Friday, friday: feedback

Hello, hello.
How are you doing today?

My week has been good and full!
Saturday night Justin and I went over to Mom's for dinner and a round of Bananagrams.
Sunday I was grateful to do some filling in for the people of Hosanna Lutheran Church for All Saints Sunday. 

Sunday afternoon through Tuesday I was at the Stoney Creek Inn in Onalaska for the Fall Theological Conference which is an annual synod event. I learned a lot from our speakers and from the time with colleagues. There are truly fantastic leaders in southeastern MN. 

I've found myself thinking a lot about adaptive leadership and quoting Rev. Louise Johnson over the last couple days, so that is a signal that it was quite impactful!

 Some people loved the conference experience and a portion of attendees didn't. As a member of the staff, I hear it all, and I'm deeply thankful for people's openness in sharing. I'm learning over time that all opinions are important, and I want to hear them all because the multitude of voices/opinions can help us to be our best as an organization. 

BUT I'm also learning/relearning the same lesson I've been learning for 34 years: I don't need to "run into action" based on every individual piece of feedback...which is my nature to do. After the conference I was basically ready to quit my job and become a therapist...only to find out that the vast majority of the dozens of people who filled out the evaluation form had very positive experiences and even detailed specifics about what they enjoyed. But even if they hadn't - even if no one had liked it - that would've been okay and doesn't necessarily mean I need to run away from a job I love. 

Moral of the story: feedback is important. Every voice is important. But I don't have to be so quick to assume that I suck at everything and need to try harder and it's all my fault and I should've done better and everyone is disappointed in me.

It's an old tape. It's my default. It's a destructive thinking pattern that gets triggered by the strangest things. I have to consciously work at NOT allowing my brain to go there. 

Working at the Office of the Bishop is a gift, and I'm immensely thankful for the experience. It has given me a whole new perspective on organizational leadership. Sometimes it's hard to be in a position where you can't make everyone happy/pleased all the time. There was the same challenge in parish ministry. 

I'm learning over time that the best thing I can do a lot of the time is listen non-defensively and non-anxiously. Love. Value. And listen. And take really good care of my spirit because strong leadership requires an ability to be fully present without being reactive or judgmental. 

The day after the event, I read this reflection...the timing couldn't have been better! It felt like a gift. 

The last few days have been good back at work - and today I'm off. Alleluia. Time to do chores, run, read, and reconnect with the universe, God, and my spirit.

I hope you take time to love on your spirit, too! 


  1. #justastory
    You're amazing, Emily.

    1. Love you and love this, friend!

      Amen, sister!


  2. Hey Em,

    As Winifred Gallagher teaches us in "Rapt," what we choose to focus on makes our reality different than anyone else's, and whatever we are focusing on at the moment becomes important out of all proportion, because we're focusing on it at the time. I think those points combine to suggest that when assessing feedback, we should also consider what the person giving feedback was focused on, and we should consider the feedback later, after not focusing for a while on the events to which the feedback applies. By considering the feedback's focus, we gain perspective on its importance to the overall event. By waiting to consider the feedback until a more neutral time with respect to the event, we gain a more balanced perspective in our own mind. This combination gives us greater confidence that we can assess the merits of the feedback and then take appropriate actions, if any.

    I can't imagine you doing less than your best to prepare for an event, and our best is all any of us can do. Doesn't mean we can't learn something for the next time, but perhaps we can be content with our efforts in the past, given what we knew then. I need this lesson frequently.

    Take care.

  3. Excellent!!! Such a valuable perspective. Thanks for taking the time. I really appreciate it, Paul.