I recently attended two intensive professional development programs at Harvard University and it seems a little odd to be linking this wonderful experience with blisters. Saying that I believe there is a link with my blisters and giving and receiving feedback.
How often do we receive REAL TIME feedback and we ignore it?
- I purchased some new shoes and I noticed my shoes rubbing on the heal of my foot and I dismissed this feedback
- I noticed that my feet were swollen from the long flight and I ignored it
- I noticed the skin becoming hot and I ignored it.
- My husband commented on the blister and I ignored his comments.
When I finally did listen to the signals (feedback) my small blister had developed into a full blown blister. To make it worse, I then went and purchased some cheap band aids which did not help resolve the blisters.
What I learnt from blister story is that:
- I didn’t do my preparation to break in my new shoes. I just expected them to perform based on their brand reputation.
- I assumed that I wouldn’t have a problem with the shoes because they were high quality and expensive.
- I didn’t prepare for the what if’s like the Navy Seals do. What if my feet swell, what if it’s hot.
- I took too long to listen to the feedback.
- I didn’t take the feedback seriously at the time.
- I was reactive rather than proactive.
- I was dismissive of the feedback signals (the rubbing, the hot spot and the swelling).
- I showed little empathy for my feet and my needs.
- I became so focused on trying to make these shoes fit because I didn’t want to acknowledge that I had made an error of judgment.
It is ironic that we can learn so much from a blister. The biggest take away for most people who attended the Harvard program was the power of listening and empathy. To be successful, we need to develop great listening skills, respond to feedback, and show empathy. The good news is that the blisters have healed and I have learned a lot from this experience.