Tag Archives: Feedback

You Belong Here

Hello my friends! It’s been an inspiring, grueling, jam-packed two weeks. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around everything that’s happened, all of the amazing people I’ve met and the stories I’ve shared.

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I spoke on a panel at the Superwomen Summit almost two weeks ago. I can’t begin to describe how phenomenal the entire weekend was. Take a look at the lineup and Google all of the speakers. Each brought her unique perspective while still being herself. That was the best part of the entire event: These women were attainable, real and struggled. As much as I love Oprah and Brene, they are such lofty goals. I spent the weekend hearing from mothers, daughters, sisters and friends who are still figuring it out but decided to go for it while they were going through the process. Inspirational, for sure and oh so fun!

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One of my favorite quotes from the Superwoman Summit courtesy of Anna Kunnecke

I am so proud of the panel discussion that I was a part of. I’ll save that for a separate post because that topic deserves my full attention. I can’t begin to capture all I learned at the Summit. The resounding message was one of belonging. There were talks about owning your power, being brave, prioritizing and self-care. Each one was special in its own right and all carried a thread of belonging. We, as women, find it hard to fit in. We’ve been told from men we’re too bossy, assertive, aggressive, bitchy and then there are other women who push us to find our voice, be bold, stand strong. You get the picture. At the Superwoman Summit, everyone was just right, not too much of anything. We, as a collective female community, need to support one another just as we are. Sure, we can support our goals, areas of growth, etc. AND none of that should change who we are at our core. We are perfectly and intentionally created, just as we are.

Post one Summit, I jetted to Atlanta for another, this one specific to work. It was the culmination of months of hard work, with new team members, lots of moving parts and my first show as a manager. It was the most challenging conference I’ve run to date. There were lots of moments where I felt like I didn’t belong, that my big, bold personality was too much. Why? Well, for starters, I wasn’t taking care of myself: Lack of sleep, not eating right and not exercising all contribute to my already stressed out state. Add in all sorts of feedback, both positive and constructive, it was like sensory overall. Plus, as the manager, I was the role model for the team. Just typing that was a lot. Upon returning home, I took care of myself, mind/body/soul. This included lots of sleeping, meal prepping and journaling.

Almost a week later and I’m about back to myself. As an empath, I catch and receive emotions in such a heightened way. I’ve learned a lot about what I need to do to show up the way I want onsite. Much of it includes self-care and setting boundaries. The biggest lesson is that a sense of belonging only comes from within. I know, I know Brene Brown already told us this. Yet, I had to learn it for myself. I belonged at BOTH of my Summits, I earned the right to be there, no matter how bold or extroverted or honest I am. I’ve finally gotten back to that mindset thanks to my support squad and lots of working through what’s true and what I’m telling myself.

It’s really hard to put those negative self-talk stories aside especially when you’re receiving feedback. I’m learning to be kind to myself and remember why the universe put me here in the first place.

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My co-worker/friend and I celebrating a successful Summit

Silence IS Golden

I’m the type of person who can talk to a wall. For most of my life, this didn’t have disadvantages. It allowed me to make friends more easily and fed my curiosity.
Then I entered the real world, full of conference calls, where there was never enough time for everyone to speak. Thanks for a courageous director, I received the very helpful feedback to pause, be more intentional with my words and embrace silence. I wish someone would have told me that sooner!
Before that conversation, silence held a negative connotation for me. If you were silent after I spoke, you disagreed with what I said or were disengaged. In actuality, that’s not always the case. Often, especially in virtual settings, silence can mean that someone is processing what you just said, so they can share a thoughtful response.
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I had been practicing this notion of embracing the silence when I began coach training in March. There again I got the feedback to slow down a bit and give my coachee time to process (hold the space as we call it). It wasn’t always easy but the more I did it, the more it paid off.
Then, this radical idea occurred to me. If I want to slow down, be more present and intentional, then maybe I too needed more silence in my life. Since I’m the type of person who constantly has music/podcasts on, this idea intrigued me. So after my March coaching class, I tried it out – silence for the first few minutes of my morning and the last few minutes of my night. Here’s how it’s helped:

 

  • If I’m overstimulated (think post board meeting or networking event), the silence helps me center and come back down, making it easier to fall asleep.
  • I find it easier to visualize my intention for the day when it’s quiet. This exercise provides me with clarity on what my immediate and long term priorities are.
  • I am more intentional when I share on calls at work, really thinking about my reason for speaking and the words I’m selecting to articulate.
Believe me, I still play a lot of music but I’m learning silence has its benefits. Now at work, I recognize how talking too much can have its drawbacks. There’s a place and time for all voices to be heard but overuse can lead to a belief that the person who speaks that much likes the sound of his/her voice. That’s not what I want my brand to be. I’ve noticed too that staying silent in meetings allows me to absorb what people are saying and hear what’s not being said.
Don’t worry, my voice is still definitely heard…now the words are making more of an impact.
What’s your feeling about silence? Share in the comments!

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Karen and I have no reason to work together. While on the same, broader team but our respective worlds don’t often intersect. Thanks to my loud mouth and Karen’s intuition, we’re each other’s advocates and cheerleaders.

Last spring after my performance review, I marched into Karen’s office ranting about my feedback. It was fair but I didn’t feel like I was given the opportunities to manage. How then would I be promoted if I hadn’t had opportunities to manage?! How was I suppose to create them? Hindsight being 20/20, only I could create them but moving on. Karen listened as I rambled and then offered me the opportunity to share interns with her for the summer. I was 100% in.

We ended up sharing three college interns and it was

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Selfie before our presentation!

an incredible experience. Karen threw me into the deep end at first, making me stretch outside my comfort zone. These impressionable college students showed up on a Monday morning and I had zero of an idea what to do. Luckily, Karen provided guidance via text as I was internally freaking out. I never had interns before nor had I created assignments for anyone or given formalized feedback. I adjusted as needed, shifting my communications style and priorities almost daily. It was hard to balance them and my other work while trying to stay composed as I knew these impressionable souls were watching my every move.

In the end, it all paid off. The interns worked on a meaningful data analysis project that they presented to my directors. We collectively nailed it! The data they pulled together influenced some major decisions. It is one of the highlights of my career. We all left work that day feeling extremely proud!

If I didn’t share my feedback (and frustration) with Karen, I wouldn’t of had the opportunity to manage these interns. It turned out to be so much more than a management opportunity. Now we’re planning for this year’s interns and I can’t wait for this experience all over again, knowing I’ll be even more comfortable and confident this time.

Ask for help. Go after what you what. Find people who will help you reach your goals, who have your back. Have difficult conversations with your managers about new opportunities and promotions. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. I’m so glad I asked and couldn’t have dreamed of a better experience.

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Taking the Good with the Bad

go afterAs a professional, gaining feedback from your supervisors and colleagues is extremely important. Regardless of your career path or level in the organization, learning your observed strengths and weaknesses is essential to improving, building your personal brand and moving your career forward.

For young professionals who are just starting out, feedback discussions and mentoring is even more important. When you’re just starting out, you’re aren’t as self-aware as more seasoned professionals. That being said, it can be difficult at times to hear some of the more constructive feedback. I’m no expert but here are my tips on handling and getting the most out of your feedback conversations.

1. Go in with an open mind: Every time your supervisor wants to talk to you doesn’t mean you are in trouble. Be grateful he or she is taking the time out of their day(s) to give you some comments about your performance. Not every manager is willing to do that.

2. Be receptive and responsive: Don’t go mute during the conversation. Share your thoughts respectively and ask for specific instances when they observe whatever type of behavior you’re discussing. Try their approaches and solutions before claiming they won’t work. Taking notes also helps so that you have something to reference in the future.

3. Raise your hand: If you aren’t getting feedback from your supervisors, don’t be afraid to ask for it.motivation You also shouldn’t receive it once in a while. You and your manager should have a consistent schedule for these types of conversations. This also allows for proactive coaching so that you (and your supervisor) aren’t just reacting to things that already happened. Instead, you both are planning for situations you might encounter in the future.

The only way to turn your weaknesses into strengths is by understanding your areas of improvement. Coaches, mentors and supervisors are great resources to help you identify these areas. It is your career, you need to own it and only you can improve your performance.

Do you have regular feedback conversations with your manager or mentor? How have you learned to handle constructive criticism?

With a Little Help From My Friends

Asking for help is not something I do well. Too often, I throw on my superhero cape and attempt to do it all. Inevitably, sometime gets lost in the shuffle because while I can do it all, I cannot do it all well. Sometimes you need to lay down your cape, give the superhero thing a break and ask for help.

Why is it so hard to ask for help? For me, I feel like I am burdening people when I ask for help or advice. Now, if you ask my family and friends, I’m constantly chatting about problems I need to figure out. So, it may seem like I am totally comfortable venting to my support system. On the contrary, I do actually think about the problem I have and who would be best suited to shed some light on it. I go to different people when I have different problems and try (I’m not always successful here) to share the wealth and not lay all my problems and ramblings on one person.

ProAsking for help at work is a completely different ballgame that took me a while to get used to. The same principles listed above apply while at work. If you feel overwhelmed and need help with your assignments, speak up. With too much on your plate, you won’t be able to dedicate the right amount of time to projects, ultimately resulting in sub-par work. Always try to find information out on your own but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, everyone started someone.

Now for the real reason for this post…

Remember how I said I’m not good at asking for help? Well, after hours of over-thinking and pacing, I am asking you for help. As the readers of this blog, you are familiar with the content I post, times of day I post and my writing style. I need to know what you like, hate, recommend and want more of. So please, please, please, comment below with your feedback, email me privately, send it by carrier pigeon; it doesn’t matter! I have some ideas I want to try out on the blog and need your feedback to make Rockstar in Training even better. 

I am totally open to constructive feedback because I know there’s always room for improvement. If you’re not comfortable posting in the comments section, feel free to email me through the contact page above. Thanks in advance!

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