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The Battle Of The Voices In My Head

The Battle Of The Voices In My Head

Like most people, I have goals. Goals that I want and need to achieve. Goals that I strive for every day. Goals that aren’t even dreams anymore, they are now my musts. I no longer find myself just wanting them to happen, I need them to happen, and there really isn’t any other option. They MUST happen.

I set my intentions to what I wanted to achieve. I wanted freedom. Freedom to work when and where I wanted. I wanted to travel and explore more of the world. I wanted financial stability. I was sick of living paycheck to paycheck. I was sick of having to struggle when unexpected expenses arose. I wanted to give back to the world. I felt I had a lot to offer and my talents weren’t being utilized. I wanted to do something that would feel rewarding and that I would be passionate about.

Realization

Last year, I came to a realization that there was more that I needed to achieve in life. I was good at my job, I had a great social life, and I was healthy and alive. However, there was this feeling of emptiness inside of me. Even though I had a stable job, a nice apartment, and great people around me, there was this feeling that something was missing. That something was passion.

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I no longer had the passion to keep being the best at my job. I no longer had the passion to spend most of my time making someone else’s dream a reality. It was hard to get out of bed to do the same thing day in and day out. It was time to change. It was time to figure out what I wanted and to start taking action towards it. Why was I dragging myself to a job that sucked the life out of my soul? Why was I forcing myself out of bed to just pay the bills?

Juggling Responsibilities

It has only been eight months since the day I decided to become a blogger. In that time, I have managed to juggle a full-time job, train for a fitness competition, create a YouTube channel, start my own business, write for some of the world’s largest motivational sites, and somehow maintain a social life. This may not seem like much to some, but for any fellow bloggers, YouTubers, athletes, writers, or entrepreneurs out there, I know they will understand the work that goes on behind closed doors.

Not too long ago, I was in the flow of things. Up at 4 am, kicking goals at the gym, kicking goals with business, and was on top of my writing and doing YouTube. It was like the universe was smiling down at me. Looking back, the reason I was in the flow and doing so well was because I didn’t even allow a negative thought to slip into my mind. My perspective was all about where I was headed and what I was achieving.

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It didn’t matter that I was up at 4 am every morning training for comp. It didn’t matter that I was making business calls for during my lunch breaks at my full-time job. It didn’t matter that I was up late every night writing, making videos, and working on my online business. Things just seemed to flow and I was excited to get out of bed every day. I only had time for positive people in my life. I let go of energy drainers. I looked at the positive side of everything and the universe seemed to be rewarding me for my efforts.

Road Blocks

Then one day, I hit a wall. The flow of positivity stopped and it was like everything I had worked so hard towards all came and smacked me in the face. Everything seemed so hard. Getting up at 4 am was more than difficult, being on top of my game at work and dealing with people were draining, and I started to fall behind in my writing and my business. What had happened? Everything was easy, everything was flowing, why did everything become so difficult to keep up with?

I have had some time to reflect and I have come to realize that the only thing that changed was my mindset and my perspective. I had a friend that was feeling low and, as much as I tried to be there, I just couldn’t do it every day. Not in the way they were wanting me to. I like to think that I am the person that my friends can rely on and at that moment, I started to feel like I didn’t have time for my friends when they needed me. I started to feel like I was failing and not as on top of things as I thought I was. I started to feel drained as I tried to give the little energy I had left to helping others.

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I was exhausted. Emotionally and physically. The 4 am wake up calls started to be something I dreaded, kicking goals at work, and trying to stay sharp when dealing with human interactions just seemed so tough. I didn’t realize just how much energy and time I was putting into chasing my goals. I started to question whether all of the effort I was putting in was even going to be worthwhile. Will I even achieve my goals? And to what expense? If I let my friend down because I couldn’t give the support they were wanting because I was busy chasing goals and working towards my dreams, is that the kind of person I want to be?

Mindset

I turned to one of my favorites, Tony Robbins, and started watching his videos on the daily. I needed a pick-me-up and I knew I needed support and encouragement. I needed to change my mindset. Instead of looking at my desperation of quitting my full-time job, I started to train my mind into looking at it as a blessing and a vehicle that was paying my rent for my gorgeous apartment and a vehicle that was funding me until I could achieve my dreams.

Instead of looking at my early wake up calls as a chore, I started looking at the extra time it gave me to work on my fitness goals. Instead of looking at all the phone calls, online time, writing, producing, and everything else I do to keep up with being a blogger and entrepreneur as extra work, I started to train my mind again to see that I was working towards my goals and the more effort I put in, the more I will get back. The goal will be inevitable as long as I am doing something every day to reach my desires.

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Instead of thinking of how I let my friend down, I started to realize that I had given what I could. I am only human and there is no way I could give any more energy and support to another if I needed that energy and support for myself. We cannot help others if we do not help ourselves first. If we don’t put ourselves first, we simply don’t have much to give someone else. People that really truly care for you will understand this. We all our going through our own journeys and those that are meant to be in your life will want to see you succeed. As long as we are not abandoning our loved ones, as long as we are coming from a place of love, then there really isn’t anything to worry about.

Battle of the Voices

There is a constant battle going on with the voices in my head. Am I good enough? Do I really think I have what it takes to get to where I want to be? And then the other voice argues back that I have been through enough and the things I have been through clearly states just how strong I am. I got this. Will the voice of doubt ever shut up? Most likely not, after all, we are human and the voice of fear and doubt will always be playing in the background.

I’ve just decided it is time to not listen to that voice of doubt and insecurity. Nothing good comes of it. I have come to accept that the voice of fear will always be there. I just choose to ignore it because if I listen to it and I don’t continue to chase my goals, I know that I will regret it for the rest of my life. I would rather do my best trying to achieve my goals and making the most of my time here on earth than to not try and always be left wondering what if.

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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.

More on Constructive Feedback

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

Reference

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