each other.
As we both share the goal of a fabulous relationship with great communication, we recognised that things were not good and that we needed to do something about it.
We each created a short list of what was important to us in our idea of a great relationship.
On the shared lists were, great communication, spending time together, having fun, laughter, intimacy, trust, a shared vision and freedom.
We decided to have a points system and we would score each of these things with regard to where we thought we were now.
1 being poor, and 10 being the best it could be.
Great communication at this stage came out pretty low, both of us scoring it only 5.
The score of 5 was reached because we were both enjoying a couple of short phone calls during the day and the odd affectionate text.
To make it a 10 we discussed what we felt would need to happen.
I shared that I would like Terry to ask me more questions and be more inquisitive about my work and my friends. I would also like him to share with me more about what is on his mind and his thoughts on things.
Terry shared with me that when he gets home from work I am often still working or doing emails or catching up with social media and texts. He felt that I was not available to talk or that I wasn’t listening.
I work from home and had got into the habit of bringing my computer into the kitchen diner and working there as I liked being in that environment.
From this feedback we decided to redesign my office so that I loved the space. These days when Terry gets home from work, I leave my work and phone in the office, and we commit to a proper conversation about the day and what is happening in the world.
This has been brilliant. We both feel so much better and are connected again.
Each week now we do a quick check on how well we are scoring against what is important to us in our relationship.
No complaining, no moaning, just reviewing, giving feedback and responding. What I love about this is that it gives us the opportunity to look back and remember the good parts of the week.
Last week we were both really busy and had commitments most evenings so spending time together scored really badly.
This week we have made sure that we have each kept at least one night free for us to spend together.
Feedback when delivered in the right way, at the right time, can put you on the fast track to where you want to be, and improve performance and results.
When we are off track and things are not going quite right for us or if what we are doing seems like hard work and we are not seeing the results we would like, we should ask ourselves if there is any feedback that we are not picking up on.
Is there anyone we can ask who might be able to see it?
Is there anything obvious I’m missing? ?
Am I ready for breakfast the meal of champions?
Top Success Tips when requesting feedback:
Decide who to order it from, and how you would like it served:
What do you see as my successes?
How do you see me limiting myself?
What do you love about it?
What could work even better for you?
On a scale of 1-10 what score does this get?
Are you really hungry and ready to digest it?
You need to be prepared to be served for it to be successful
If I get it and do not like it, can I leave it?
Feedback is always one person’s opinion, as the saying goes “if the cap fits wear it”. If it does not then put it in a draw and forget about it.
If like me you hear the same story from more than one person it may be time to ‘don the cap!’
We may not always know what we are going to be offered for breakfast, but we can decide what to order, and when to eat it. Common sense tells us that this is the meal of the day, which will set us up, helps us grow and nourish our body and soul.
Skip it and it may prevent you from skipping to the success you deserve.
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