Caring and Candor

Hey guys, Jacob here. I’m going to open up to you a little bit. Nothing weird, I promise.


I’ve been coaching CrossFit for almost 2 years now, 1 ½ of which has been at Uncommon. During that time I have received quite a bit of feedback. Some has been positive and some has been critical. I intentionally avoided using “good” and “bad” in that sentence because both positive and critical feedback could be “good” OR “bad”, depending on how it is received and how the person receiving it puts it to use.


That is the subject of this blog post. At various times in our lives, I think we all need to assess and reassess how we handle feedback and how we actually utilize that information.


Here is where I open up a bit. I reeeeeeeeeeeeeally struggle to receive critical feedback in a positive way. Some of you might be surprised to read that. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I need it. I know that if I want to continue pursuing excellence in my marriage, coaching, and life, I NEED to have people tell me when I’m messing up. But knowing that still doesn’t make it any easier to hear something negative about me.


I’m sure we all struggle with this to some degree. So I think what I’m about to say can apply to anyone in any area of life. I’m currently reading a book called “5 Levels of Leadership”. It is great and full of amazing insights into leading and dealing with people. Today I read a line that just jumped off the page and slapped me right across the face. It read: “Caring values the person, while Candor values the person’s potential.” Wow. Talk about something that feels like it was written just for me.


To use my relationship with Pete and Crystal as an example, I have always felt that they care about me. From my first day as a member to my time now as a coach, and their employee, it has been abundantly clear that they value me as a person. Doesn’t that just fill you with warm fuzziness? But I would be lying if I said our relationship didn’t change when I became their employee. That makes sense. I’m now responsible for maintaining the quality of this place that they created. They HAVE to treat me differently than they would someone who is just a friend. With that change came a shift in how they spoke to me. At first it made me uncomfortable. It wasn’t all fun and games like before. Conversations had a more serious tone. They were telling me about things I needed to fix. When someone tells you that they have actual EXPECTATIONS for you, it’s scary! Now there is pressure. I don’t want to disappoint these people who care about me and believed in me enough to hire me. (I still struggle with this all the time, by the way) But the key phrase in that last sentence was that they BELIEVED IN ME. They aren’t delusional. They know that I’ve got a long way to go. But all those serious talks we have had, all the critical feedback, all the candid conversations, tells me that they VALUE MY POTENTIAL.


Wow. How cool is that? These people whom I respect so much actually believe in me enough to invest their time, effort, and money into the person I could be one day. Well, jeez. When you look at it that way, how can you possibly take the critical feedback in a negative way?


This can be applied to any area of life, as we are all trying to improve at something. If you are like me, and you struggle to put a positive spin on criticisms about you, think about the “future-you”. What could “future-you” do with that information AND a positive attitude about it? Your potential is endless. You could literally never stop improving. How exciting is that?? So next time you are receiving some constructive criticism, try to remind yourself that that person believes in your potential! Stay positive and use the information to get better. And I’ll be there right alongside you guys trying to do the same.

author: Jacob Watts


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