After devoting years of my youth as a “bench-warmer” member of our local swim team, I returned to the pool in November, 2005, as therapy for a sad personal situation. I dragged myself to each master class and would return from each session too exhausted to ruminate on the injustice of it all.
I stopped the master classes upon returning to the U.S. in 2007 but have been addicted to chlorine ever since. I swim one to three times a week, usually twice for 30ish minutes. Since 2007, doing the math that’s 10 whole years, I have not gotten any faster or stronger. #amateur
No feedback means no improvement. Becoming a stronger swimmer is something I’d like to do, but not that much (so far.)
Becoming a better writer, a more savvy business owner and communicator are important. I routinely seek professional feedback for these skills. Because I’m a pro.
To those who pay attention, life gives real feedback like these examples:
- your golf ball always slices to the right
- you’re not making sales
- your body is tired and dragging
- you get a knot in your stomach before stepping onto the scales
- your house resembles a war zone
- you feel that life is somehow cheating on you
- people pull out their phones when you start speaking
That is all worthy feedback.
These are messages from life telling you that something is wrong. It’s now time to start paying attention. It’s pro time.
The irony is that while feedback is essential, most of it is amateur — including what often passes for feedback at work.
Feedback you get on the Internet from people you don’t know (and most Internet content) is not pro.
Comments that get back to you from third parties, is not pro. Would you accept a medical diagnosis from the colleague of a colleague who never attended medical school?
Professionals seek feedback from people who are able to help you (because they do what you aspire to do). That intimate clan of pro’s may or may not include your boss.
It has happened before that a performance review feels like “we want you to stay here but not enough to give you a juicy raise.” Or, “we’re not giving you this promotion but we don’t want you to quit either.” Or “I have no idea but I’m the boss and have to do this so here are some random comments.” #sorrynotsorry
Sports coaches and musicians know how rare is a self-taught professional. #likeaunicorn
Good news is….you can cultivate useful feedback, if you’re willing to ask the right questions and Go Pro. Some helpful questions include:
– How am I creating or allowing this to happen?
– What am I doing that I need to be doing more of?
– What am I doing that’s not working?
– What do I need to be doing less of?
-What experiment can I try to get better?
Ask someone you trust, “What is one way you see I am holding myself back?”
Ask your spouse or partner, “How can I communicate with you better?”
Ask your boss, “What’s one thing I can do to perform better in this role?” (In my experience you have to ask this multiple times before you get anything useful.)
When you’re ready for Pro Time, you’ll uncover ways to get more feedback into your life.
Pro Time means seek pro feedback.
Have you read Extreme Ownership? Unlike a lot business books (most?) this is a worthwhile read the whole way through. The military stories from Iraq were surprisingly interesting and the lessons highly relevant to life in corporate America.
In Extreme Ownership the authors (Jocko Willink and Lief Babin) stress how you have to even take ownership for getting your message (including what they call “Situational Awareness”) up and down the chain of command — instead of complaining about how no one understands the work your team is doing.
Taking ownership (extreme or otherwise) for your outcomes involves feedback.
It’s Pro Time. Go get some feedback. Ask someone you respect for 1 suggestion to get better.