Do you look back on your life from time to time to see where you have been and how far you have come? I am sure you do. I do, too. I got to thinking about how some of the people around me help me grow and have fostered my growth even though they were not “official mentors.”
I’m talking about people around you who make you aware of something you could improve.
- Something that was in your blindspot.
- Or may you knew you could improve a particular thing but you had not taken action on it yet.
How Do You Best Learn From Others?
- Maybe someone points out something to you.
- Or maybe they show you by leading by example.
- Or it could be a combination of both.
How Do We Take Feedback From Others?
There is the important question: How do we “take it” from people we have not appointed as our mentors or coaches?
- How do they get “through” to you? What do they do that is working?
- How do they manage to sidestep the defense mechanism that can show up?
Here are some thoughts on that.
People who are effective in advancing your growth
- Make you feel safe and respected
- Show you they already appreciate you the way you are right now
- Might be involved in the same mission as you – or get on board with what you are up to
- Get in the trenches with you
- Led by example and inspire you
By the way, growth often happens one “nugget” at a time. Growth happens one little step at a time.
When the people who give us feedback find something good in us first we are more open to listening!
A couple of stories about two of my favorite Clubs I’m a member of:
My Toastmasters group meets on Monday mornings at 7 am. We practice public speaking as well as leadership. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, we moved our in-person meetings to meetings via Zoom. I would get out of bed and minutes later be in front of the video camera, clutching my first cup of coffee. Sometimes, I looked like I had just fallen out of bed (which was nearly true although I combed my hair LOL). One of my Toastmasters friends teased me about it. It became a joke.
Then we returned to meeting back in person. Now, I had to get up early enough to get showered, dressed, drive 25 minutes, arrive early, and be ready to lead the meeting as presiding officer. The joke about “Stephie needs her coffee to wake up” persisted. But not for long. Because one of my Toastmasters friends said, “You need to stop making this excuse.” I never said another word about needing coffee to wake up or use needing more coffee as an excuse for a mistake I made. Not even as a joke.
The friend was right. I raised my bar. His comment was helpful to me in my growth as a leader.
Why did I not feel defense? Because in our Club we have the culture of giving feedback. In our speech evaluations, we always find the best that our people bring right now before we give them “points to grow on”. There is a lot of kinship in our club. I felt appreciated, respected, and safe. I also knew I am here because I want to grow.
My Rotary group is very active. We raised $122,000 during our latest Duck Derby fundraiser which supports around 25 local charities. In collaboration with “Habit for Humanity,” we built a house for a deserving family. There are always “Service Above Self” activities going on. It is awesome!
When I first joined the Club in 2019, I joined just in time for that year’s Duck Derby. It was a huge event. Suddenly, there was a need for someone to fill in right now, on the spot. The Club’s President had to run to the bank and someone else needed to take her spot selling event tickets. She asked me “For how long can you fill in?” I replied, “How long do you need me?” I told her to take her time; I got this.
Sometime later, her husband who – like her – is a founding member of the club, told me how much he appreciates me. He cited this incident. It was one of his first impressions of me. I had all but forgotten about it. His comment made me feel good. Often it takes so little to make someone’s day. Do you think comments like that reinforce the behavior that was pointed out as being appreciated? You bet!
In both Rotary and Toastmasters, people lead by example. It is inspiring! It makes me a better person. I found myself stepping up even more. I give more of myself – and I love it! And there is always someone who causes me to raise my bar even higher. The immense friendship that exists in both clubs can’t be understated!
In conclusion, if you want to help someone grow find something good in him or her first. It works with adults and kids, too!
If you want to grow yourself,
- Give people around you permission to help you with that.
- Put yourself into environments where you feel safe, respected, and appreciated (even loved!).
- Working on the same goal or mission is a great vehicle for personal growth.
- Get inspired. Growing while “Serving Above Self” is terrific!
Which stories in your life come to your mind? What did those people do to support your growth?
P.S.: I appreciate you commenting and sharing this with others. Thank you!