America just received a significant amount of feedback in the form of a presidential election. Millions of people provided the entire country with more feedback than they know what to do with, and the feedback is not just about the political system. Things are not working the way millions want, and the American people passed along their feedback in the form of a very painful vote. As a result, others now provide additional feedback in the form of protests and walkouts.
As individuals, we always have two options any time we receive feedback. America is no different. As Americans, we can ask ourselves two types of questions.
1. What does this feedback say about America?
- Or -
2. What does this feedback say to America?
When we only ask the first question we stay in a mindset of admiring all the things that are wrong. Problem admiration can force us into polarizing thinking. We can believe everything is bad because of someone else’s poor choices. We see this in every election with both sides of the aisle accusing the other of all wrongs. The blame game is tantalizing to play and self-righteousness is a remarkable skill available to all players. Unfortunately, this question puts us in a spin with no growth or change.
However, when we ask ourselves the second question, something may shift. As Americans (as individual leaders), we can move away from ‘everything is about something or someone else’ to – what does this feedback say to me? Mean to me? Prompt in me? Urge in me? Encourage in me? What can emerge in me to be different? How do I respond in ways that are loving, kind, open, ready and willing to change? I cannot wait for another American to do this thinking for me. I am only able to self-author my own reactions versus blame or will a reaction in someone else.
This recent round of national feedback changes the landscape in America in ways we have yet to understand. We can choose to do nothing and wait and see what happens or we can all choose to get self-reflective about what it means to invest in co-creating what we believe is important with those around us. We start within our own spheres of influence – our churches, neighborhoods, organizations and communities. We must start with ourselves first and then recognize everyone is deserving of love and equality.
Regardless of your vote - what does this feedback say to you?
Carrie Arnold, PhD, MCC, BCC
In no particular order: Author | Dog mom to Moose | Speaker | Reader Mom to human offspring Wife | Lover of Learning Leadership coach & consultant, The Willow Group | Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation | Program Director for Evidence-Based Coaching at Fielding Graduate University