The other day, I asked Mona, the president of The Rich Dad Company, what she thought of the rough draft of my new book, which is due out this fall. She took a deep breath and said, “I am disappointed in it; it lacks punch and leaves me wanting more.”
Her words cut like a knife. I felt like I had been stabbed in the heart. I didn’t respond. But once I got over my initial reaction, I was able to appreciate Mona’s candor–and her courage. I asked her what was missing and what we could do to improve the book. (And I’m happy to say that revisions are well under way.)
Unpleasant feedback is never easy to take, nor is it easy to give. We would all rather give or hear only positive feedback. Yet feedback, both positive and negative, is essential for personal growth, character building and business stamina.
The world is one big feedback loop. For example, when your CPA hands you your financial statement, he’s giving you feedback on how smart (or stupid) you are as an entrepreneur. When you step on your bathroom scale, you’re also looking for feedback. Many people don’t step on a scale or look at their financials for the same reason: They don’t want the feedback. They want to pretend everything is just fine.
In business, if your ads don’t increase sales, that’s feedback. If a customer walks into your store and walks out without buying anything, that, too, is feedback. Blogs are feedback. My rich dad often told me, “There are two types of feedback: to your face or behind your back.” He frowned on the businesspeople who surrounded themselves with yes men. He said, “Yes men are dangerous people. Yes men are nice to your face but often stab you in the back.”
Feedback is felt physically. I feel feedback in my heart. Some people feel feedback in their throat and others feel it in their gut. The next time you feel your heart, throat or gut react to what you’re hearing, be grateful for the honest feedback and then grow from the experience. Face-to-face feedback takes tremendous courage on both sides. Cowards find other ways of communicating.
One of my most important tasks as an entrepreneur is to keep the door open for both pleasant and unpleasant feedback. If I don’t allow feedback, honest communication becomes polite, the company struggles and customers go elsewhere. If you want to be successful, step on the scale, read your financials and ask for feedback . . . good and bad.
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