POINT TO PONDER
“It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.”
- Steve Jobs
The year was 1984. My boss and I were in a one on one meeting. As I was explaining the details of one project, my boss intervened and said, “you are defensive”. I was taken aback by the comment and immediately replied, “I am not defensive,” and started explaining why.
A few minutes into my explanation, my boss put his pen on the table and with a cunning smile on his face he said, “I rest my case. Let us move on to the next subject”.
It took me a while, a long while, to understand the depth of the feedback he had given me. For a considerable period of time I criticized him for being so blunt. But over the years, I realized how valuable his feedback was and how helpful it became in my career.
For example, there was a time in my career when I decided to go into business for myself. I bounced the idea off of my mentor, an accomplished executive. He endorsed the idea. Initially, the business grew, doing quite well, but I also discovered that it I did not like to do many of the minor tasks that are required for running a business.
Noticing that, my mentor said to me, “you need to go back to work for a company. You have lost the discipline to run the business as an individual owner. But you have a lot of experience and track record that will be helpful when you have resources available to guide”. Yes it was a tough pill to swallow... But it was also very true.
So I went back to work at a company, and looking back, it was very good advice. I had a stellar career in the corporate world and could focus my strengths in places I could maximize them most and led to a successful and fulfilling career.
Feedback is a valuable gift but many times it comes in forms that can be hard to take, especially if comes wrapped in the form of blunt honesty. But after the initial hurt and anger wears off, and you can look at the feedback for what it is, it can lead to tremendous growth. We just have to be able to put our ego aside to see it.
*Title is a quote from Ken Blanchard