I have recently finished reading the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod as I have been looking for tips on improving my productivity (I will be writing about this soon). In this book Hal recommends asking family and friends for personal feedback, so that you can identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Although this is not for the feint hearted, it’s a great exercise to truly get feedback from your family and friends – to see how they really see you!
Hal makes this really easy by providing an email template you can use. I tweaked it a little and sent the email off to 13 people in total. Although I was only really interested in the weaknesses, he recommends asking for strengths too. This makes it easier for the person to reply without feeling too awkward.
Although some friends were all too keen to reply with the negatives eh? (thinking you Colin 😉 ).
Within minutes of clicking “send” I got a couple of WhatsApp messages saying, “did you just send me an email?”. After confirming that I did, amusingly the follow up reply said, “oh I was just checking it wasn’t spam”!
Why do I want feedback about my weaknesses?
Have you ever wondered what your family and friends think of you? This maybe a scary prospect for many, for some who are confident in themselves less so.
What I hope is obvious from reading my blog, I am keen to make lifestyle and work changes and wanted to understand if there is anything I need to address. So, who best to find out, then by asking your family and closest friends.
To improve you need to know where you starting point is. By getting a list of negative points I can see if there is a familiar pattern and any issues that could be affecting my relationships with them.
The aim is to improve by relationships with those I spend most of my time, basically to make better and more meaningful connections.
Were there any surprises?
I believe I am fairly self-aware (in fact one of my best friends confirmed this!) and so many of the points raised weren’t a surprise – this was a good sign.
Getting unflattering feedback can be tough – no one likes to have their faults highlighted, especially then displayed online for anyone to see!
That said, this blog is about accountability and promoting change and so you can see the feedback I received below.
To be honest, my emotional reaction to the feedback was okay. This was helped by being aware of most of the points raised. Still a couple occasions I had to resist replying with more than a “Thank you for the feedback”.
It was amusing to note my sister’s replies and her use of English to describe one of my weaknesses (her English Literature degree clearly wasn’t wasted!).
It’s natural to want to defend why you act in a particular way. But this exercise is about realisation and understanding how you can change, and how such change can be beneficial for not just yourself but your interactions with others.
There were some common trends amongst both the strengths and weaknesses, which you would expect if people know you well.
If an attribute was mentioned only once I haven’t put this on the list and focused more on the common ones.
My Strengths and Weaknesses
List of My Weaknesses
- Can be selfish
- Quick tempered
- Lack of empathy
- Shop too much
- Worry about money
- Can be a bit show offy (?)
List of My Strengths
- Good sense of humour
- Good friend
- Open and honest
- Well organised
- Rugged, good looks (erm I added this one!)
What did I learn?
That I like my friends more than my family LOL.
Well what did I learn about how others see me? That I am a nice chap. Well joking aside, it does seem like I am approachable and as my dad said “affable” (those word puzzles certainly paid off for him).
This is nice to know.
The main weaknesses are tendency to be selfish and quick tempered both I am very aware of.
Having personal feedback is all well and good but what can I take from this exercise?
I have a clearer picture of what behaviours I need to work on to improve my relationships with family and friends. Some of the weaknesses can be addressed by modifying some of daily habits, shopping being a big one!
This was a very cathartic exercise and I thoroughly recommend doing this yourself.
If you’re interested, then sign up to my newsletter and I will send the email template I used to get my feedback – you only need to add your name at the end of the email.