Seeing ourselves more clearly…

For a long time, my friend, a former journalist and writing pro used to be on my case.

Every few months we would catch up for a coffee at the local and have a rant and rave about all things that either fired us up or depressed us including injuries and accidental mishaps!

That is what you do with your friends, right?

And like good caring friends, my friend would also go deeper. Not infrequently, he would gently prod me to write more and to write about the ‘real stuff.’

“The stuff that is inside of you that you are not writing about! If you choose to, of course,” he would say.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I totally agreed with him mostly because I didn’t really get what he meant.

But over the past 10 years or so, I have come to know and understand more.  Finding our voice, especially if this was not encouraged growing up, can be challenging.

In fact, it can feel downright scary – a coming out of a sort. But this can also feel equally liberating when we finally start to do so.

What I have come to know is that when someone trusted – be it a friend, colleague, partner, manager, family member, our kids – say something to us that may feel contrary to our own view, rather than a downright rejection, it may just be worthwhile allowing and creating some space around that feedback or ‘nag’ as my friend used to call himself!

Sometimes we are not ready to hear that feedback. And ego-driven creatures that we are – the temptation is to push it aside or worse, make the other person wrong.

In the work setting, this happens with both formal and informal feedback.  The next time you are given such feedback, a great coaching question to play with and ask yourself is, “if this were true, then what?”

In this journey of life, we are all pupils and teachers to each other.  I am forever grateful to my friend for his encouragement and for persisting even when it must have looked like ‘water off his friend’s back!’

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Jasbindar Singh

Jasbindar is a business psychologist, leadership excellence coach and author of 'Get your Groove Back'.