Archive for ‘Cynical Recovery’

June 17, 2012

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Woulda, Shoula, Coulda…. These three words seem so innocuous, but they can end up being so insidious. Just think of most of the instances that you have uttered these words to yourself. Were you reflecting on a lesson learned or just simmering in a pool of regret? I honestly admit that these words for me fall decidedly in the regret category.

Think of how you feel when others say these words to you. Are you feeling supported? Do you feel that the other person is trying to help you learn something? Or, do you tend to feel that the other person sounds “smug” or “superior”. Frankly, I do not personally recall a positive collegial conversation that involves the triad of Woulda, Shoula, Coulda.

It is my opinion that these three words have the capacity of anchoring in a past event. These words can be used to reflect on something that has the potential to be improved, but most of the time these words convey the sentiment “I screwed up” or “you totally blew it”. For our own internal dialogue, these three words can be replaced with the more powerful “I will”, “I want” and “I can”. By changing the verb tense towards the future, we change the focus from the past that we cannot change to the future that we can achieve by learning from the feedback of past events.

When interacting with others, I feel it is best to first consider if the other person wants feedback. Sometimes people will tell us stories with the hope that they will listen and validate our feelings. For the person with the hope of thoughtful validation, “Woulda, Shoula, Coulda” can generate a feeling of invalidation. If someone truly wants our feedback on a past event, it is a lot more helpful to describe the possible options and encourage them to choose the best option for themselves.

“From what you told me, you could have done this, that or the other. The consequence of this would be X, the consequence of that would be Y and the other would lead to Z. What do you think your best option would be”.

Since we cannot change the past, it is best to focus on what we can accomplish in the future. I hope you are able to leave “Woulda, Shoula, Coulda” where they belong, in the past.

June 7, 2012

Renouncing Resentment

Resentment: a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury.

Personally, I have found little or no personal value benefit to the feeling of resentment. I have found that resentment is just longstanding anger that people cling to and feel justified in keeping this feeling of anger due to a perceived wrongdoing.

Imagine the last time you felt resentful towards a person or a course of action. Did you enjoy this feeling, or did you feel a great sense of dis-ease? Did your resentment lead to any positive actions? Did resentment lead to an argument?  Or does your resentment just simmer or boil inside of you?

Resentment is a feeling that is entirely related to how we chose to think and feel about a situation. There is no universal “cause and effect” since resentment is a chosen response.  For example, if someone tells you a joke and you choose to take offense or insult, you are choosing a resentful response. You could just as easily let it go. You are the one defining what “offensive” is. Even if the other person is stating the comment with the intent to offend, it is our choice to take offence.

Resentment can come out of our imagined intentions of others. We may interpret others actions as having the motive to make us feel bad. The majority of the time, other people act the way they are going to act without thinking about us. We are not the central character in their story, but since we are the central character in our own story we can view other people’s motivations as relating to our own.

Resentments can arise due to what we choose to believe about specific situations. I have the tendency to get resentful when interrupted frequently during a conversation. In my mind, I have constructed the belief that I have the right to complete a thought. When I am interrupted, I experience a feeling of “injustice” and I may start to feel “ill will” to the interjecting conversational partner. I know that I need to release this feeling of resentment. I know that the majority of the time there is no animosity from the person interrupting me and the other person is just engaging in his/her own conversational style. Even if the other person is intentionally being rude or argumentative, I can choose to avoid feelings of indignant displeasure.

Sometimes, resentment can arise based on how we define our own roles and the roles of others around us. At home, I occasionally feel resentful when my children make multiple demands regarding what I need to do for them. During these moments, I do not feel that it is fair that my children’s needs should come before my own needs. However, when I analyze this situation, I realize that my children are being developmentally appropriate by considering only their own needs. I also acknowledge that I have the choice of placing my needs, wants and desires before the needs (and requests for toys, games, fun stuff and money) from my children. Since I have composed an internal story that I am a “loving parent” that truly cares for my children, I strive to do everything possible to make sure that feel cared for. When I realize that I am the author of my own story and that I am in total control of the situation at hand, there is no reason for me to feel resentful.

 

“Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others– it only changes yours.”

Shannon L. Alder, 300 Questions to Ask Your Parents Before It’s Too Late

 

Strategies to Renounce Resentment

Forgiveness.

Forgiveness is just the act of letting it go. We can forgive the person that we feel has done us wrong and we can forgive ourselves for holding onto unproductive resentment.

A few years back, I harbored a lot of resentment towards a specific individual. I will call this person “Ire” to protect the “guilty”. I kept a long list of grievances against “Ire” that I “knew” were justified. After being miserable for a while, I realized that there was no action that I could take that would make the other person apologize or to make them offer restitution for their actions. The only thing that I had the power to do was to forgive them, and let go of all of my resentment. I still interact with this person in question. Without my emotional baggage, we can interact on a professional level. I have not forgotten the events, but I have forgiven the person for their actions.

Meditation

Meditation can be an effective strategy to let go of the internal dialogue justifying our resentments. By practicing meditation where we the focus is becoming unattached to our thoughts, it becomes easier to let go of thoughts and stories that we keep rattling around in our brains to justify our anger. Sometimes specific meditative practices are helpful as well. When I decided to forgive “Ire” for the multitudes of resentments, I found a specific Buddhist meditation helpful. For this meditation, you start your focus on the people that you love dearly. Then you reflect, “I wish ____ to be free from suffering, and the root of suffering”. After starting with the ones you love the most dearly, you repeat this intention to you close friends, then you repeat it for acquaintances, then finally you wish the people who for whom you harbor anger to be free from suffering, and the root of suffering.

Denounce your victimhood

One of the causes of our resentment is the perception that we are “victims”. In viewing ourselves as victims of the words and actions of other, we give away our personal power. Remember that you are the protagonist in your own story and that you have the power to choose how to respond to all life events.

Write your own story

Journal or write down how you want to feel in a given situation. If you are resentful about a situation where you have no control, record how you can change your emotional response or what lesson you have learned from the situation. It may also be helpful to re-write the life scenario where you are free from resentment. Imagine what it would feel like to let go of that resentment.

Affirmations

There are many affirmations already written about choosing forgiveness and letting go of resentment and anger. I have found that the podcast “My Thought Coach” by Stin has good audio affirmations on this topic. It is also very easy to write your own affirmations and review them every day. For example “I forgive all for every perceived hurt or injustice in my past. I choose to let go of anger and resentment and to learn for every life experience”.

Letters Never Sent

As symbolic exercise to release yourself from causes of resentment, you could write letters to the person that you feel has done you wrong. In these letters, the goal is to get your feelings about the situation on paper with the intent of letting these feelings go. Once you have finished with the letter, you can burn them ceremoniously or shred them into tiny pieces while thinking “I am done with this!”

 

Related Articles

How to Overcome Resentment

 

June 3, 2012

Beware the “Exception”

In life, every experience offers us a chance to learn. Even if a life experience appears to get in the way of following your chosen goals or pushes you off your desired life path, you can learn from these life experiences in order to move forward positively. In my own life, I realized that there are multiple factors that can interfere with a desired life outcome. I have learned that if I do not pay attention, I am “doomed” to repeat the same “mistake” or situation.

For me, one observable pattern that contributed to being pushed off my desired path is that of the first “exception” to a specific rule or new habit that I am trying to establish.

For example, when I started working on the goal of attaining an optimal body weight, I established a personal rule to stop eating after 8 PM. The habit of not eating after 8 PM is beneficial since one typically consumes all of the calories one needs before 8 PM. I noticed that any food that I consumed after 8 PM was just to fulfill a craving. For me, I typically crave for salty and fatty foods that contribute to elevated blood pressure as well as empty body fat building calories.

It would seem that not snacking after 8 PM would be easy to follow. Intellectually, I know that I am not truly hungry and that any snacking would get in the way of my health goals of attaining and maintaining an healthy body weight.

This easy to follow healthy habit was sabotaged by the first “exception”. The first exception happened on a challenging day where things did not appear to go as planned. I was experiencing stress due to a death in my spouse’s family. One of my children was feeling bullied by a girl at school. When I turned on the news, my feelings of unease were bolstered by stories of calamity and disaster worldwide. On this day, I choose to “treat myself” and started the first exception to my snacking rule. In my brain, I justified my behavior by telling myself that I have been working hard and I deserve some tasty snacks after the kids went to sleep. I also deserve to watch some TV, have a beer and munch on some tasty buttered popcorn. Before I knew it, I had reverted to a non-productive habit every night after the kids went to bed. I eased into the comfortable habit of snacking and watching TV instead of productive habits or activities such as writing, paying the bills, folding the laundry or attending do household responsibilities.

I understand that this is a rather tame example. However, this type of pattern exists in more significant habit change such as quitting smoking, getting away from substance abuse, or any other addictive habit pattern. An exception can break the rule. Once the rule is broken we can go back to old patterns of behavior.

The next time that you consider establishing a new habit, remember the dangers of taking that first step off the path. It is easier to just stay on the path than straying off your desired path and getting lost.

Related Articles

May 22, 2012

Social Stories

Social stories are en excellent example of the importance of our own internal narrative. “Social Stories” was developed by Carol Gray, a speech language pathologist to help children with autism how to learn social skills. Social stories are essentially scripts that teach the rules of how to engage in social situations. These stories work since the students review the stories on a daily basis so the social scripts become a part of their internal dialogue. The social stories are reviewed prior to the relevant event so the script can be practiced in a natural context. Families and teachers that use “Social Stories” report many success stories about how effective this strategy is in facilitating appropriate social skills.

If social scripting can work for people with Autism, it can work for us as well. We can write our own scripts on the beliefs, feelings and attititudes that we want to change. We can benefit from reading positive affirmations on a daily basis. We can reap rewards by writing and reviewing the goals that we wish to achieve. We can consciously change our perception of the present and change our internal dialogue as well.

 

April 29, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award

I am very grateful to Currie Rose and to Holistic Me for nominating “Influence Versus Control” for the Kreativ Blogger Award! Currie has been very supportive of my little corner of the blogosphere. Currie has a great blog entitled “Based on a True Story”, which brings truth, humor, and a positive spirit. Holistic Me summarizes her own blog with the Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” I definitely agree with Holistic Me’s philosophy that we “are responsible for our own health and our own well-being. “ I encourage you to stop by these blogs because they are awesome!

The Kreativ Blogger Award works in a similar way to a chain mail, in that if you are nominated, you then nominate seven other blogs for the award in order to accept.

To those I nominate (and for everyone else), here are the rules:

▪   Thank the nominating blogger and provide a link to that blog

▪   Spread the love by nominating seven other bloggers, including their links

▪   Tell your readers seven things they may not already know about you

So, here are seven things about me:

  1. I grew up in Berkeley California. The odd thing about growing up in Berkeley is that people can have a preconceived notion about what those crazy Bezerkley people. When growing up I loved all of the café’s in the Telegraph Avenue area. I also loved going to the original Peet’s coffee. Ummm, coffee.
  2. My mother was an Art History Librarian and UC Berkeley. She was in charge of the Italian collection. I know very little about art history.
  3. My father was a soil engineer. However, I did not end up being good at math.
  4. I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology at University of California at Davis. For the record, I did not get into Berkeley.
  5. After UC Davis, I spent about a year as a substitute teacher for special education classes. This experience was influential in my career decision of becoming an occupational therapist in school-based practice.
  6. I went to “The Ohio State University” for OT school. Spending a few years with actual winter makes me appreciate the weather that I currently experience in San Diego.
  7. I am in the process of writing a book. I started “Influence Versus Control” to encourage me to write on a regular basis.

And my nominees for the Kreativ Blogger Award are (in no particular order!):

  1. David Kanigan – Great thoughts, quotes and images about choosing a positive response.
  2. A leaf in springtime – Inspiring art and ideas
  3. Jay the Baker – A sweat dose of positivity daily
  4. Goss Coaching – Great advice on getting where you want to go in life.
  5. Looking at the Sky – Best described by the author: “My thought today is to keep moving forward.  Looking for new things to create.  Finding new ideas that inspire you to move forward and learn more.”
  6. Momentum of Joy – “Where spirituality meets reality”.
  7. A Kiss of Bliss – Positive art and great ideas. Well written and encouraging.

 

Thank you all!

influenceversuscontrol.com

influenceversuscontrol.wordpress.com

 

April 29, 2012

Responding to Life Events

One of the most influential equations that I have learned in my life has been:
E + R = O
For this equation;

  • E = Events
  • R = Your chosen response to an Event
  • O = The overall outcome

In the model, the “Event” is neutral. It is not “good” or “bad”, it is just a life circumstance. It is our Response to an event that will shape how we label or perceive the event in our minds. How we choose to respond to an event directly affects the overall outcome.

For example, imagine you are a school-aged kid being called a name by one of your classmates. You choose to respond by calling the other kid a worse name. The outcome is that the other kid hits you.

Imagine this scenario with a different response. You are a school-aged kid being called a name by one of your classmates. You ignore the other kid and move to the other side of the playground to be with a group of your friends. The outcome is that you have moved on with your day without conflict.

Let us look at this equation from an “Influence versus Control” perspective

  • E = Events – These are things that you typically can’t control. You may be able to influence factors leading up to events, but the event would have happened without you. Life events can be the small events such as being cut off in traffic or misplacing your house keys to major life events such as your house burning down or losing a family member.
  • R = Response – This is where you have some control. You can choose your response. When a life event happens, you can remember that there are multiple ways to respond to any situation and you can practice taking the time needed to evaluate your response. Since your response has a strong influence on the outcome, it is important to take personal responsibility for your responses to all life events.
  • O = Outcomes- This is an areas where we have influence. If we react “positively” to a situation, we are more likely to experience a “positive” outcome.

One Saturday, I experienced an opportunity to reflect on my responses to a common life situation. While playing with my children at the beach, I noticed that I no longer had my car keys. I could not use my phone to call my wife since my phone was locked in my car. My kids had just come out of the water and they were cold. There was a storm coming and rain was just minutes away.

In the past, this situation would have freaked me out. I would have become extremely frustrated and my blood pressure would have risen. Most likely, I would have started using expletives at an increasingly frequent level.

When I reflected on the fact that the only thing that I could control in this situation was my response to this situation, I was in a much better place for problem solving. I knew that there were just a limited amount of possible actions. First I unpacked all of our stuff to look for the key. Then I backtracked everywhere that we had been at the beach that day. Once I felt that I had just about exhausted all my options. I asked a fellow beach goer to barrow their cell phone. I called my wife to see if she could come pick us up. My wife’s phone went straight to voicemail, so the option of being “rescued” appeared off the table. While the kids played on a play structure, I went back to an area of the play area  that we had been playing before the key was lost and I started a grid search of the sand area looking for the key. After a while of searching,I found the key.

In this scenario, if had chosen to respond with anger, I could have “ruined” the day for my children and myself. By remaining calm, our family fun day continued on without incident. The next time “life happens”, remember you have the ability evaluate your response before you take action. When we chose to remain calm in a problematic situation, we are more likely to consider all of our options and problem solve effectively.

April 24, 2012

Don’t Judge a Book……

This weekend, I went down to the bay for a birthday party for one of our family friend’s four-year-old daughter’s birthday party. When we drove up to the picnic area, I noticed a “Biker Gang” in the picnic area next to us. There was loud “hip hop” music blasting on the sound system. Every few minutes, the air became full of the thunderous noise of another group of ten or more bikers arrived to the park. As we started the birthday party, there were at least 75 “bikers” at the park.

We have many brain processes that focus on survival. One of these brain processes is “heuristics”. Heuristics is a basic problem solving strategy that uses a limited amount of data to generate a conclusion. This is helpful for survival since we need to respond immediately to any pattern that looks like a threat. For example, if we are outside in the mountains at night and hear a sudden noise, we need to instantly decide if that noise is a group of deer moving away from us, or an approaching mountain lion. If we decided to spend extra time to make sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that the noise we heard was a mountain lion, it may be too late for us to get out the “threat zone”.

Socially, we are also programed to look for threats. We instinctively see people that have more similar characteristics to ourselves as not being a threat and those that are more dis-similar as being “outside our tribe” or a possible threat. Unfortunately, we may use this “heuristic” to evaluate people when there is no obvious threat. If we are in a social situation where there is no indication that someone is out to “do us wrong”, we need to use our conscious mind to suspend judgment.

At the Birthday party on the bay, I consciously reflected on the common cultural stereotype of a person that hangs out in a biker club. People typically imagine that people who associate in biker clubs as rough and tumble folks that are up to no good. When I decided to suspend judgment, I noticed that these guys had a bake sale, and a “bounce house” for the kids. One guy that was associated with the motorcycle club drove his ice cream truck to the motorcycle club meeting. Every “biker” that I spoke with was open and friendly. One of the “bikers” offered to help me move my Kayaks to the water. My kids had a good time with the “biker” crew. They were able to jump in the bounce house, they got cookies from the bake sale and they got ice cream from the ice cream truck.

As the old saying goes “you can’t judge a book by its’ cover”. Some times you need to gather more data to see the common humanity in all of us.

April 20, 2012

Get Back on The Horse!

On Day 18 of the “Habit Change Challenge”, life got in the way. I decided to stay up late playing “Ping Pong” with a couple of friends. When I got home, my youngest child kept me awake the remainder of the night and early morning since he had difficulty sleeping. I chose to sleep next to him so he would feel more comfortable and sleep better. Since I did not get much sleep, most of the night, I decided to sleep in to 7 AM. Therefore, I did not exercise or meditate in the morning. In the evening, my wife and I had a birthday party to go to after work. When we got home, I feel asleep with my youngest when I put him to sleep. So, I on this day I strayed from the habits of logging my gratitude, successes, meditating and exercising.

I almost made it! I hope that if you took up this challenge that you are still going. If this is a competition, I hope that you beat me.

I am not a victim of certain circumstances. I made decisions about life priorities that allowed my new habits to fall into the background. I chose to spend time with people that I do not see as much and I had a lot of fun doing so. I had a great time playing games with my friends and going to an adult birthday party without my kids. I choose to prioritize sleep over my target habits. The sleep that I got felt good! I do not feel badly about the choices that I made these last few days.

I am “jumping back on the horse”. I am not giving up on my new habits. I am starting over with the resolve of going another 21 days of being consistent exercising, meditating, listening or reading affirmations and logging my successes & gratitude. I have made progress and I choose to reflect on my “setback” as “feedback” instead of “failure”.

From this setback, I had a few thoughts about “falling off the horse”:

  • 1)   Get back on the habit as soon as possible!
  • 2)   Look at the larger goal of what you want to change
  • 3)   View the break of habit as a “blip on the screen” and start over
  • 4)   Commit to the new habit “one day at a time”
  • 5)   Avoid letting the exception become the rule! If you break a rule once, do not think that it is OK to do it again since you are already “off track”.
  • 6)   Focus on how awesome it feels to keep moving forward towards you goals instead of any possible shame of making a “mistake”
  • 7)   Analyze what happened that lead to you getting off track and use that feedback to get back on track
  • 8)   Forgive yourself!

Remember, the ultimate goal is to appreciate all the good that is a part of your life and make choices that bring more opportunities to appreciate what you have. Have fun with your own adventure!

-Andrew

 

March 26, 2012

GRATITUDE 4 the 7 X 7 Link Award!

First and foremost, I would like to show my appreciation to Marcy King at http://orples.wordpress.com/ for the nomination of the 7 X 7 Link award. Marcy has been very encouraging of “Influence Versus Control” and she always provides great comments. Marcy’s site includes great information about her children’s books as well as some cool photography.

And now, the rules for the 7 X 7 Link Award

  1. Give thanks and acknowledgements to the blogger who nominated you for this award
  2. List 7 of your previous links in the following categories. Most Helpful, Most Popular, Most Beautiful Piece, Most Controversial, Most Surprisingly Successful, Most Underrated, Most Pride Worthy)
  3. List 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for this award.

Here are my SEVEN Links:

1.) Most Helpful – Setting Personal Goals

2.) Most Popular – Personal Responsibility

3.) Most Beautiful Piece – People First!

4.) Most Controversial – Identity

5.) Most Surprisingly Successful – Being Sick

6.) Most Underrated – Find Your Passion!

7) Most Pride Worthy – Scripting For Emotional Success

SEVEN things about myself (Andrew Gilbert)

  1. The most important thing to me is being a good father. I prioritize spending time with my children as much as possible.
  2. My wife, Emily Dolton, is an inspiring member of the local community and she does much as she can to address the needs of people with special needs. She is also an amazing artist/ muralist (http://www.insideemilyshead.com/)
  3. I have a child that has “special needs”. I definitely feel that his needs do not define him and are just an attribute (see People First blog). The love that I have learned from this “little guy” and overcoming his early health obstacles have been the main inspiration for changing my overall life outlook from “totally cynical” to a “recovering cynic”.
  4. As a “recovering cynic”, I admit that I am not perfect. I have not “been to the mountain top”, but I have seen postcards. I practice every day to be more positive and collect more data to reinforce a more optimistic worldview.
  5. As a school based occupational therapist, I have collaborated on two programs that utilize movement as an instructional strategy. One of these programs was demonstrated to improve vision skills, the other was demonstrated to improve handwriting / penmanship for Kindergarten students. I feel that movement is vital for all of us and that movement is a vital instructional strategy.  (http://occupationaltherapystrategies.com/)
  6. I love to surf. It helps clear my brain and it is great exercise!
  7. When the surf is blown out  or too small, I like mountain biking.

For this award, I did my best to “spread the love around”. There are some great bloggers that I follow I want to acknowledge Jay Rondo for the Versatile Blogging nomination and “a kiss of bliss” for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”. Thanks again to Marcy King at http://orples.wordpress.com/ for the nomination of the 7 X 7 Link award!

The SEVEN nominated bloggers for the 7 X 7 Link Award are:

  1. http://davidkanigan.com/ – For positive words and art.
  2. http://positivecookieattitudes.wordpress.com – More than just positive baking advice. Consistent positive blogging action!
  3. http://identityspecialist.net/ – Total honest, in your face blogging action!
  4. http://gyatoday.wordpress.com/ – This blog reminds us that it is always better to give than receive.
  5. http://everythingvnothing.wordpress.com/ – This blog provides consistent inspiration.
  6. http://momentumofjoy.wordpress.com/ – The name says it all. This blog keeps the joy moving.
  7. http://currierose.wordpress.com/ – A wonderful spirit! I love the whimsy and honesty.

 

Thank you very much for stopping by “Influence Versus Control”. Please stop by and say “Hello” to the great bloggers listed in this award.

March 21, 2012

Giving Feedback

I would like to joke and say that feedback is “better to give than receive”. However, as we stated yesterday, feedback is very important for us to optimize our own performance.

Sometimes, we may hesitate giving feedback to others since we are unsure of how they will react to it. Will they be appreciative of the feedback?

Will they be defensive to the feedback? Will they respond so negatively that the relationship may be damaged?

Things to consider:

1) Is feedback desired by the recipient?

Before giving feedback to someone else, determine if the other person wants to hear it. For example, if a friend is telling you about a difficult situation, that person may be “unloading” or telling the story for catharsis. In this case, feedback about that person’s role in the situation would most likely not be welcome.

Them: “John came home last night and we got into a huge argument! He said that he was sick of cleaning up after me!”

You: “Hmm, maybe you spend more time cleaning up after yourself”

Result: FAIL!

2) Is it your role to give feedback?

In the work situation, it is almost always appropriate for a supervisor or manager to provide feedback to people in  “subordinate” positions. However, there are a lot of questions to consider when determining if it would be appropriate for you to provide feedback to your supervisor or manager? Do they really want your feedback? Would your feedback reflect negatively on you in the future? What is the price of you remaining silent versus you providing feedback?

3) Use the “Hamburger” approach

Back in my college days when I was a peer counselor, we always encouraged the “Hamburger” approach to giving feedback. The buns are compliments; the meat is the issue that needs to be discussed. Compliment first, feedback then end with a compliment.

 “Hey Bob, I always like the fact that you take reports home to finish them. I know you may be pressed for time, but you may need to slow down and look for typos. I appreciate that you always focus on the content of your work.”

4) Frame points of feedback in the form of a question

People often do better with new or challenging ideas if they feel that they have thought of the idea themselves. Asking questions encourages the listener to create a visual image of a possible situation. Questions can guide the listener to consider his/her own performance and can work well for people who have high ego investment.

5) Keep the feedback about the issue at hand

When you give feedback, it is best to make it clear that you are discussing an issue/idea/event that is separate from the person that you are talking too. Instead of stating “you did this”, consider saying, “when this happened”. Sometimes it is valuable to stand next to someone and look at a visual representation of the issue together. For example, you could hold up a report and state, “in this document, there are a few typos.”

6) Avoid Always/Never Language

When you user the terms always or never in your feedback, you have a good chance of the listener feeling that that have already failed and there is no chance of improving. The terms always/never can make the recipient feel judged or attacked. When others feel attacked, they may likely “shut down” or go on the counter-offensive.

7) Avoid over using “Why?”

If we use “why” too many times, it can sound accusatory to the recipient of feedback. Just think back to your childhood. Imagine how many times your parents asked you the accusatory rhetorical question “why can’t you clean your room” or “why can’t you be more like _____” If you use too many “why” questions with your feedback, the other person may hear “why did you mess up” or “why can’t you do things right”.

Remember feedback should be of some use to the person you are providing it to. When considering giving feedback to another person, imagine how you would feel if you were the recipient. We cannot control another’s reaction to feedback, but surely can control how it is given.

References – My thanks go out to the following sites for inspiration

http://www.buildingpersonalstrength.com/2010/04/giving-feedback-no-2-people-skill.html

http://www.givingeffectivefeedback.com/giving_effective_feedback.html