WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

April 29, 2013

WordFood in Feedback

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 8:38 am

Whether you’re a boss or a parent, a friend or a lover, a client or a customer, at some time you’re going to have an opportunity to provide feedback. How you do it is a reflection on who you are, and the way you hold yourself in the world. It’s also a reflection of how you treat yourself. This was brought home the other day when I had the chance to provide feedback to a caregiver.

After decades of bodybuilding and a certain amount of abuse, I’d finally starting taking care of myself by going to the Denver Integrative Massage folks on Galapagos. They offer 90 minute massages for the paltry sum of $35 dollars, and you have students of varying skill levels work on you. Last week, instead of my regular therapist, I got a first timer- and I was his first massage ever.

Although I spent some time explaining where I needed  him to work- the injury areas and problems where there was a back sprain or pain, he started on one leg and spent nearly forty minutes ministering to just that leg. Then as though he suddenly realized what he’d done, the other leg got a little attention and he hurried to catch up. By the time he got to the problem areas he’d run out of time. He was hesitant, and overly sensitive to any indication that I was experiencing pain. His rhythm was way off which was disconcerting, he often stopped completely which left me wondering where he’d gone. In all, it was an awkward experience, and I didn’t end up feeling either relaxed or relieved.

We are given sheets of feedback and I wrote “let’s talk” on mine, and sat down with him on our mat. He was a little anxious. My challenge was to find a way to put myself in his position, and not operate from where I was feeling about the massage. What transpired was a wonderful conversation about the experience. I shared with him what was going on inside me, what I sensed about his emotions, and what I might suggest. By beginning with telling him that I tried to imagine what it might be like to be doing my very first massage with a client, how hard I’d be trying to do everything right, how hypersensitive I might be to every cue, we connected.

The exchange allowed us to explore the session and have a learning experience together without his feeling defensive. What he reminded me was the importance of placing myself in his shoes, and how vulnerable he would be feeling to potential criticism. How important positive feedback would be for his first time around. It was humbling to remember how a few words can lacerate, or leave someone uplifted and encouraged.

In exchanges such as these, I’m the one doing the learning. The burden is on me to wield words in such a way that whatever my petty ego wants is set aside, and others’ needs are taken into account first.

Whether you’re a parent or a partner, feedback is an opportunity to uplift everyone involved. If you can enter the exchange humbly and with a willingness to be taught, it becomes something almost holy.

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