February 6

You Can’t Reach Your Best Self, By Yourself | WT #38


Why is it, that we give great, usable feedback (I think) and don’t ask for it enough ourselves?

Lately I have been proactively seeking feedback from colleagues for various Foundation projects, many of which involve messaging.

While not everyone is able to respond all of the time, the general feedback I have received has been tremendously helpful. As I see their suggestions improving quality, I thought to myself: “Why haven’t I asked them before?”

I think the answer goes back to something I believe – you can’t reach your best self, by yourself.  Ironically (or moronically), many of us try anyway. What’s that mean? When we don’t include others, we get in our own way, and perhaps settle for a good result and miss-out on the chance for a great one.

What can we do to get help, and stay out of our own way? Something I’m doing is looking for ever more specific ways to include others, while remaining focused on the few, specific things I do best.

In one example, when helping a client with strategy: I gave attribution to their approach to the operational part of strategy, and used it instead of mine, because I determined it’s what’s best for this specific project. 

The bottom line is that if we remain in our own bubbles, and presume we have all the answers, it ultimately holds us back. We don’t grow. We limit ourselves to just one perspective: ours. 

If you find yourself guilty of this, you aren’t alone! Seek candid feedback from friends and colleagues you trust; you’ll be glad you did.

About the author 

Darren Smith

Darren Smith is Co-Founder of the Authentic Leadership Institute. He is a native Texan and a graduate of Dallas Jesuit and Texas A&M University. Over the past 25 years, Darren has visited 35 countries and led 100 strategy programs. He and his wife have five children.


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