#5 Lifeskills - Feedback?

I am having difficulty posting podcasts. Something is wrong with my formatting. Until I am able to figure it out, I will post this modified transcript of “The Pert Plan” podcast. :)

Previously we focused on the #1 lifeskill - Understanding that everything that happens to you is not always about you. These lifeskills are based on an article in Psychology Today, “Lessons You Won’t Learn in School” by Jena Pincott. 

The #2 lifeskill was “Focusing on other people without dwelling on how they view you.”

The 3rd lifeskill was “Realizing that you don’t have to act the way you feel.” even when you feel your feelings are just all over your face. Using the skill of self-distancing. 

The 4th lifeskill was “reframing it” where we see our short comings and look at them in a new light, or in a new frame, and see your mistakes as growth opportunities

Today’s lifeskill is about soliciting honest feedback from others. 

Organizational Psychologist Tasha Eurich wrote that people believe they are self-aware but few people actually are aware of how others perceive them. She wrote that there are internal and external forms of self-awareness. Internal is “how we see ourselves and our own values and passions” and external is “how others view us”. 

Jena Pincott wrote that “if we knew how others perceived us, we wouldn’t be blindsided by criticism or interactions that go awry for no apparent reason.” She wrote that people that are high in internal awareness don’t necessarily have high external self-awareness. 

It’s hard to know how others see us, isn’t it? It can take a lifetime to put 2 and 2 together and add it up to a vision of what you appear to be to others. You probably naturally take in people’s comments, or lack of comments, and swirl them around in your head. Maybe someone you met at an event tells you goodbye and says, “It was sooo nice to meet you. I really enjoyed talking to you about blah blah blah.” You may think, “She must have thought I was nice and could carry on a conversation.” But what if you met someone, the conversation was awkward and they never even told you goodbye. 

What are your thoughts then? Do you think less of yourself or less of them? I certainly can’t give my opinion on what might have gone down in that situation but every interaction we have with people probably gives us some insight into how we are perceived. 

If you are always getting rude remarks from everyone you meet, maybe you are interacting with people in a way that brings out the negative in them. Are you putting out negativity? 

You could be running into people and they are saying “Hey! How are you?” all the time. My sister says she just cannot bear going to the Publix grocery store sometimes because all the employees are sooo nice. I wonder if her smile and friendly demeanor are attracting that from others. Or maybe it is just that the Publix employees ARE really nice. 

If you are wondering how others perceive you and really want to improve your external self-awareness, this lifeskill could help - it’s soliciting honest feedback from others. Does that sound scary? This step is going to take a fair amount of humility and vulnerability. Jena and Eurich suggest that you find up to five “loving critics” and ask them a few questions. 

“What am I doing that I should keep doing? 

What should I stop doing? 

What about me annoys you?” 

These questions will reveal to you some strengths and weaknesses in your interactions with others. 

Being married is a workshop of feedback. In my own marriage sometimes I think, “Stop with the feedback. I KNOW I am being grumpy!” Anybody with me on this? Marriage can definitely bring awareness to your blind spots in self awareness but hopefully you can take the good with the bad and use it all to become a more aware and well rounded person. 

The benefit of feedback from others is that there may be things you need to change about yourself. You may also get feedback of things that you never really gave yourself credit for. Maybe someone sees you as a very giving and sacrificial person and you never saw that side of yourself. Or maybe you talk and never listen to others. You might need to zip your lips a little bit more often. 

Once you get feedback from others, take the time to process it. Write what they said down and then try to be honest with yourself and see if there is any evidence to support their comments. If so, you have a choice to either foster the good or alter the bad. 

Are you willing to take the steps to getting feedback from some loving friends or co-workers? I think it is a very brave step to take but maybe it will be enlightening. Try it. Let me know how it goes!