“Feedback is food for the soul”. If you are a content creator this will probably sink deeper. The other day I was having this conversation with an acquaintance. We were talking about how long it takes to think through content. It’s even more taxing when you start to think about how to deliver it. This process applies whether you are a writer, a speaker a trainer or a TV host. In his own words “its feedback that keeps me going; If I get to inspire one person today, then the day was worth living” He said.
These words totally resonated with me. It however hit me differently end of last week. After every training it is common practice to ask for feedback. Normally when we ask for feedback we are looking to improve content or delivery. I have found this feedback a major learning tool in my training journey. Last week was different though.
After a training a participant offered to share his feedback verbally, he had a lot to say. Some of it was, “I wish my daughter would get to meet you, I wish I learnt some of these things when I was younger.” He is in his early fifties and very learned by all standards. He was actually skeptical attending a class that was being facilitated by “young ladies”. It’s amazing how relative the word young can be. It is however what he narrated next that caught my attention.
“Today when my son brought me tea, I looked up and told him, Thank you. For the first time I took my eyes off the screen to look at him. He must have gotten confused. He actually held his head in his hands in disbelief. You told us this training is not just for work but for our personal life as well and I started practicing today.” These are the moments I live for. Of what use are we as good managers if we are failing as human beings?
This action was preceded by a training session on personality, emotional intelligence and communication. At his age he had never thought how his personality and emotional awareness affects the people around him. That is why he wished he had learnt it when he was younger. It is however not too late. Am sure the son will get over the culture shock soon and embrace the new version of his father. More importantly I hope he will also learn from the old man and become a better son, friend, father….
The action was even more profound to me in a different angle. I am sure a lot of people have come across such trainings, I have probably trained hundreds of people on the same. However very few take it down to real action like this man did. I have coached young people who cannot seem to take action yet they have all the information that they need. What separates this man from the rest is his mindset. There is power in having a growth mindset. It allows you to openly acknowledge what you are not good at and do something about it without shifting blame or giving excuses.
It does not matter how many motivation talks you listen to, how many books you read, how many mentors you get or how good your coach is. If you do not get down to it, nothing moves. If you are not genuine about who you are, where you are and why you are there; you are just riding on a feel good moment. Next time you think of looking for help or information about something, ask yourself; are you willing to take the challenge?
Before you start justifying your behaviors, allow me to demonstrate a growth mindset and how it differs from a fixed mindset.
Check how you respond on below;
- Desire: Do you say I will stick to what I know OR I want to learn new things?
- Skills: Do you say its fine the way it is OR Is this really my best and what else can I improve?
- Effort: Do you say this is tedious and a waste of time OR I know this will help me even if it’s difficult?
- Challenges: Do you say am not really smart so I give up OR I will use another strategy and learn from my mistakes?
- Feedback: Do you say this is boring and unfair OR I recognize my weakness and I know what to fix?
- Talented friends: Do you say it’s easy for him/her because they are lucky/smart OR do you say I need to know how they did it so Let me try to figure it?
If you respond with the latter sentences, then you have a growth mindset.
In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than threatening; rather than thinking “Am going to reveal my weakness” you say, “Here’s a chance to grow”. Carol Dweck
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