Opinionated Feedback

The last step in the Journey to build sterling Character is to welcome and accept Constructive Feedback.

Constructive Feedback is the other side of the coin from Reinforcing Feedback. We all love the feedback that sings our praises of a job well done, that acknowledges a situation handled nicely, or that recognizes the dent we’re making in the world.

So, those are the two kinds of feedback — between two people with knowledge of facts, situations, and measurable observations.

What about the third kind of feedback — which comes out of the blue from a third wheel, loose cannon, if you will — from someone with a badge that reads, Sidewalk Superintendent?

Opinionated Feedback (or, OF)

Tiny, little, powerful, two-letter words — aren’t they something? One of my favorite expressions, “If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.”

of
to indicate a point of reckoning
to indicate origin or derivation
to indicate the cause, motive, or reason
to indicate the component material, parts, or elements
to indicate the whole that includes the part
to indicate belonging or a possessive relationship
to indicate the relationship between a result and function
to indicate something from which a person is delivered
to indicate a particular example belonging to a class
to indicate apposition
to indicate the object of an action
to indicate the application of a verb
to indicate a characteristic or distinctive quality
to indicate the position in time of an action

So — if the last step in the Journey to build sterling Character is to welcome and accept Constructive Feedback, what about the Sainthood effort required to accept Opinionated Feedback?!

And — when I say, “Accept,” I define that as, “Accept it for what it is, glean the kernels of truth, and let the chaff blow away on the winds of fickleness.”

Feedback That Never Was

This story, so far, has been framed around the beneficiary of feedback. But, what about the individual offering the feedback? If you’ve ever been in a role which required formal feedback to be given, you know how difficult it is — To Do.

Now, imagine the poor fellow who is sharing his thoughts with a couple of new friends and is, then, accosted for asking a few simple questions.

Remember the Story about me and the two women — the cute one and the other one? We’ve already discussed how I responded to the challenge from the other one, who asked me to be her Accountability Partner (after, I clearly communicated on a public forum that my partner must be a “brave soul.”)

What is it that YOU want from this email? To point out? To challenge? To encourage the why + what do I want thinking?

For the students of communication theory, all of their mental bells, whistles, and alarms have been triggered. “Email?! Doesn’t he know that only 7% of communication can be accomplished with words?” Yep, I knew it going in — but, that’s my modus operandi — going where even the angels fear to tread.

The cute one is a very successful Life Coach, with a variety of programs that she offers for the benefit of those individuals wanting to expand their horizons, improve levels of accomplishment, and grow into better Citizens. My kind of gal — so, since I was invited to her game (Program), I signed up.

When I zinged my serve over the net, the other one caught the ball to examine it for defects. Life Coach patiently waited through the other one’s challenge of my intent and then offered this.

I value feedback from people I know, I am always looking to improve in my life and my work, and I am also a huge proponent of done being better than perfect. The Program is what it is and serves its purpose for most people. It is not meant to be the answer to everyone’s problems, nor is it meant to be a spiritual based program.

Say what?!

So, I went back and read, again — very slowly — my original email to see if I had used the word Feedback, or made any reference to the Trinity. Nope, not even once.

Communication Is What The Listener Does

Although, in my email, I had asked this question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?

During those 35+ years serving the public as a CPA, I learned to ask this question of every prospective Client. Those who were animated in their response enjoyed working with me. Those with a deer-in-the-headlights response were graciously ushered back to the door from which they came.

So, I fully understand the responses I received from the Life Coach and the other one. One was scared silly because I dared to ask such a question — the Life Coach felt threatened.

For most of my life, I have been overly concerned about everyone’s feelings. Recently, however, the light came on, “Other people’s feelings are beyond my control. Unless, I’m rude, or crude, they have the responsibility to manage their own dang feelings.”

And, it’s true — no one can make us mad, sad, happy, or glad. It’s our individual right and responsibility to create the emotions pleasing to us.

It’s perfectly fine that the Life Coach wants no part in my philosophy, or efforts, to be a Conduit of Goodness.

What Did You Learn?

Because — she did offer this.

You’re kind enough to offer feedback to others, my feedback to you might be to include a bit of framing when you give that feedback so others better understand what your intention and expectation is – especially when they don’t know you well.

As a builder, I know exactly what she’s suggesting. After establishing a solid foundation, framing is the next phase to Build Something — Special. And, with no apologies to the Life Coach, or anyone else, my way of preparing a foundation on bedrock is to ask questions. The one question about “the passion at the core” is the first of thirteen initial steps to a foundation.

In visiting with a long-time loyal friend, on the phone last night, she asked, “So, what did you learn?”

Oh, we laughed! Because — I’ve lost track of the number of verses to this same old song. She gently teased that maybe the time has come for me to learn the lesson. 🙂

The beauty of Opinionated Feedback is that it comes from an outsider, who is not encumbered by the “Curse of Knowledge.” Reinforcing Feedback and Constructive Feedback happens between two individuals, who know all the “facts.” The outsider is not burdened with any preconceived notions about the Ego, Expectations, or Emotions. They can be honest in offering their opinion.

I did not offer feedback to the Life Coach — I did, however, share my thoughts which were perceived by her to be feedback.

Her feedback to me is spot on correct. I know it, and I’m working on getting better at it. It defined as — stop scaring the living bejeezus out of timid souls, with too much, too soon.

I’ve had people suggest that I wear darkened eyeglasses — because my gaze is too intense. It’s true — I’m intensely passionate about my purpose in life. And — I thoroughly enjoy that far-left lane, designated Speed of Trust.

Remember, when we were first learning to drive, how we had to keep staring at all the gauges to make sure our speed was right, the engine had oil pressure, and the coolant was staying cool. Now, we seldom think about it — we glance, every now and then.

Same song, second verse — I’m operating at the Speed of Trust — not by sight, but — by feel. Because of the Curse of Knowledge, I assume (yes, I know, makes an ass out of u and me) everyone else is comfortable with their hair blown back. (As a side-bar, that’s why I wear my hair in a crew-cut.)

What We Learn, Together

Coach John Wooden — in Pyramid of Success — has this encouragement, “What a leader learns after you’ve learned it all counts most of all.

As a believer in the ASK Principle — Ask, Seek, and Knock — I hope you will help me: Ask, so love can be given; Seek, so wisdom can be found; and, Knock, so doors of opportunity swing wide open.

I’ve noticed that my friends are reluctant to give Feedback of any kind. Yet, my enemies, are eager to bury me in Opinionated Feedback — and, I appreciate it very much.

Please, share with me in the Comment section, below — your Thoughts.

Or, better yet, give me a call — 406.855.8384 🙂

Respect

RESPECTWhat would you do if someone screamed, “You’re a Dumb F#cker!” And, then went on to yell, “I have no respect for you!”

Yes, I know, that paragraph is missing the “?” at the end. Yet, the experience for me was more about the “!” — or, in other words, the exclamation of ignorance and arrogance.

If one is an incident, two is a coincidence, and three is a pattern, then I have a Story to share with YOU.

Three Times In Three Months

The first time was in February — when a Teenager had been asked to keep their stuff gathered into somewhat organized piles. Perfection was not the standard — simply the traditional courtesy of keeping foreign objects out of the travel paths of other inhabitants of the Family abode.

When multiple requests were ignored, I asked that young fellow what he was ‘thinking’ — because, I know for a fact, “All we do begins with a Thought.” Well, he shared what was on his mind — which was to find fault with me, for asking.

The third time was in April — when a Marine sought my participation in helping him start a new business. After 26 years as a Gunnery Sergeant and 6 years as an Air Traffic Controller, this Middle-Age fellow seemed to be an excellent candidate for my Coaching Services.

One problem was he wanted to constantly present his Resume and refused to Listen to some pretty good advice. Then, the cherry-on-top was catching him in a lie — which we had wasted a large amount of Time discussing the solution to what, really, wasn’t a problem, at all.

The second time was in March — when a third-generation Millenial rancher was planning a Family transition without the participation of his Parents. Yes — I participated, briefly, thinking, “Although not the best way to start, at least this might be the first step toward something good for the Family.”

What Begins Twisted, Ends TwistedPost Turtle

Here’s the reality:

1.) Grandpa (with the help of Grandma) built something special.

2.) Dad (with the help of Mom) was expected to maintain what Grandpa built. Maintenance men are commonly known as Janitors.

3.) Junior was born on third base and thinks he hit a home run. Although he is the Janitor’s son, the rest of the world recognizes him for what he is — a Post Turtle. (click the hyperlink — it’s a good story)

Nothing New Under The Sun

I do believe things today are about like they have always been. In other words, I get it — sometimes misunderstandings happen because of generational differences. The educations and experiences – of each generation – create a different worldview in its participants.

Yet — that to which I’ve been making reference — disrespect is a character flaw. And, the way these Stories end is never pleasant.

Once, there was an old fellow who was on a Mission to give the inhabitants of a County a heads-up. He had an old-fashioned name — Elijah. His successor had another old-fashioned name — Elisha.

In the vernacular, the ship hit the sand when 42 young men decided to have great sport with Elisha. They did not hurl sticks or stones — they simply used words (which, regardless of the schoolyard rhyme, do hurt more than sticks and stones). They received immediate consequences for their disrespect.

Gaslighting Is Pure Craziness

Gaslight

Narcissists are big on gaslighting us in an attempt to disorient and confuse us. They do this by using denial and projection, usually under the pretense of being concerned — in order to make us feel even more perplexed. If they succeed at this, they can then grandstand us by saying, “See, you are crazy and out of control!”

Introduction To A Narcissist

A Narcissist WeaponA narcissist’s weapon of choice is often verbal — by slander, lies, playing the victim (in flipped tales of who was the victim and who was the abuser), gossip, rage, verbal abuse, and intentional infliction of emotional pain.

Think of direct, clear communication (The Truth) — especially when it is about the manipulation itself — as the psychological equivalent to holding up a cross to a vampire. Most manipulators recoil in the face of being “busted,” and the air goes out of the pressure they are trying to create just as easily as it escapes a punctured balloon.

Three Chords and the Truth

Boundaries & RespectRespect is only possible with clearly defined boundaries. The sovereignty of a country is defined by its border. As individuals, we are citizens of one.

Self-respect is everything that goes on within our boundaries. Respect for others occurs at the border and according to mutually acceptable customs.

Profitable interactions occur through doors of opportunity that swing on the hinges of “No, thanks.” and “Yes, please!”

Never Accept DisrespectGrown Adults

Narcissists will capture our attention — they are the swashbucklers cutting a wide swath with their theatrics. They are manipulative and easily angered, especially when they don’t receive the attention they consider their birthright.

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder believe they are superior or special, and often try to associate with other people they believe are unique or gifted in some way. This association enhances their self-esteem, which is typically quite fragile underneath the surface. Individuals with NPD seek excessive admiration and attention in order to know that others think highly of them. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder have difficulty tolerating criticism or defeat and may be left feeling humiliated or empty when they experience an “injury” in the form of criticism or rejection.

Pop Goes The Weasel

That young, ignorant, arrogant, and clueless fellow at the beginning of this Story, has chosen to enroll in the School-of-Hard-Knocks — his classes are about to begin.

Similar to the consequences in the story about Elisha, I see bears in the future of this foul-mouthed childish imp. One bear I see approaching is a Market less than bullish — and, another bear even more ferocious is a rate of Interest greater than zero.

You see — I invested hundreds of hours for the benefit of this guy and his Family. Scattered on their little farm, there’s lots of new green paint (John Deere Green)  — which can never possibly be paid for with current management practices.

So, I guided him and his wife to an understanding of Balance Sheets, by using the basic Accounting Equation of Assets = Liabilities + Equity. Or, another way to state the same set of facts is Assets – Liabilities = Equity. (which can be Negative)

When the light (Truth) was shown on his misadventures (Too Much Debt), he literally hissed all around the house, as the air from his little balloon (Ego) was punctured.

To this day, I remain amused.

Must Be A 10

10 Things to Have in an Executive Business Coach

I’ll share the website of another Coaching Enterprise — because, I want YOU to make the comparison. Y’all know I’m competitive — so, I’m hoping YOU can mark all 10 in my favor.

If not, give me a call.

Highlights from the Article

  1. Good business coaches have a proven record that they will be eager to share with you.
  2. A great business coach has experience both as a business owner and as a business coach.
  3. You’ll want to find a business coach that is relevant and specific — to your chosen area of growth.
  4. Business coaching requires custom strategies. Pass on any coach that treats their business like a coaching mill.
  5. A great business coach will challenge you outside of your comfort zone and make you look at challenges in new ways.
  6. Seek out a business coach that is well-connected, so in turn, you become equally well-connected.
  7. Your business coach should be highly motivated and focused on YOU achieving your goals and aspirations.
  8. Your mentor should love teaching because it means giving back, and it should be obvious in their approach to coaching.
  9. You don’t have to be best friends with your business coach, but you should have a friendly rapport.
  10. The most critical piece — there must be a process to be followed, a regimen. In other words, a committed and disciplined approach to Success.

Highlights from my Life

  1. Beginning in December 1981 through October 2015 this was my Mission Statement, “We Are Committed To Excellence In Providing Accounting and Financial Services To Our Friends Who Pursue Success.” For those 34 years, hundreds of Clients can attest to the fact that we built little empires, together.
  2. Now, the Mission Statement is, “My mission is to guide YOU to personal and business success, according to the vision that YOU establish for us.”
  3. I’m a Builder — so, if YOU want to Build Something Special, I can help with the foundation, deck, framing, trusses, roofing, windows, doors, sheetrock, tape, texture, and trim (figuratively speaking).
  4. There’s only one of YOU — so, by default, your learning will be according to your style and timing. Since communication is what the listener does, I will actively listen to understand what YOU want and need of me.
  5. If two people agree on everything all of the time, one of them is unnecessary. We will challenge each other and experience mutually rewarding individual growth.
  6. Thirty-five plus years of Building Dynamic Relationships by using the Three-E Formula of Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage provides plenty of opportunities for YOU to make connections with my Friends.
  7. YOU are the reason for my existence. I’m simply a chunk of conduit for the goodness from above, to flow through me, for the benefit of YOU.
  8. Coach John Wooden was a Teacher before he was a Coach. Later in life — after many National Championships — he simply wanted to be known as a Teacher. I share that Story with you — because, that’s the one I want to be told about me.
  9. Guaranteed there will be rapport — because only friends do business with each other. I have discovered, over a period of 35+ years in serving the public, that half of the world will love us — the other half, not so much.
  10. That ‘other half’ (in Number 9, above) usually left the friendship because they grew tired of the consistent disciplined determination for us to grow and move forward toward our goals.

That’s my Story — and, I’m sticking to it.

Now, the Choice is yours — stay stuck in a rut (which by definition is: a grave with the ends kicked out) or move forward into a world of your dreams.

Remember, I’m a Builder.

We can do this, together.

Heard and Understood

Communication Is What The Listener Does

Upon calling Support and hearing, Press 1 for English, 2 for @#$%, we select the language of greatest comprehension. We want to hear and understand the solution to our situation.

Do we offer the same in our interpersonal communications?

Or, do we launch off into a discourse that is foreign to the ears of our partner? When they seem puzzled, do we simply ‘turn up the volume’ and give them another dose of @#$%?

Imago Relationships

When discovering the concept of Imago Relationships, my first thought was “I’m-A-Go” — that’s cute. It reminds me of a Space Shuttle lift-off. Many of our relationships are desirous of going go to a higher level.

These quotes from the article are a few of my favorites:

Partners cross a bridge into each other’s worlds, motivated not only by the Receiver’s desire to ‘hear and understand’ but also to meet the Sender’s need to be ‘heard and understood’ — with a commitment to slow down our lives and devote specific uninterrupted time to our relationships. Ultimately saying to the other, “I respect your otherness — I want to learn from it. And I want to share mine with you.”

Discovering two distinct worlds — whenever two people are involved, there are always two realities. These realities will always be different in small and large ways, no matter what. And, the reality of the other person can be understood, accepted, valued, and even loved — but, not made to be identical to our own.

Your conflict can be the very fuel for the fulfillment you seek.

Being aware of ourselves is the key — it changes everything.

What we need to understand and accept is that conflict is supposed to happen. This is as nature intended it. Everything in nature is in conflict. Conflict is a sign that the psyche is trying to survive, to get its needs met, and become whole. It’s only without this knowledge that conflict is destructive.

Regardless of what we may believe, relationships are not born of love — but of need. Real love is born in relationships, as a result of understanding what they are about — and doing what is necessary to have them.

A ‘conscious’ Relationship itself is the practice you need to restore your sense of aliveness.

Clear communication is a window into the world of your partner — truly being heard and understood is a powerful aphrodisiac.

Without change, there is no growth — we are confined to the fate of remaining stuck in our unhappiness.

Change is the catalyst for healing.

I call the process by which we alter our entrenched behaviors to give our partners what they need: ‘stretching’ — for it requires that we conquer our fears and do what comes unnaturally.

Finally, we learn to see our partners for themselves, with their own private world of personal meaning, their own ideas and dreams, and not merely as extensions of ourselves — or, as we wish they were. Our approach becomes, “I want to know how you think.”

A conscious relationship is a spiritual path which leads us home again — to joy and aliveness, to the feeling of oneness we started out with. We learn to express love as a behavior daily — in large and small ways. In other words, in stretching to give our partner what they need, we learn to love. The transformation of our relationships may not be accomplished easily or quickly — we are setting off on a lifelong journey.

In The Game

In the game of Football, team members ‘huddle up’ to have the opportunity to ‘hear and understand’ the next play. If it’s a passing play, it is only successful if the receiver catches the ball.

Next time we have the opportunity to quarterback a conversation, let’s call plays in a language our receiver understands. Then, as they run the route, let’s give them the opportunity to catch what is thrown.

After all, the only goal that, really, matters — to be Heard and Understood.

Feedback Three-Step

Circles of Life

Feedback Three-StepBaby’s first step is cause for celebration. Even for us older kids, first steps can be special times of celebration and acknowledgment.

They are, always, the beginning of a journey to discovery. Sometimes we follow the first step with a second. Other times that first step forward is followed by two steps backward.

Regardless of the pattern, we are dancing.

Those who love to dance know about the Two-Step. If we are to dance our way into the hearts, minds, and souls of those about whom we care deeply, maybe, it’s time we learn the Three-Step. It is much more than leading with our good foot – and, then, dragging the other behind. In fact, it has nothing to do with our feet and everything to do with our heads.

Communication Is What The Listener Does

While there are many mediums available for communication, the most popular is — Words. Some of us use many, while other individuals use few. We, all, use them, constantly, to express our thoughts and ideas to others. Our messages are composed of two elements: Content and Context.

Guaranteed — the words I choose and the intent behind them will be heard and understood differently by each person, who receives them. They will be filtered through the education and experience of that person. And, they will mean something different to that individual, depending on the day and their mood.

Since Certified Public Accountants are trained in probabilities, let’s look at the odds of being heard and understood. Setting aside that which is beyond our control (the context within which our message will be received), let’s take a look at the content.

7% Comprehension from Words

A researcher named Mehrabian was interested in how listeners get their information. The results: 55% from the visual component, 38% from the auditory component, and 7% from the language. Our words account for only 7% of comprehension. Have you ever wondered why emails are misunderstood?!Feedback Model

Regardless of how elegantly we Transmit, the logic and emotion of the Receiver are beyond our control. With the first two steps of this communication dance, we have made noise and they have heard the sound. Communication is yet to be accomplished.

The third — and, most important — step is Feedback. The communication circuit is complete, only, when the Receiver is courageous enough to Transmit back what they have heard and understood.

Lights Come On With Closed Circuits

In our daily life, we take for granted closed circuits. We flip the switch and the lights come on. Thus, we have reinforced a truth — Electricity will only flow in a completed circuit. Why then do we insist on wandering around in the dark while refusing to complete our communication circuits? We complete them by giving Feedback.

Circles of LifeWhile there might be legitimate reasons for our inertia, the encouragement is for us to consider the circle of life, itself. Just like the electrical circuit, we are of limited value unless, and until, we complete the circuit.

If we consider the possibility that we are simply wonderful chunks of conduit for the goodness from above to flow through us for the benefit of others, then, it’s logical to envision the lights coming on for ourselves and the rest of the world. We, literally, become lighthouses to guide others through the storms of life. Bright lights make absolutely no noise.

The Sound of Circles

Since all of the words above only contribute 7% to this premise, let’s add the 38% auditory component. By clicking on the “Circles” hyperlink below, we can enjoy sensory delights.

Circles

(Video)
By Sawyer Brown

There’s one around my finger
One around my coffee cup
One around the hands of time
And that big orange ball a comin’ up
There’s one around my eight to five
Four beneath me when I drive
An extra one for overtime, circles
There’ll be one in the hugs around my legs
And one around my waist
And one around the table holdin’ hands and sayin’ grace

I thank God for circles
For you, for me, for family and friends
I thank God for circles
May they go round-and-round and never have to end

There’s one around the block
There’s always one around the bend
Any to and from you go
And back again
Some are green and some are golden
Summer turns to winter cold
And into spring the seasons roll, circles
There’ll be one around the candles
One around the birthday cakes
One around the table holdin’ hands and sayin’ grace

I thank God for circles
For you, for me, for family and friends
I thank God for circles
May they go round-and-round and never have to end

There’s one around the world
That goes around so we can see it all
One around the halo
When we’re called

I thank God for circles
For you, for me, for family and friends
I thank God for circles
May they go round-and-round and never have to end
I thank God for family and circles
May we find and have so many more of them

Trust In The Source

The researcher, Mehrabian wrote about a substantial limitation to his study, “These findings, regarding the relative contribution of the tonal component of a verbal message, can be safely extended, only, to communication situations in which no additional information about the communicator-addressee relationship is available.”

In summary, Listeners derive information from visual, tonal, and other verbal cues. Yet, their understanding is dependent upon a number of other factors, including how well they know the communicator.

Communication Is What The Listener Does

This communicator believes Feedback is a necessary dimension of effective personal growth. It provides for real-time modifications of behavior, and related events, to achieve mutually desired benefits for the participants, which might otherwise be unobtainable, or delayed.

To achieve 100% effectiveness, let’s add the 55% visual component to our circuit of communication. Picture a knight standing at the ready to be of service in your kingdom. He waits for the Feedback that will enhance his efforts to be of greater value to you. If a courageous leader, you will empower him to serve in more effective ways, by offering the Feedback necessary to achieve even greater victories in this our journey, the circle of life!