It could have been as simple as asking, “How am I doing?” and then adjusting to the response, but I didn’t do that. No one complained and there was more than an occasional compliment, so I just kept on being as I’d been and doing as I’d done. I’m a firm believer in that old adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and I didn’t notice anything that was broken.
If I eat the wrong things I get ‘feedback’ in the guise of a stomachache or extra tight jeans. If I screw up on my computer I get an error message, so I know I have to do something different if I want to get my result. There was no error message from the ‘head office’ and I didn’t think to ask how the producer thought I was doing. No one took me aside to offer any suggestions about my work and no one criticized me. In retrospect, maybe assuming that meant everything was ‘hunky dory’ wasn’t in my best interest.
I was ‘co-starring’ on a cable TV show. I’d been ‘Sandye Stewart’ of the ‘Family Fun Store’ on the original Shop Television Network. Every day I worked with Pat Boone, Juliet Prowse, Richard Simmons and literally dozens of famous folks from Miss America to Soupy Sales (who I ‘shuffled’ with on national TV). My hair, make up and wardrobe were ‘handled’ and I had the use of a chauffeur driven limo when I needed it. Oh, and I was pullin’ in some major bucks!
After almost two years on the show my contract was not renewed. Whaaaaat? I didn’t love it there – it was pretty boring most of the time – but not renewed???? What had I done to deserve getting dumped? And how was I so blind-sided in the process?
I understand that others see me differently than I see myself – at least I ‘get it’ on an intellectual level. And, I guess it follows that others also see what I ‘say’ and what I ‘do’ with a different perspective than mine. Maybe if I’d known that the producer thought I came across as too short, too ‘smart’ and too Jewish (Really? I wasn’t about to do anything for him about that!), I could have worn risers in my shoes, requested bigger hair and dummied down my delivery. Maybe I could have saved my career with heels and smaller vocabulary. Who knows?
A little feedback would have gone a long way in this case. None was offered, but perhaps more important, I didn’t request that any be given. Feedback is evaluative or corrective information about an action, event, performance (hmmm), product or process to the original or controlling source (in this case, me!). It might be praise or it might be criticism, but either way, it’s a gift that is given to someone to let them know how they’re doing. There might be a clue about what can be done to improve, but that would be icing on the cake. First and foremost, feedback is a thermometer – a gauge of how others view you.
There’s only one way for me to gauge the impact I have on you … that’s making a request for the gift of your feedback. And, believe me, it is a gift – a wonderful gift – and it would be GREATLY appreciated. Some of you think I don’t care what you think about the blogs, the topics, the calls, the What Do I Say? What Do I Do? website or the face book group. Well, I do care. Some of you are kind and caring and don’t want to risk hurting my feelings. I can take it. And some of you just didn’t think about sharing your thoughts. I am sincerely asking you to think about it. Be the real friend – the one who will tell me when I have spinach in my teeth. Your feedback is crucial to my growth and success and I am sincerely interested in it. So… feedback, please.