During my days at the Tom Peters Company, I once gave an overview to prospective clients of Terry Pearce‘s program, Leading Out Loud, which was all about authentic leadership communication. (And, to this day, probably the best program of its kind–offered nowadays by BlessingWhite).
Afterward, one of the participants came up to me and said that, while he enjoyed my presentation–that I spoke well, used slides well, was funny and entertaining, etc.–he didn’t think I’d really modeled what I was teaching. Which is very tough feedback when the topic is authenticity, you know?
Needless to say, I was devastated, and I fretted and obsessed about it for the rest of the day. Was that guy right? Was it true? I’d felt like I was being myself; at least, I seemed real to me. But had I been coming across as disingenuous, or even–heaven forbid–cheesy?
That evening, I called Terry–the master himself–told him what had happened and asked for his counsel.
He said two things to me which literally changed everything about the way I’ve approached my work since:
1. You can’t connect with everybody all the time. Sometimes people just aren’t going to “get” you, and this guy just may have been wrong.
2. Assume he was right and go from there.
That’s become one of my personal gems of life-altering advice: whenever you get negative feedback, understand that it may be wrong/misguided/untrue, etc. But if you assume (for a moment, at least) that it’s right, what could you do differently from now on?
What’s the best bit of advice, coaching or counsel you’ve ever gotten from a mentor, colleague, family member or friend? We’ve been talking about this at the Greater Than Yourself (GTY) Project group on Linkedin. Please join us there or add your contribution in the comments section below.
More to come on this topic soon…