I have a few short lists of people whom I turn to when I need feedback, advice, and encouragement for different areas of my personal and professional life. The areas I most often seek feedback for are:
- My writing
- My design
- New business models and strategies
- Big, hairy, audacious ideas
- Major life decisions
For each area I have a handful of people whom I trust and whom I know I can ask for their help. I know they have an educated and valuable position on the subject, and they meet two very important requirements:
They shoot me straight 100% of the time. I prefer blunt honesty and genuine feedback. Don’t dance around my feelings. Tell me what you really think and why.
They want me to succeed. Usually, by the time I’m ready for feedback from someone, I’ve gone about as far I you can go on my own. And that’s when I need someone to cheer me on to cross the finish line.
Some people are on a few of these lists, and one person is on all of them (my wife).
It’s not always easy to seek out input from others (especially when they found a giant hole in your otherwise perfect idea). But if you’re trying to push the boundaries of what you can come up with, build, and ship, then feedback and encouragement will be an invaluable tool along that path.