Feedback is Like a Pair of Glasses

I recently had to get glasses. As I mentioned previously, I’m at an age where these things just happen. All of the signs were there, but I was just not ready to accept it. I was finding it harder to read my screen and my eyes were straining as I was reading a book or a menu.

At first, I blamed this blurred vision on my new smaller laptop, so I just increased the font on my screen. I thought the book I was reading just had really small print. I would occasionally borrow my wife’s readers and those helped, but I just chalked it up to my eyes being tired because I was looking at a screen all day.

Finally, I broke down and had an eye exam. This is the first eye exam I have ever had because my vision had always been near perfect. Well, this exam was a little bit of a reality check. I’m farsighted. I can see things in the distance clear as a bell. I can read the menu from the restaurant across the street, but I struggle to see the menu right in front of me. That all changed when I got a set of prescription glasses. I now have clear vision for those things right in front of me. These glasses are the feedback I needed.

Goals can be farsighted. You set a lofty goal and put a time to accomplish it far off in the future. You can see it clearly because it’s far away. sometimes the goal is so big, that is easy to see in the distance. But when you look at what needs to be accomplished today, your goal becomes fuzzy. You find it hard to see all that needs to be done now to make that happen without some help.

Historically, I have never been much of a goal setter. Shocking, I know. An HR guy pushing his client groups to get all of their goals in the slick performance management system, all the while, leaving his blank or just unattended. Recently, though, I’ve changed my thinking around this practice and I’ve set out a vision for my future. I started to get intentional about what I want to accomplish and map out how I want to get there.

Setting a running goal encouraged me to get more serious about what I want to accomplish in my career. I found someone to work closely with me to set that vision and work toward the goal and that exercise has been life-changing (more on that in a future post). Going through that exercise, it was very clear for me to see what “great” looks like in the future, but I was really struggling to see how to get started on that vision.

Fortunately, I received some very prescriptive feedback. There were actions and roadblocks that were preventing me from seeing all of the things that I was doing on my day-to-day job that kept me from showing up as my best self.

This feedback was like a pair of glasses that helped me clearly see the stuff that was right in front of me.

Now, these specs are taking a little bit of getting used to. I find myself wanting to take them off and just go back to my old habits of increasing the font or straining my eyes. But every time I use them, I’m able to accept that these are needed.

If you’re farsighted like me, it’s easy to picture accomplishing a goal in the distance. The vision is crisp for something far away, but as it gets closer, that vision becomes blurred. Sometimes you just need some prescriptive feedback to help you better see those things right in front of you.

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