Asking for feedback (both positive and constructive) is not an easy thing to do. VP of Marketing at SparkToro, Amanda Natividad, rejoins Dr. Emily on the show to discuss self-awareness, self reflection, and the scary but powerful act of asking for feedback.
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Ready to break an emotional sweat? Welcome to Emotionally Fit with me, Dr. Emily Anhalt. As a therapist, I know that staying mentally healthy takes work and repetition. That's why I'll share emotional pushups, short actionable exercises to help you strengthen your mental fitness. From improving your friendships to managing stress, let's flex those fields and do some reps together.Dr. Emily (:
Hi, everyone. I am here today with Amanda Natividad, VP of marketing at SparkToro, who will be doing this pushup with us today. Hi, Amanda.Amanda (:
Hi, Emily. It's good to see you.Dr. Emily (:
It's so good to see you too. And today we're going to be talking about soliciting feedback. I'm curious, what's the culture of feedback where you work?Amanda (:
We don't have any formalized way of providing it. So our real policy is really just, as soon as something bothers you, speak up, please say something. My boss, he said something like, "It would break my heart to note that something didn't sit well with you and you left later on because of it." So I would love just to have this honest conversation whenever it comes up.Dr. Emily (:
That's really powerful. I think giving people permission to give feedback goes a really long way in making it feel doable. So that's amazing, especially because in my experience, people tend to shy away for asking for feedback directly. And this can be for all kinds of reasons. If our caregivers growing up didn't ask how we felt about things, or if our workplaces have not had cultures of regular feedback, or if we've given feedback and it hasn't been received well, we might not have any model for what feedback is supposed to look and feel like.Dr. Emily (:
We might also avoid asking for constructive feedback because we're afraid of what we'll hear. It's never fun to hear that we're not doing as well as we should be, or that we've let someone down. And we might avoid asking for positive feedback because we feel like it's not okay to request validation or praise, but soliciting feedback, both positive and negative is a really powerful way to build self-awareness because it's pretty tough to change something before we know about it. And it's often the case that people don't share their thoughts or feedback about us until we ask for it. And for the record, we all need validation from time to time.Dr. Emily (:
So I'm curious what you think about this idea? How comfortable do you feel asking for feedback?Amanda (:
It depends. I'm a lot more comfortable with asking for feedback if I do it quickly, as soon as a task or a project has wrapped up. And I think it's probably because there's no time to get baggage about it. It's a lot easier for me to ask if I do it quickly versus ruminate and sit with something, and then a week later be like, "Oh, my gosh, I was awful. I'm sure you hated it. What did you think?" That's a lot harder for me to do. So it's almost like, if I don't ask right away, I might never ask, if that makes any sense.Dr. Emily (:
That's helpful to know about yourself because then to maybe build that into your process. What do you think it is that changes over that week that makes it harder to reach out about it?Amanda (:
So I ruminate a lot. That's just how I'm wired. I'm trying not to do it so much, but in that timeframe, I start picking apart all the small things. And then I just sit with those feelings even though I don't want to.Dr. Emily (:
Well, I definitely don't think you're alone there. I think rumination is almost universal thing that we grapple with. So I completely understand that. And today's pushup I guess we'll challenge that a little bit because it is all about actively soliciting some feedback. And maybe today you challenge yourself to solicit feedback about something that didn't just happen just to lean into that discomfort a little bit.Dr. Emily (:
So the pushup today is to text or email three people. They can be friends, family members, a colleague, a manager, anyone in your life, and ask them to share one thing that you're doing well and one thing that you could do 10% better. So if you're wondering how to word this for anyone out there who wants a template, you might say something like, "Hi, I'm working on my emotional fitness. And today's challenge is to ask for feedback from someone I care about. I'd love it if you would share one thing I'm doing well as a friend, colleague, partner, and one thing I could do 10% better. Thank you so much for helping me grow my self-awareness and be the best friend, or colleague, or partner that I can be."Dr. Emily (:
And then once the information comes in, when they respond to your best to receive whatever they say non defensively, and use it as an opportunity to grow. And you might find that they ask for your feedback in return. So for anyone out there listening, who's ready to do this push up, go ahead and press pause and send those texts or emails, or keep listening to hear how it went for Amanda.Dr. Emily (:
So Amanda, how did it feel to send these text messages or emails asking for feedback?Amanda (:
I was scared. I guess this feels like my first time, really, very proactively asking for feedback. And I don't think I've ever asked friends for feedback. At least not anything that was specific. I really love in your phrasing that you said, what can I do 10% better? Because I feel like it's a very non-confrontational way to ask where it's not just, what can I do better? There's maybe an implication that's like, "Well, what can I do a little bit better?"Dr. Emily (:
I like that. That resonated with me. So I asked a good friend of mine over text, and she said she really appreciates how honest and open I am with her and how supportive I am with her. But what I could do 10% better is be a little bit more open with myself or a little more responsive. I think there are times that she just worries or wonders about me, and just wants to hear more about how I'm doing.Dr. Emily (:
Wow. What was that like to hear?Amanda (:
I mean, surprising in that we talk pretty regularly, so it didn't occur to me that I would seem like I wasn't letting her into my world enough because I thought that I was. But at the same time, where it makes sense is we still haven't seen each other in a long time. So I think it's probably also that, having that physical disconnect is an extra layer of disconnection.Dr. Emily (:
Do you feel open to leaning in and giving her a little bit more of yourself in the way that she's asking?Amanda (:
Yeah, I'm definitely willing. I think it just didn't occur to me. And I think I just have a lot on my plate right now, so just figured, "Oh, we're all busy anyway. She doesn't need to hear this random thing about my day. It's fine."Dr. Emily (:
Yeah. Well, you've brought up so many things. The first one is how common it is, I think, for it not to have occurred to us that there might be something a person needs from us. And that's the value of asking for feedback in an ongoing way. Second, you said it was scary to do. I just want to normalize that too. Every single person I've done this with has been like, "Ugh, I do want to do this, and I also don't." So I just want to say that makes all of the sense. But then the last thing I want to say that I think is important is we have to contextualize feedback we get in the sense that anything someone thinks about us is also partially being colored by their own experience and their own lens of the world.Dr. Emily (:
And so if someone says, "Hey, you need to be more X," it's probably true that there's something to what they're saying. And also, that there's something going on for them around that thing. And so I don't tell people to just blindly follow any feedback they get. Rather, feedback is an opportunity to self reflect and to think to ourself, "Oh, is this something I do want to work on or I do want to do differently?" And I think it's important to have both those factors in mind.Dr. Emily (:
I just so appreciate you doing this, exercise, this push up with me today, Amanda. And it's just so wonderful to see you.Amanda (:
Yeah. Thank you. And thank you for asking me to do this. It was scary, but I'm glad I did it.Dr. Emily (:
Thanks for listening to Emotionally Fit, hosted by me, Dr. Emily Anhalt. Did you do today's pushup alongside me and my guest? Tweet your experience with the hashtag emotionally fit, and follow me at Dr. Emily Anhalt. Please rate, review, follow, and share the show wherever you listen to podcasts. This podcast is produced by COA, your gym for mental health, where you can take live therapist led classes online. From group sessions to therapist matchmaking, COA will help you build your emotional fitness routine. Head to joincoa.com. That's join C-O-A.com to learn more. And follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @JoinCOA. From studio pod media in San Francisco, our producer is Katie Sunku Wood. Music is by Milano. Special thanks to the entire Coa crew.