Episode 52: Feedback You Want But Don’t Want – Leadership Arts Associates

Episode 52: Feedback You Want But Don’t Want

The Transcript:

Hello, friends. Samm Smeltzer here, the host of “The HRart of It”. On this episode, we’re talking about feedback, the feedback that you ask for, but secretly deep down inside, you wish that you don’t receive. Let’s get to the heart of it already. Here we go.

Hello again. Thank you so much for taking a listen to this episode of “The HRart of It”. As always, I’m just so incredibly blessed to have listeners and us just plowing through, sharing. If you don’t know, and this is the first time for you, I like to call this my plog, my blog via podcast, episode since that seems to be where my comfort level is. My blog kind of as a personal expression, talking about some really large growth things that I’m going through, and hopefully helped inspire you to dig a little deeper and move a little further on your personal and professional development journey.

It was only inevitable that we were going to have to talk about feedback. I have been hinting quite a bit on the podcast about how this summer in particular, and now we’re jumping into fall, has been a great year of growth for me. I’ve been doing all kinds of things, a little bit of life coaching, a little bit of certification classes, a little bit of just everything, working with a speaking coach, working with some PR people, developing a personal brand in addition to the Leadership Arts brand. I’ve been all over. Part of that, having this great team that’s assembled around you, is you’re looking for that feedback. You’re looking for these people to push you and guide you and shove you down the right direction. There’s a trust there. I think I knew that this point was coming, but I didn’t really want to process it too early. I waited for it to happen.

This weekend, my husband and I were leaving to get away just for the night. We went and visited St. Michaels, Maryland, which is beautiful, a very stunning, nice little town on the Chesapeake Bay. If you haven’t gotten to go, go. I want to go back and experience it some more because I feel like our time there was just so short lived that I didn’t get to really partake in everything that that town has to offer and the experience. Plus, with it being fall now instantly on the East Coast, it was too chilly to … I shouldn’t even say that, because it was really warm on Sunday. It was just that we had to leave soon and I’m one of those people that’s always thinking about, “We got to get on the road. We got to get going.” I didn’t want to get too involved in anything. Saturday when we had arrived, it was a bit chilly and I was tired, which is just the definition of Samm lately.

We got away because next week kicks off a mini tour for me, doing some speaking engagements. I have three or four conferences coming up and they’re all back to back. Everybody is usually towards the end of September/early October, and then I have a little bit of a break before we have the men’s conference that’s kicking off the beginning of November. We tried to get some “us time” in before all of that chaos begins, all that fun chaos, but the chaos that is my fall schedule.

While we were taking off, I finally got an email with feedback regarding some materials, marketing materials, that we’ve been putting into place. I really made some bold decisions lately that no one has really seen yet because that announcement is coming hopefully, I’m hoping, hoping, hoping, towards the end of this fall by like November, very last resort December. It’s just some really cool marketing stuff going on. I’ve been pitching out what my decisions have been to so many different kinds of people to hear what they think. That mixture of people, it only makes sense that some of them are there for a purpose to be brutally honest.

I received some feedback that was 110% fair. Everything that was on there I could totally understand it. As somebody who has worked in the corporate world for over a decade before going out on my own, I totally understood why it made sense, even why it made good business sense. Inside I struggled with it, and so I really had to ask myself, trying to do a self-check as far as if it was my defensive mechanism kicking in. In the past, I had that as a habit, that my personal defensive system would kick in when anybody would give me criticism. It was very hard for me to listen to the criticism, even though I knew that feedback is a excellent part of the process. We all think that, or hope, that we do things perfectly, even though that’s not the case all the time. That’s not the case any of the time. I don’t know if I’ve ever done anything perfectly. I know where I’ve done things right, where I felt like it was perfect in that moment of what needed to happen, but there’s always something that you can change.

In my past, becoming defensive was just a part of it. Recently, I’ve been able to put that to rest. I’ve been able to be at peace and find my stillness when I’m faced with a situation where I would have typically become defensive. That’s something that I have been working hard on since starting Leadership Arts Associates because I’ve encountered different kinds of situations and circumstance. I didn’t realize becoming an entrepreneur how many more things are personal to you on the professional side because these businesses are you. They’re your livelihood. They’re your blood, sweat, and tears. It’s natural that I would be a little more personally protective of those things. This was something, a coping skill, a growth spurt, that I needed to have.

Now the doggies are barking. I’m working from home today, that’s where I do my recording, and they are barking. Ally, come here. Come on. You’re interrupting the lesson. Come here, baby. Come on.

I received this feedback on Saturday. I was reading this email, and I needed to close it and really reflect on what was happening for me, if this was a situation where I was getting defensive because even though I completely understood the feedback, I was really resisting the intention to take it and use it to morph anything. I didn’t really want to change my document. I didn’t want to change what I had put together that I had collaborated with several people. I was trying to process this out loud, but I was trying … I was having this total internal battle between, “Is this my defensive mechanism coming up? Is this what’s happening for me, that I’m being personally defensive and not allowing this feedback to come into play to make me better?”

After thinking I’m going to say thank you for the feedback, but then not do anything, but then maybe that was the right feedback that I needed to hear and maybe be self-sabotaging myself because I’m not fully aware of my defensiveness coming across and causing me not to really listen and be aware of what’s happening in this moment, and maybe this is feedback that I needed to hear to get me to the next level, I did the only thing that I could. I phoned a friend. I passed it on. I forwarded them the email with all of the feedback and said, “I completely understand what this person is saying and where it is coming from and it makes sense to me. However, through my creative process, this was the product that came out of it.”

When I look at it, it feels right. It feel like my heart, which is a lot of what has happened to me over the summer. That’s why the podcast has shifted the way that it has. A lot of the branding has shifted that way. My speaking engagements that I’m getting ready to do next week in my little mini tour, they have a whole other spin on them because I feel like, for the first, I’ve found my authentic voice. Even though I had found it, it’s really hard to keep reminding myself to listen to it, so I trusted a close friend to say, “What do you think? Please be honest because I want to push myself. I don’t want to make excuses, but I also just found my voice and I want to stay true to it.”

One of the things that I have been trying to accept and live with, especially starting my own business, is that when I’m doing marketing and I’m growing my business and I’m growing myself, I’m not looking to appeal to everybody. I don’t put these podcast episodes with the intention of as many people as possible, “How can I mass appeal?” I know that I don’t click with everyone. I know that I probably irritate people. I know that there’s people that probably don’t think very highly of me. That’s okay.

The episode that I recorded last week was talking about I’m a teacher, and when you fully accept that role, that I am a teacher, the students that I am meant to teach will show up in their time. I’m not meant to teach everyone. Everyone in the world is not my student. I fully accept that. Part of my marketing strategy is that it’s me, is that it’s my authentic voice, so that those students that I am meant to teach will show up. I truly believe, through whether you want to call it manifestation, if you want to call it faith, if you want to call it fate, that having that mentality and living a life that is fully aligned, I will be provided with the abundance that I need to do the work that I am purposely intended to do.

Today, Gabby Bernstein, who I am a huge fan of, she released last week a deck of cards for her newest book “The Universe Has Your Back”. They’re beautiful. I’m a huge fan of these cards, these affirmation cards. We have the other one, her older deck, which is the “Miracles Now” deck. We always have it in the office. It’s probably my number one gift that I give to people. It’s the one deck of cards that we actually sell in the office, that people buy. I’m probably going to end up with a couple of these decks too because they’re just stunning. If you want to check them out, please do that.

They are affirmations that were created from her most recent book. I like to pull a card and read the affirmation and really reflect on how that relates to my life right now. I pulled one before recording this episode, and the card that I pulled is, “The moment I embrace my peace within and surrender the outcome is the moment that the universe can truly get to work.” I recorded an episode, I guess, two weeks back now that’s called “My Truth of Today” and talking about the stillness and this peace that I have been able to feel and almost has become a sense of stillness within me that I have been able to surrender to and had, as a result, an awareness that is so much deeper than I’ve ever had before. Pulling this card really made me think the moment that I embrace my peace within and surrender. Finding my authentic voice, trusting my intuition, trusting who I know that I am and who I want to be, is the moment that I can clearly communicate to the universe what I want and allow it to get to work.

A conclusion to my story, I phoned a friend and she basically reiterated to me exactly what I was feeling. It’s that, “I feel exactly what you feel when you look at these marketing materials. I can totally get why they are you. I can also understand the feedback. However, I agree, you’re here to resonate with your authentic voice and trust yourself and represent your heart, and that’s the direction that you’re going. I think you should stay true to it.” I thanked her because this is a new habit for me. For however many years, two decades, of establishing a habit where putting on a higher pedestal the opinions of others about me rather than my opinion of myself, and now flipping that and saying that, “You don’t define my worth and my value or even who I am or who I should be or how I should do this, but I’m going to do that.”

I think feedback is very important, but I think the lesson that I learned this weekend, for the first time, is that we can’t truly use it as an avenue of growth, of productive growth, until we can truly have an internal peace that separates us from what we are hearing. It is so easy when the feedback is positive. However, I don’t think that even the feedback is negative. I think it truly is constructive with someone just helping to push and make us better. Sometimes, it is completely what we need and we don’t want to hear.

I think back to even the story that I shared in the episode of “My Truth Today”. There was some stuff that I was being told that I think I needed to hear and I needed to process. Same thing on social media. If you want to talk about current events, there’s a whole lot of stuff that is being told to people that they don’t want to hear. What would happen if we took two cents and could find inner peace so that we could truly surrender and figure out what the outcome or the lesson we’re supposed to have from that moment? I really have come to the belief that that is what we’re working towards and that’s what we’re striving towards.

That is what was on my heart today. Thank you so much for listening. If you know anyone who you believe this podcast or this episode in particular may serve, please feel free to share it via any social media channel. Also, to support the podcast, the number one thing that you can do is if you’re on the iTunes app, you’re on the iPhone, is to leave us a quick rating. That’s the only way that we start moving up and getting a little more attention on iTunes. As always, if there’s any questions or thoughts, feelings, wants, or needs that this episode sparked, I love when you share them with me. You can email me at samm@leadershipisart.com. Other than that, have a great day. I will talk to you soon.