Lost in the mountains of southern Spain is no fun. Taken the wrong turn. Found myself attempting to turn around in a hired car on the steepest slope ever. Lost for hours with a sat nav that was just playing with my emotions was worth the:
- £2,500 fee I was about to pay
- 3 days off running my business.
So what was it that I was risking my life and investing large amounts of money to do? This was to receive invaluable feedback.
Growing at the speed of light
When developing any skill, ‘feedback’ is essential. You know this, especially when you are starting. This is what is beautiful about a teacher who cares. You receive feedback. The more feedback you can stand, the faster you will grow in that given area. Much has been written about this idea.
Yet, the ability to find meaningful and constructive feedback to act on when you reach the top of your game is much more difficult than you might realise. People generally lapse into being polite, courteous and do not want to offend and so the typical responses are likely to be:
“You are so good at what you do.” or “You’re a master, I cannot fault a thing”. This is all rather nice, but when you are looking for continuous improvement in your pursuit of excellence, nice is not sufficiently stimulating. A challenge is needed to grow and flourish.
The quest for excellence
I discovered that the top speakers, musicians, dancers, entrepreneurs, writers etc. all continually invest in their own education and feedback. Quite often this might be a 1% improvement, but an improvement nonetheless! As you know we run the ‘NLP Train the Trainer’ programme and to my surprise, I found that up to a half of the delegates for any one course were international trainers and yet none wanted to teach NLP. In all cases, these delegates were specifically looking for feedback to enable them to improve to take them to the next level.
The top 2% of professionals are surprisingly helpful
The key to getting people to the top of their game is to proactively and continuously seek out feedback.
This may require persistence and tenacity in order to follow these important steps:
- Oh yes and for good measure…. ask again!
You will be amazed by the willingness of those people at the leading edge of their profession who are prepared to help, if they appreciate and understand your positive attitude and commitment to succeed.
Yes, it could cost money, time and travel, but my unerring advice is to just go for it.
This is how I found myself in the mountains of Spain. I was in search of Dave Marshall – he was the first UK NLP Master Trainer, and I was keen to get some feedback from him to benefit my own continuous professional development. I emailed him and asked for feedback, he said no. I asked again, he told me he was now retired and that the answer was still no. I asked again, he checked out my references.
Over the years I have become more resilient to setbacks, more robust and indeed more persistent.
I, therefore, asked him again, reiterating my circumstances and his response this time was ‘yes’, but on the understanding that I would have to travel to him.
Now, I am in a profession where I get a lot of feedback. As an international trainer in NLP, every course I run I get written feedback, which I read and assimilate. So why should I bother to go to such extreme lengths to get even more feedback?
I noticed very early during my career that:
- The most successful trainers consistently spoke of proactively obtaining feedback.
- Average trainers merely read feedback forms.
- Poor trainers were just arrogant and boasted that they don’t need feedback.
I have been privileged to train and work with Dr Wyatt Woodsmall. He sat me down and said, “Get as much feedback as you can. Work out the difference between feedback and opinions. Act upon it.” he then said, “It doesn’t matter if you like the person.”Remember” he said as he dropped his voice, “value your own feedback.”
- Feedback is the breakfast of champions and not Wheaties.
- When you reach a level of skill and expertise, it is essential to get continuous feedback to grow
- Ask, Ask and Ask
- It is not readily available, make an effort to find someone who can give you feedback.
It took me some time driving around in those formidable and precarious mountain slopes before I managed to detect a phone signal. As soon as I did, I phoned Dave, and he guided me along my journey with safe passage. In the few hours I was able to spend with him, the extent and the quality of feedback he provided was exceptional. It was this invaluable information that gave me the recognition by ANLP to become an ANLP ‘Master Trainer’
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Article was written by John Cassidy-Rice