The Discipline Of Getting Feedback – 6 Steps For Getting The Feedback You Really Need


It’s impossible to read the label when you are inside the bottle.  You need somebody to speak into your life – someone who will read the label and tell you what is really on the inside.

Do you like getting feedback from others?

What kind of feedback do you like?

What kind of feedback do you really need?

Are you surrounding yourself with people who will tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear?

Stretching can be painful, and getting feedback from others can be a stretching experience.  And yet feedback is what we often need in order to grow – in order to recognize our gifts and shortcomings – and in order to live our life to the fullest.

With this in mind, I think it’s time we start practicing the discipline of getting feedback.

Today, I need your feedback, but first I want to give you some advice on practicing the discipline of getting feedback.  By using these six steps, you will keep stretching in a worthwhile direction.

6 Steps For Getting The Feedback You Really Need

  1. Open up your mind and heart.  Do you really want to stretch and grow?  Are you really willing to listen to feedback even when it is hard to hear?  Before you even ask for feedback, you have to decide to be open to what you will hear from others.  Some feedback will be easy to hear.  And some feedback will be very difficult to process.
  2. Ask people you trust.  Asking foolish people for feedback is like inviting people to throw tomatoes at you for the fun of throwing tomatoes.  But there is wisdom to be gained from those you can trust.
  3. Examine the feedback.  Once you’ve received feedback from others, it’s important to evaluate the feedback.  Run it by others to see if the feedback is on target.  What feedback deserves attention, and what feedback should you ignore?
  4. Filter out any off base feedback.  Once you’ve examined the feedback, get rid of the off base feedback.  Feedback that misses the mark will lead you to the wrong target if you decide to listen to it.
  5. Take action on justified feedback.  Whatever is pure, trustworthy, and just deserves our attention.  Take corrective action on constructive feedback.  Continue to act on the things you are doing well, and stop doing the things you need to stop.  Make the necessary changes based on the feedback you receive (otherwise, you are wasting the time of those giving feedback).
  6. Repeat the process.  Asking for feedback is not a once and done event.  Getting feedback is an endless process that should be followed again and again.  So go back to step one and start it all over.

Now that I’ve laid out these six steps for getting the feedback you really need, it’s my turn to ask for your feedback.

I’m in the process of evaluating my writing focus and I really need your help.  I am going through this exercise to help me stretch and to help others stretch.  I started this process by asking myself to write down the names of 20 people who I think could truly, genuinely benefit from what I have to say.  I filled a page in my journal with these names.  Then I spent time considering the most common questions people ask me.  Here are a few of the questions that came to my mind:

  • How do you have time to do everything you do?  (And when do you sleep?)
  • When are you going back to Guatemala?  (And can I come?)
  • How did you and your wife raise such great kids?
  • When is your next book coming out?
  • How did you get into that (home-brewing, chicken-farming, blog-writing, etc.)?
  • Do you have any advice for long distance running?
  • How do you stay so positive all the time?
  • Can you be my mentor?
  • How do you stay so consistent?
  • What have you done to get to where you are now (and what do I need to do to get there myself)?
  • How do you live out your faith in a faithless, fallen world?

To confirm I’m on the right track (or to add to the list), I have been intentionally asking the 20 people on my life (and a few other people) to give me feedback.  I’ve been asking them this question:  “If you could ask me any question, what would the question be?  In what area of my experience do you think I could help you?”

It’s a little scary to ask these questions, but it’s an experience I need to have.  I need this feedback to make sure I am on the right track.  I need this feedback to help me see what is on the inside of my bottle.

And it’s feedback I need from you as well.  I value your feedback as a reader and participant in The Stretched Community.  And so, I leave you with this question, and I hope you will take time to leave me a comment.  I need you to help read the label on my bottle.

If you could ask me any question, what would the question be?  In what area of my experience do you think I could help you? 

Please take time to leave your response in the comments.