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This One Simple Question Can Help You Tackle Your Fear And Make The Best Decision

This One Simple Question Can Help You Tackle Your Fear And Make The Best Decision

How many times have you been in a situation where you were about to do something of huge importance to you for the first time, or where you were faced with making an important decision and you felt so paralyzed by fear that you couldn’t concentrate on simple tasks, let alone tackle those big decisions or actions you were supposed to? Fear has a way of doing it to us, making us incapable of doing what we, essentially want, but for some reasons, can’t do. More so, fear sneaks up on us only when we are dealing with issues that truly matter to us, such as our education, work, relationships and health.

The reasons most of us feel fear

In order to help ourselves deal with fear in a much more effective way, we need to discover reasons for its existence in the first place. The reason many of us feel fearful when faced with big decisions in life, is simply because they are big, and could totally change the direction of our lives for better or for worse. There is so much at stake and many of us feel trapped because of the pressure that importance of the decision implies. Additionally, many dealt with the low self-confidence that makes them feel incompetent in making life-changing decisions. And, of course, the number one reason – our unwillingness to step outside our comfort zone. For most people fear is the first response when they are about to make a change, since it is in our nature, as humans, to feel far more secure when we are in a familiar place, no matter how bad it may be, than to move into better, but unfamiliar territory.

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The question to end fear

Our coping mechanisms to deal with fear include everything from deep breathing exercises to yoga, meditation and physical exercises. Even though helpful, these don’t actually get to the core of the problem. They help us lessen the fear in a certain situation, yet the same feeling comes each time we are faced with a similar situation.

In order to successfully tackle and eventually eliminate fear entirely, we need to ask ourselves one simple question – “What’s the worst that could happen?” In this way, we are acknowledging the fear and, as we ask additional questions, we are playing the worst possible scenario in our head, which eventually soothes us as we can become better prepared for all possible outcomes. The approach was suggested by Iyanla Vanzant, motivational speaker and New York Times best-selling author. Vanzant suggests that the approach helps to efficiently eliminate the power of fear: “Often by simply identifying the fear—and figuring out a concrete way to deal with it should it come true—you remove a lot of its power to control your decision-making.”

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Start eliminating fear with one simple question

Even though fear has been present in our lives for as long as we can remember, it doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it. By using the one question approach, we can identify our fears and face them head on, which will result in their complete elimination over time.

For example, if your goal is to inspire others, and provide support for people who want to achieve their goals, you might experience fear of public speaking just as you are about to step in front of the bigger audience for the first time. Since this is still an unknown territory for you, and your desire to make it is strong, your comfort zone is resisting shifting, you may feel extremely uncomfortable, to say the least. Knowing what you now know, you would want to take some time to have a quick talk with yourself. Ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen?” “If that happens, then what? And then what?” As your worst case scenario has already been played out in your head, you will soon realize that you are much stronger than you may think. This approach relieves us from the pressure we feel and the fear of not making it. And, the best part is that once the pressure is off, our clarity returns and our performance levels enhance, making those worst case scenarios almost impossible. As we practice this approach a couple of times, our brain will soon pick up the new behavior as a coping mechanism, and the process will become much more effortless until we eventually eliminate all fear from our lives.

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Next time you start feeling insecure and fearful about an important life decision, make sure to break the fear down by using these questions until you have no fear left to cope with.

Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/ via unsplash.com

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Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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