Steven Wright and Here Stay…

William Tincup Communication, Performance, William Tincup

In one of Steven’s comedic bits he names his dog Stay.  Say “come here Stay” a few times out loud. Funny huh?  That bit is at the 1:40 mark…

Confusing on purpose… You know what else is confusing?  Feedback.  Especially personal feedback. Like, I want to give you some feedback right now… feedback.

Okay, a few years ago I built a model / framework for feedback.  Mostly to help me cull through the bullshit and categorize other peoples thoughts.  My framework is important to me but prolly won’t be important to you.  Meaning, I don’t want feedback on my feedback model… more important to me is that you create a framework for incoming feedback that works for you.

Here goes…

In my Bart Simpson brain, there are only four types of feedback… those of you that are consultants will automatically place this in the now infamous BCG (link) 2×2… on one axis is type of feedback… positive and negative.  On the other axis is delivery of feedback… solicited and unsolicited.  So let’s play this out…

Positive Solicited

This is the best.  You ask someone to give you candid feedback and they tell you you’re f#@%^!g awesome.  Nothing better.  Auditory Xanax.  You can’t live on this just like you can’t live on gummy worms but it sure f#@%^!g  tastes good.  This should happen in your life more than once a day.  If it doesn’t – why is that?

Negative Solicited

Okay smarty pants… you asked for it… you could really stand to practice your presentation more.  Or speak louder.  Or smile more.  Or create better handouts.  Whatever.  Truth is… the person dropping this shit on you cares about you.  They care enough to tell you the truth even if it injures the relationship.  So, reward them for their candor… (1) don’t be an a$$h*%e, (2) carefully reflect – really digest what they said.  Try to learn from the negative.

Positive Unsolicited

This is my flawed personality personified.  I need zero validation.  Whatsoever.  I don’t need people to tell me I’m smart, or funny, or that I’ve lost weight, or that my glasses are cool, or whatever.  I don’t need it.  I listen to it, I pay attention to it… especially the source but I don’t thrive on it.  This is me, not you.

Negative Unsolicited

This is total shit feedback.  Hateful people doing shit to tear you down while making themselves feel better type of shit.  Here’s an example… “I know you haven’t asked… but your breath stinks, you’re a terrible lover and you’re too fat for that unitard you wear weekly.”  Way pass TMI… driving swiftly on the hurtful shit boulevard.  My best advice is to let people know when they do shit like this and don’t allow them to ever speak to you again unless they apologize and play by your rules in the future.  Weird but true… too many people pay attention to this type of feedback.  Haters hate and they suck. Remember that.

So back to me for a moment, I generally live my life not giving two shits about any feedback that is unsolicited.  Period.  I’m graceful when someone compliments me but if someone takes a swipe at me publicly or privately… I give it no power.  None.

With solicited feedback… I take all of that to heart… I carefully consider the source, I reflect, I really think deeply about feedback that folks give me.  I’m constantly trying to get better.  Constantly.

So, using my model, I don’t ask for feedback all that often… but when I do… I drink the shit out of that feedback.  You get the point right.  This article isn’t about me… it’s about how you give and process feedback.  Are you caring about the right things?  Are you listening to the right people?  Do you have a framework that helps you navigate this noisy world?