JMT Certified

Of course I’m a good driver, I’m a bloke

I don’t know whether my driving is getting worse, or whether I am just starting to notice how bad it’s always been.

In recent years I have found myself thinking, “now that’s wasn’t such a good idea” when I’ve completed a manoeuvre, whether it was pulling out into a line of traffic and that enormous gap turned out to be rather smaller than I had anticipated, or completing an overtaking manoeuvre with loads of time and ending up with less room to spare as I completed the overtake than I had planned.

I can imagine the political leaders of our country are having similar thoughts regarding the process towards leaving the European Union (Brexit) and the ensuring activity, as they contemplate all of the exciting and seemingly diverse plans being discussed and disagreed on as we approach the final six months before the Brexit deadline arrives.  Quite what will happen between now and then no-one seems to know, however there is one thing for sure: there will be a lot of criticism of anyone that attempts to do something about it.  

“Criticism is something you can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.”

~ Aristotle

It’s interesting to have a conversation with someone when they start with: “I’m only going to tell you this for your own good.”  I can remember a couple of conversations like that some years ago when I was employed as a Project Manager during my annual appraisal.  At the time I remember taking the criticism on board, albeit rather reluctantly, since the person giving the criticism was my line manager and if I wanted to “get on” and make progress that was going to be the best way forward.  However, on reflection some years later I wonder if it was just two different views of a situation, both of which had merit, ye the one that prevailed did so simply due to seniority of the person with that view, and not due to the merit of the view they held.  It may have transpired that both views were right, if we were to explore the circumstances and intentions a little further (or they may simply have been wrong).

“I discovered that when they tell me something for my own good, they never seem to have anything good to tell me.”

~ John Maxwell

I recall a similar discussion  some years ago with Sue, my wife.  I had started playing bass guitar in a band and during the previous couple of years I had purchased a couple of bass guitars (and sold another), when a bass guitar shaped delivery turned up while I was out one winters day.  I returned home and during the next hour or two I had quite a frosty reception, which was unusual and unexpected.  Unwrapping the parcel later that evening revealed that the delivery was actually a snow shovel, and it was only once it had been unwrapped that the misunderstanding (“Oh no, not another bass guitar – does he really need three?”) came to light.  Fortunately the frosty reception soon turned into a shared joke that we have often laughed over together since.  

When receiving criticism I’ve discovered that it is helpful to consider where it’s coming from.  I’m a professional speaker, and whenever I deliver a talk I like to embrace any feedback.  When I’m speaking professionally one of my main objectives is to “add value to the room”, so I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve my speaking so that I can find ways to add more value to the people to whom I am speaking.  

However, it’s always important to consider where the criticism is coming from, and remember that more often than not we judge ourselves on our intentions and we judge others on their actions.  So, with that in mind I like to consider who is giving the feedback.  I am a member of an international Speaking and Coaching certification group called the John Maxwell Team (JMT), and any feedback from Roddy Galbraith, the internationally acclaimed speaker who is on the JMT faculty to manage and deliver the Maxwell Method of Speaking, is always welcome, embraced, and acted upon.  

I’m also the President of my region of the Public Speakers Academy, and any feedback from fellows or members of this organisation is welcomed and encouraged.  At this level my colleagues always advise me to listen to the feedback, consider it, and to weigh it carefully, since there are many different views even in the profession as to how to deliver our trade.  

When I deliver a talk to an audience (of non-professional speakers) then there is even more variety of feedback available, and sometimes that is shared with the speaker.  Some of this is flattering, some is helpful, some is simply misguided and some is just wrong, although of course all is received with a warm smile and a “thank you so much for sharing, I really appreciate that”.

“Real confidence comes from knowing and accepting yourself – your strengths and your limitations – in contrast to depending on affirmation from others.”

Judith M Bardwick

I suspect that my driving hasn’t actually deteriorated over the years, but that my perception has improved.  Although I’m a bloke and of course all blokes are great drivers, that’s probably more in their own eyes than is actually the case, and I’m sure that’s the case with me.  

I suspect that what has actually happened is that I am now more aware of myself, and I’ve become more able to accept myself as I am rather than how I would like to be; and I am comfortable with that, or at least I am learning to become more comfortable with that.  

The curious thing is that now I have started to accept myself as I am, rather than as I would like to be, I am more able to find ways to change to become more like I would like to be, and not be content with how I am.  

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

~ Carl Rogers

About Roger Fairhead

Roger is a leadership specialist delivering Leadership for Business Achievement through Speaking, Training and Coaching to business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.

Leadership for Business also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.