My site and my CV promote me as “today’s foremost expert” on this and that, and the Shameless Testimonials on my site have all sorts of clients claiming I do the speaker’s and consultant’s version of walking on water.
Hardly. At least not in Dallas recently.
I gave a talk in which not only were the evaluation reviews not great, but that apparently, in some of my word choices, it sounded to the client (who was actively taking notes) and to all in the room, like I was dissing the client who paid me to come speak to their group. Talk about the ultimate sin!
Wow. Ow. Big time.
Now, I could chalk it up to a bad day. We all have them. Me too. But there was something in all the feedback that forced me to look inward. I still am. On long bike rides, in the shower, as I’m falling asleep…. Where was I coming from that made me come off that way? What made me choose that tone? What was I trying to say that clearly came off the opposite of what I intended? Is there something bigger here that I need to reevaluate? Will I ever be able to regain the trust of those who invited me? I’ve given back the fee for that day, and taken a few other steps, but what more could I, should I be doing? Big and important questions, all.
Introspection, truly valuable and deep introspection, is hard! It’s so easy to blow off feedback and other people’s observations. But it’s really hard to look deeply into oneself and question what needs to be questioned.
This note is just a journal-type scribble at a personal inflection point. If it’s like the many others I’ve had in my career, hopefully I’ll move through it, taking the lessons I needed to learn with me, and helping me be the best Me I can be.
But sitting right here right now, with only the less-than-thrilling feedback ringing in my soul, and the lessons learned still not there yet… This is tough!