I am so excited to share with you the finalized book cover for “In_Security: Break Free from what Holds You Back” So excited, in fact, that I’ve decided to give you a sneak peek on a new chapter being added to the manuscript! So new, this hasn’t made it past my editor yet…
Please enjoy this excerpt and share with your friends.
Book will officially release in March of 2016!!
Using Feedback toGain Self-Awareness–Excerpt taken from Chapter 8 “You Are Here”
Let’s get a little science-y shall we? I love this definition of Newton’s Law of Motion when thinking about feedback.
“An object either remains at rest or continues to move in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force.”
You are that object and if you want to change your direction and free yourself from bondage you need an external force to help you get the momentum started. That external force is feedback.
Feedback can be scary and unasked or unwanted feedback can be downright humiliating. But when it comes to self-awareness, getting feedback is simply reconciling what you know about yourself with what everyone else already knows about you. In other words, when gaining self-awareness, oftentimes, we are the last to know the things we need to do to help make us better. Wouldn’t you rather be proactive in your approach to gaining feedback instead of reactive to the feedback that may come?
When I was a youth pastor on staff with Life.Church I was immersed in a culture of feedback. Not one event was done without discussing later what did and didn’t work and how we could do it better the next time. Being a part of a culture like that taught me three things.
Develop a thick skin. Nothing is worse than hearing you’re missing the mark, you aren’t your best, or you could do things better. It can be easy to take feedback personally and allow its effects to down-spiral your belief in yourself. That’s why the second and third things I learned about feedback are so important.
Feedback is meant to help you. Most people when giving feedback only want what’s best for you. True, some people like to pick things apart and seem to have the spiritual gift of nit-picking, but true feedback should always be life-giving and help you get to the next step in your development. If it’s not, check out the next thing.
Chew up the meat, spit out the bones. This saying was a constant in our staff. It means that while all feedback can be helpful, focusing on too many things at once can be detrimental. Take the one or two big things that come out of someone’s feedback and leave the rest behind.
You Asked For It
The world we live in is not made from a culture of feedback. At least not life-giving feedback that’s given to your face. People will talk all day long behind your back about what they think you could do to be better, but something keeps us from sharing that information with each other. Unwanted feedback is just that, unwanted. However, as embarrassing as it may be to have a stranger tell you there’s spinach in your teeth, or you have a booger hanging out your nose, you’re glad they stopped you before anyone else saw it. Our insecurities and hang-ups are the spinach-in-the-teeth kind of awareness we are after. Something we are blind to that keeps us from moving forward. Everyone has blindspots that hinder growth, and if you don’t think you do, that may be your blindspot. But feedback in this area is not just going to come. You have to ask for it. You have to create in yourself a culture where feedback is valued and used to make you better. I’m not suggesting you invite every person you’re associated with to give you feedback. Select two to three individuals whom you trust and admire (your believers) to be the ones to speak into your life. It could be your husband or mom, a mentor or pastor, an older sister or friend. When you have a couple people in mind explore these three steps to create a culture of feedback in your life.
Teach people how to give you feedback. Early in our marriage, Cody and I developed the habit of occasionally asking each other this question. “What is one thing I can do, to be a better spouse?” We did this at an unemotional time when we could focus on each other and talk things through. Asking a question like this opens the door for constructive feedback. It shows the other we are open to change and desire to grow. Notice, we didn’t ask, “Is there anything I do that annoys or makes you angry?” Keeping your question around one positive outcome helps guide the feedback from getting lost in the weeds or subjecting each other to a verbal firing line.
Here are a few examples of great questions you could ask:
“Do you see something in me that’s holding me back from reaching the next step in my growth?” “Is there a blindspot in my life, that’s keeping me from being the person I’m created to be?” “Do you see an insecurity in me that’s keeping me in bondage?” It’s important they know you desire honesty, even if it may hurt at first.
Opening yourself to feedback is intimidating, but what you do with the feedback you are given paves the road to true life-change.
Your response to feedback. If you have a negative response to someone’s solicited feedback, they will not continue to help you. Becoming defensive, which is a sign of insecurity, and making up excuses for the answers someone gives you is the wrong response. If you have asked this person to speak into you life, listen respectfully, ask any follow-up questions to gain clarity, and use the new information to create a game-plan for change. This is what gaining self-awareness is all about.
Baby Steps. Growth and development take time. Don’t be discouraged if things don’t seem to change right away. Take your new-found awareness and put it to work for you. Don’t allow embarrassment or negativity to suck you deeper into a pit of insecurity. Use this awareness as stepping stones to help raise you to a higher level of perspective over your life.
And take one step at a time.