I was attending my elder son’s school award ceremony the other day at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. The hander outerer of prizes and speaker for the evening was one Rachel Burden, she of BBC Radio 5 Live.
I joke that I have a face for radio.
Well poor old Rachel has a voice for the silent movie era. Raspy and adenoidal. And talkative. Very talkative. Like silence would kill her.
Rachel’s speech was OK. Six out of ten. Can and must do better.
She did say one thing though that I thought was noteworthy.
She was talking about her struggle to scale the heights of the meejaa and she said you should always ignore those who criticise you and tell you you cannot do what you want. (I would never have told her not to do radio. I would have pleaded.)
She said you should just ignore these fiends and do your own thing regardless.
But this is not the noteworthy thing she said.
The noteworthy thing is what comes next.
She said you should also ignore those who praise you.
You should also ignore those who praise you.
I got some really good feedback the other day. From a University where I am the man behind the lectern. They had gone out to past attendees to check for real “results” like more people employed etc etc as a result of my wonderfulness. You see the University get paid for the results.
The feedback was excellent “as it always is Mark.”
I was pleased. Because I was feeling a bit unloved (in general, not by the Uni). Yeah. Even me sometimes.
Because I work essentially alone now I don’t get a lot of feedback other than from my children. They don’t comment on my coaching but they tell me I am the greatest cook on earth. They’re not so far wrong actually. You should have seen the figs and Parma ham I prepared for lunch today – the way I opened the box of figs and the pack of ham. It would have made Escoffier weep. In a good way.
But Rachel is correct.
I need to ignore the praisers.
Because you should ignore everyone. The trolls and the fanboys.
Don’t know about you but what I really need is friendly (and hard and honest) criticism.
A positive challenge. A supportive challenge. Not “hey Marky you are great/crap, I love you/hate you…”
The only thing that matters…
…is measurable progress. And a coach or a mentor to accelerate the journey.
Only teammates matter, everyone else is just someone with an opinion. And as Clint Eastwood said…”opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one…”
The critical critics are usually observers – commentators on a football match; journalists nipping at politicians. They’re not players.
The positive critics are in love with you, at some level. Which is nice.
But love is blind…
I don’t mean to be ungrateful for the nice words. I do appreciate them and hope they continue. I do need them. I just must not get too satisfied with them.
The coaches and mentors we should have are not (only) emotionally involved. They also want you to succeed. Which is why they don’t focus on the negative, or the positive. These are value-judgements and of little value.
They focus on what happened vs what you wanted…
…and how to close the gap. They focus on the gap.
The gap between what you wanted and what you got is personal. Neither right nor wrong. But worth analysing and basing change on.
In the end, the only judge that matters is you.