The sound of an out-of-tune guitar strummed by an obnoxious four-year old jolts me.

It’s the feedback sound from my new computer, notifying me that I’ve done something wrong. In my opinion, I’m hearing this noise too often.

First a little history. About 30-days ago, my ten-year-old-trustworthy computer made an odd pop…the monitor went black…and then I smelled smoke. After 90-ish minutes of my own techy detective work I was pretty sure the prognosis was not good.

To make a long story short, within 24-hours I had a new computer, transferred my old hard-drive into the new computer case, reloaded software (discovering all the issues of 32-bit verses 64-bit programs), transferred licenses, and ultimately started my new adventure with Windows 7 (I’ve been on XP for…ever).

My new computer has created a huge learning curve for me. Hence the irritating guitar noise.  Come to think of it, I bet it’s an Asian lute—which makes sense because I chose a sound theme called Zen Garden. But this sound is not very “zen.”

I’ve started feeling like all I hear is that lute harassing me and my inabilities. BUT I know “computer geek” is in my DNA—I’m not computer-dumb by any means. So, being the list-maker I am, I start tallying how often the lute plays its “faux pas” notification.

Sunday – 2 times in 3 hours, Monday – 4 times in 2 hours, Tuesday – 0 times in 5 hours (whoa, good day), and Wednesday – 6 times in 4 hours. Bringing me into the present as I type stats from my scribbled faux-pas scorecard.

What I notice from my tally isn’t the errors. If I read between the lines I can see my unwritten success rate. See, I’ve made 12 errors (according to the Zen Garden Lute) in 840 minutes. That’s a 98.6% success rate—leaving only 1.4% of error. For less than 30-days into a new operating system, overcoming hurdles and fears—I would have to say, “I ROCK!”

So why, as recently as yesterday, did I think I sucked so badly at my computer?

Perhaps my “sucking” perspective would have been less skewed had my computer made “good job” sounds during the 98.6% of the time I rocked. But silence was my enemy. Lack of positive feedback caused me to think I was…lacking. Inadequate. Stupid and dumb.

Life’s obnoxious lute is always there to jolt you into knowing you suck… And isn’t that EXACTLY how life works? People yell, honk, grunt and scowl. But when you’re awesome and rocking it—rarely will you hear, “great job washing those dishes” or “wow, you fill-up a tank of gas with such ease and perfection.”

Can I be really honest? All of my clients—be it life or creativity coaching—are Super-Star-Rock-Stars. Yet they come with no idea that THIS is—or could—be true. So part of what I do (pared with teaching and a couple mad-skills) is to encourage-Encourage-ENCOURAGE! And it’s not phony-baloney. I only tell the truth, and it works.

Here’s a real example you’ll get. A coach runs alongside an athlete telling them “you can do it—go—keep pushing!” And that athlete does more with the encouragement from the coach than they could have done alone in silence. We NEED positive feedback.

The reality is you don’t have a marathon coach, a weight loss coach, personal trainer, or creativity/life coach with you 24/7. Or do you?

To have a coach with an outsider’s perspective is a wonderful gift—one small hour of coaching during a week produces some crazy great results! But what about the rest of the week? Or for those who don’t use a coach, or have a mentor? What then?  The truth is, you have TWO coaches with you 24/7.

The first coach is YOU. You must learn to give yourself positive feedback. Sadly, this doesn’t come naturally for the majority of us. It’s a learned skill—just like washing dishes or putting gas in the car. You learn it and then you ROCK IT!

The second coach? Mine is called God—the spirit that lives in me. It’s the Coach that is whispering the Truth to us all the time. Unfortunately, often, I’m not listening because I don’t slow down to hear or read It. But when I do—I hear—“Baby Girl, you are a Super Star! You can do it! Go! Keep pushing! I am right here to run the distance by your side.”

Study after study has proven that when you HEAR you are doing good—you do better—you achieve more. This results in being filled with joy, hope, and positive energy that can be shared with others. And isn’t that what we are asked to do—be light and salt (hope) to others? How can you give, if you don’t have anything to give?

So Superstar, chances are you’re rocking it at least 90% of the time—but those audible distractions 10% or less of the time (be it an irritating “zen” lute, the complaining co-worker, or grumpy family member) seem to be what we pay attention to. WHY? Because it’s what we HEAR. So take some time each day to tell yourself OUT LOUD or at least write down how you are a superstar. Is it a bit cheesy? Sure, but who cares! And before long, you’ll be so filled that you can’t help but encourage others so they can hear good feedback too.

© 2009-2012 Sherry Meneley All Rights Reserved soiled wings createHEART create heart truth soulution soul’ution life coach coaching art journal

18 thoughts on “Feedback

  1. Sherry, you are soooooo good
    …at encouraging me & others
    …at finding life lessons here & there & everywhere
    …at putting words together so creatively

    Sure enough; you rock!!!

  2. What Kaye said…..x10!
    I find your blog to be consistently positive, encouraging, realistic and enjoyable beyond any others I’ve read. So, imagine my joy at seeing more than one post per week recently.
    Rock on!

  3. This is super validating to me!

    Why do I always hear about the mess in my house, but only silence comes when it is sparkly clean? (I could go on…) I may think I’m doing good 90% of the time, but I only hear about the 10%. I guess my focus needs to be not on others and what they do or do not say–but on what God says. Brilliant idea. 😉

    • I know how over the top cheesy it sounds to tell yourself “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone-it people really like me” (some of my favorite SNL moments come from Stuart Smalley
      But more and more, I’m discovering that we have to tell ourselves out loud that we are good – because in this crazy-fast-paced world we just don’t get to hear it enough.
      So yeah, cheesy but so important… and something about this feels sacred, and God has got to be there in these small and thin spaces.
      Laura I’m so glad you liked it !

  4. Thanks for the affirmation to tell ourselves “I ROCK” and for the reminder to slow down and listen to our biggest fan – God.

    And by the way, you are my #1 ROCKSTAR in your writing, art, leadership and friendship!

  5. Great post and good message. To quote Garfield, quoting Shakespeae, “If all the world’s a cookie jar, and all the men and women merely crumbs, you’d be one of the chocolate chips”. Your posts are always very encouraging. Thanks for being authentic and doing what you do best. Keep on keeping on 🙂

  6. Women seem to be more prone to this affliction than men…let’s face it. You ask a man,”Where did you get this cake?” and he’ll say “Shop-Rite”. Ask a woman the same question and her answer will be “Why? What’s wrong with it?”

    Men need to hear these words too. I know my husband can smile for days when I give him a compliment, especially in front of others.

    We are wired to be needed, to hear affirmation, to gravitate to those who build us up. Thank you for being one of those people in my life Sherry. Great post!

  7. Wow, so insightful! Thanks for your words. I’ve been realizing just that over the past year…how important it is to celebrate the small successes/gains/improvements in everyday life. We usually just brush over these, when, like you said, if we would acknowledge them, they would encourage us to keep going and to try harder and to overflow with encouragement for others. Keep writing! I’m so glad I found your site.
    Liz 🙂

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