One of the things I wrote on a post on People Everywhere: Things that Transcend Culture, is that everyone has a need for positive feedback. It has something I have been thinking about a lot ever since I have come back from the jungle in April.
I found leading a group of Shipibo women hard. Mainly because they are not very forthcoming when it comes to feedback and also because it is obviously difficult to have conversations when the other party doesn’t feel comfortable conversing in Spanish. I left the jungle wondering if it had been worth the sacrifice of leaving my oldest two at home, plus another week away from home after a transient month with a team. I needed to hear that my presence there made a difference.
I had three important conversations:
1) Mark - he reminded me that just me being there was an encouragement to the women, and spoke of my desire to feed into them - that they as women were valued. He told me that it also showed them that discipling others wasn’t just for the men, it was something women could and should be a part of too.
2) Huddle (online leadership group call)- there I was also reminded of the importance of being there and encouraging other women with my presence, and given helpful ideas for ‘next time’.
3) God - I asked Him to give me a picture of what was going on. He showed me seeds in the ground and small saplings coming through. He told me that our time in the jungle was not about fruit this time, but about seeds and saplings, and that we were going to see very little in the physical realm this time that looked significant, but growth was happening.
Helpful feedback is really important:
- It hopefully helps us see things from a larger perspective
- It gives us connection with other people - what we all need and crave
- It helps us to assess, dream and plan the next steps and helps create momentum to the next things God is sharing with us.
- It stops discouragement and isolation (which the enemy is keen for us to feel) when we have just stepped forward.
You would perhaps be surprised that only about 2% of people ever respond or comment on a blogpost or a newsletter we send out. (That is a true statistic in general.)
Everyone assumes that everyone else is commenting, giving, connecting, but the truth is that only a very low percentage of people ever give feedback or reach out to connect.
Realising the human need we all have to receive helpful feedback has made me think about where I should be offering more feedback.
Recently I have tried to be intentional about sending quick emails or catching a quick conversation with one of our team when I get a chance and not leaving it to later / never. I have been making more of an effort to comment on photos or statuses I see where before I have preferred to hide behind cyberspace scared what people might think of me or read into what I had said. I have also tried to be honest with others when I need some feedback and encouragement, when my temptation is to not want to show need for others.
I need to hear from those around me who are also running the race of motherhood, or leadership, or being human, (and of course, also make time to listen to God’s perspective too) that I am doing okay. That what I am doing makes a difference where it matters most. And I expect you do too.
So what about you? Where can you offer more feedback to those around you?
Who can you catch up with this week and encourage? Will you take that quick moment to comment on someone’s status or photo? Will you take a moment to email and spur on a discouraged friend? Don’t assume someone else is.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11
I am enjoying reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown at the moment. In that book (which is I would highly recommend - truly life changing for me), she mentions about the need for feedback and how we should filter it, especially when we are vulnerable and daring greatly. Many of the ideas in this post have come as a result of chewing over her material.