“The muddiest water clears as it is stilled. And out of that stillness life arises.”
(From A New Way of Thinking, A New Way of Being Experiencing the Tao Te Ching)
I recently received some feedback in my personal life that left me feeling quite unsettled because it stirred up all the muck and mire of my inner life. As the days pass, my emotions are settling down and I’m seeing more clearly that life does go on through the rainy seasons.
Today I was dutifully doing a required online course that was detailing the performance planning and rating process at my new job. In a discussion of the feedback and coaching section, there was this little nugget of insight that I realized applies to my recent experience as well. It’s called the SARAH model. How biblical. (Italics mine.)
There are times when you will receive feedback with which you are uncomfortable. Ya think? SARAH represents the emotions that individuals generally progress through as they process this type of feedback. This may happen quickly or slowly depending on the particular situation.
Shock – Sometimes feedback is so inconsistent with how you see a situation your first emotion is shock. Am I really that clueless?
Anger – After the feedback sinks in, you might discover that you are angry at the person giving the feedback, at the situation, and even at yourself. Check, check, double check.
Rejection – Your next emotion might be to reject what was said. Your goal is to make the feedback go away, and start to feel better again. Rejection sucks.
Acceptance – With a little distance, you can begin to look at what was said with an objective attitude. At this point, you are ready to accept the feedback as a commentary on your behavior, not on you as a person. And to accept their behavior and them as a person…
Help – When you realize that the purpose of feedback is to promote self-awareness and improve performance, you are ready to ask for help in discovering how to go about changing/improving your behavior. Well four out of five isn’t bad – not so sure the purpose of the feedback was to help me in the least, but SARA is sometimes spelled without an H too, right? Or maybe I’m still at the anger phase… naaahhh.