It feels good when people agree with you. If feels even better when they say supportive things and offer their encouragement. But when it comes time to carry out a really tough change, are they actually helping?
The answer is, it depends…It depends on whether they are saying what they think you want to hear, or telling you what you need to hear in order to be successful.
Some people set themselves up for failure, surrounding themselves with head-shakers, yes-sayers, make-you-feel-gooders. Those who dare to speak up and say “The emperor has no clothes” are quickly silenced. We see it with business leaders, with politicians, and even with our family and friends. Inevitably their trains go off the tracks; unfortunately, they are not the only ones who suffer in the process.
Most of us are more open to the truth, even when it contains bad news. After all, you don’t want a doctor giving you a clean bill of health because he doesn’t want you to be upset about the illness he has diagnosed.
Unfortunately, all too often friends, family, change practitioners, and peers are less candid. Perhaps they don’t want to upset you, to hurt your feelings, to dim your enthusiasm. But, in their absence of candor they are not helping. In fact, they are putting the change you are working on at risk.
Tell people that you want them to challenge you, and mean it.
Tell them to give you the bad news as well as the good, and don’t shoot the messenger.
Have candid conversations.
Ask tough questions.
Acknowledge your mistakes, and learn from them.
Learn from the mistakes that others have made.
Surround yourself with people who want to help you by being truthful with you. Then encourage them to do so. You will hear the good news, get the encouragement. And, you will hear what you need to hear in order to course-correct, to stay on track, to succeed.
What do you do to ensure that you are hearing what you need to hear?