Another month has zipped by, there is a sense of spring after a long, cold winter and our little son Vince has learned how to walk. Also, I have been in Los Angeles getting superb inspiration at Michael Neill’s Supercoach Academy with George Pransky. Incredible insights into coaching, success and life in general that has already had an impact on my life.
As you probably already know, Michael is coming to Sweden and Gothenburg on the 23rd of September, and as you can tell from the above I encourage you to come if you have any chance. It will be a truly life changing day where Michael will share the best of whatever he has come up with lately.
This month I take a look at criticism. What is your reaction when you hear that word? Even though we all can use it to get better most people find it negative. No matter how sincerely it is meant to be ”positive feedback” it very seldom comes across as such, does it? How come? Scroll down, read and find out…
Gör ditt liv till ett Mästerverk,
Quote of the month
" A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something. "
- Wilson Mizner
Have you made any mistakes lately? If you are like me and most others you have probably made a few. Because if we think that we aren’t making any, chances are that our mistake is that we are not doing anything to challenge our ability and grow. And even when we are playing it safe we might make them because we are a little jaded and are taking our success for granted. Simply put, mistakes are a part of life whether we like it or not.
It becomes especially obvious with a 1-year old toddler at home. Because a baby hasn’t yet realized that their head is larger than their eye, so they tend to bang it into almost everything. Nothing strange about that, right? A bit of crying, some comforting and off they go again. The problem arises when we start to think that making mistakes is a problem. Because as soon as we do our body language and tone of voice implies that they should know better.
Which in turn makes the person you’re trying to teach feel attacked rather than helped. Now, despite even the best intentions they start ”acting out” and from there your communication quickly goes down the hill. Can you relate to this at all? My guess is that you can, since making mistakes due to the fact that we don’t know better yet hardly is reserved for babies.
We bang our heads constantly at work, in our relationships and anywhere else we can’t see what’s really going on. Because before we can do anything we usually mess up plenty of times. It doesn’t matter if it’s about hitting a golf ball, being a great leader at work or making our partners feel unconditionally loved. If we can’t see the ”it” differently it’s hard to do it differently and then we spend all our practice ingraining bad habits.
So, if we want to break free and make our learning period as short as possible we want to be able to admit our mistakes and listen to people who can help us ”see it”. In other words, we need to both give and receive constructive criticism to develop to the best of our ability. If we want to speed up our rate of success just walking around being positive and hoping that things will get better on their own doesn’t quite cut it, does it? Now, if being good at giving and receiving criticism is that important, how many hours of training have you had on it? If you’re like most people the answer is zero.
Criticism that both speed up learning and lifts you up, is that even possible?
Therefore, I want to take the chance here and now to show you how you can help others get faster to their goals by one single basic understanding. The difference between constructive criticism and the type of criticism that leads to worse problems than the one you started with in the first place. Problem creating criticism focuses on what someone else needs to do to make life better for you. Constructive criticism focuses on what they need to do so that it becomes better for them.
That difference might be easier to grasp with an example, so imagine the following scenario. You have made a mistake that have cost the company a lot of money. Your red-faced boss comes in and says: ”This has cost us a lot of money and we have to redo everything from the beginning. Do this, this and that before Friday and make sure that it works from now on. I have more important things to do and I really don’t want to have to come back here and find the same problem all over again.” What would your reaction be to that kind of criticism?
Now instead imagine that your boss comes in with a relaxed body language and says with a calm voice: ”This has cost us a lot of money and we will need to redo everything from the beginning. But I think that if we do it like this it will be both easier and faster and you will have a good process for handling similar situations in the future. Let me know if there is anything more you need to have this done by Friday and I will do what I can to help.”
Would that be different? You bet. In the second example the boss clearly demonstrates that they have your best interest at heart, rather than displaying all the ways in which it has made their life more difficult. It works the same with everybody else, be it your spouse, your kids or friends. As soon as you imply with your irritation, disappointment or anger that their mistake wasn’t acceptable because it has made your life harder, any lesson you’re trying to teach them goes down the toilet.
My invitation for you this month is therefore to find out what happens when you see that others, just like babies, are doing the best they can even when they make mistakes. When you really get that you will all of sudden not need to have patience with them – you only need that when you’re still irritated -and can give them criticism they can accept and use. This acceptance of them (and yourself:-) as they make mistakes will insure that they learn faster, that you have more fun together, feel more connected and that you all fearlessly can stretch you limits. I think you can imagine what an uplifting difference that will make for all parts of you life…
This book has been on the best seller lists for so long that it probably haven’t passed any of you by. Still, it has split readers in between great and ”crap” which I always find intriguing. And, I find it even more fascinating now that I’m more about trusting my inner wisdom, rather than collecting other people’s recipe for success. So, if you haven’t got it already -buy it. If you do have it – read it again. You’ll be glad that you did. Want some extra insight into the author’s thinking? Go here!
You can find more books under Suggested Reading
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As an integral part of living my vision "to inspire, educate and make a difference in enough peoples private and professional lives to make a positive difference in the world", I write and distribute a free monthly coaching letter. In these I share various ideas, thoughts and insights that I think can be of value for all of you who are interested in getting the absolute best out of life.Read more