Why was I reacting this way?
What was this overwhelming feeling?!
🥳 Hey, Kasey here! Welcome to this week’s 🎢 High Growth Founders🎢newsletter. Every email is full of actionable content designed to help you grow your self and your business. If you haven’t already, subscribe to get each issue delivered right to your inbox.👇
High Growth Founders Episode:
There is one resource that has made the biggest difference in my growth journey as an entrepreneur.
And yet, it seems like it’s the least mentioned.
When I look back at every critical time in my entrepreneurial life…
Major transitions in my business
Personal struggles affecting my work
It was my friends that got me through.
At every turn, it’s my friends who give me advice that helps me solve problems more creatively and effectively than I could without their input.
And they do it in a way that makes me feel less alone and more supported on this rollercoaster of life.
Today’s episode is all about why you need more friends and how to find them.
Recent Love for the HGF Podcast:
Growth Lesson of the Week:
I raced to click the right buttons to exit the zoom call before bursting into tears. All this coach did was give me some advice, really helpful advice, there was no need to get so emotional. Why was I like this?
I had just joined a group coaching program designed to help me hone the growth strategy for my new coaching business. Yes, the ever absurd coaches for coaches ecosystem. But I felt positive about their ability to help me. And this was my very first group coaching call with someone who had built a thriving business coaching 10s of thousands of people about spirituality.
The call was to improve our messaging. How to craft compelling messaging that captured your ideal customer’s attention and prompted them to take action. I was going in a new direction with my business — a more personal direction, realizing I felt called to serve entrepreneurs with trauma in their past. I felt pretty good about the messaging, but knew I was early in the journey and could use some help refining it.
Towards the end fo the call, the coach asked who wanted to come off mute and share what they had worked on using the guidance and prompts he’d provided during the call. There was a long pause where no one spoke, so I thought “why not?!” and came off mute.
I shared my value proposition and he gave me some encouragement and some constructive feedback. It was mostly good. But still, it made my skin feel prickly, my face hot, and my eyes well up with tears. Why?
When I got off the call, I couldn’t help but let the tears flow. I followed the methods my therapist had taught me and I sat there with this overwhelming feeling, letting it wash over me. Slowly I realized the feeling wasn’t shame. It wasn’t embarrassment, sadness, or anger. Or any of the immediate guesses that came to mind.
It took time, but then it dawned on me.
It was relief. A flood of relief after intense discomfort and fear.
That situation was highly unfamiliar to me. Being in a group of peers whom I didn’t know very well yet, but I respected, and getting personal, constructive feedback in front of all of them. I realized I had spent a career avoiding that exact environment.
In group situations, I was usually the leader or organizer. I was used to being in a position of authority. Not as a student, and definitely not a student among many others, putting myself in a vulnerable position to get feedback.
When I reflected on my career, I realized I tended to avoid the vulnerability that came from being a student committed to the discomfort of learning and growing in a public setting. It’s not being a beginner that I avoided. It was being a beginner where others could witness my stumbles. It was being a vulnerable beginner.
Yes, I knew being a student, seeking out feedback, and being willing to be uncomfortable were requirements of the kind of growth I sought. But still, I resisted.
I’ve learned this is not uncommon among entrepreneurs with traumatic childhoods. We construct environments that keep us safe and in control.
I want to be clear. This is still very hard for me, but now I seek out these environments and push myself to get that feedback no matter how terrifying and uncomfortable it may be.
Here are the lessons I’ve learned along the way:
How to seek out and receive feedback:
#1. Figure Out Why You Resist Feedback
I’m still peeling back the layers of this one, but I’ve traced a lot of it back to my childhood and my parents’ emphasis on appearance. We were encouraged not to do things we weren’t naturally good at to avoid criticism or ridicule.
A growth mindset wasn’t cultivated in us as children, so failure wasn’t seen as a step toward growth, but a risky move you should avoid at all costs. We were encouraged to play it safe and that has bled into how I navigate the inevitable challenges in life.
Yes, I’m one tough cookie, but developing this strength and resilience wasn’t easy. Much of it came from experiences that I couldn’t fully control — health struggles, business failures, divorce, my dog attack, etc. I also grew stronger from choosing some challenging situations like entrepreneurship and powerlifting.
But I wish I had sought out more environments where I would have been given structure and support that pushed my envelope and forced me to grow in ways I couldn’t always see on my own.
Once I started to recognize the original source of this resistance, healing from it and changing it became much easier.
#2. Know Where You Want to Grow
Go back to your personal mission statement and high hard goals we talked about last week. What areas of your life or skills in your work do you need to improve to reach those goals?
I know it can be hard to take an objective view and identify specific things you need to work on, but this step is critical to helping you seek out feedback with the power to transform your life and work.
If you’re struggling to identify the skills or areas of your work that could use some improvement, I recommend taking a step back and looking at the big picture of your personal mission and high hard goals.
What skills are required to hit those goals?
Are there milestones you need or want to hit to get you closer to those goals?
Example: if you want to make a certain amount of money as a public speaker, would landing a TEDx talk help?
Can you identify other people who have completed those goals or to whom you look up as leaders or inspirations in those areas?
What do they do really well?
What skills have they honed through their work?
How did they navigate their journey to where they are today?
#3. Ask People You Trust for Feedback
Often we’re too close to our own journey to be able to have the perspective needed to properly evaluate our own strengths and weaknesses. Reaching out to trusted friends, colleagues, and mentors can be a huge help. They might have some ideas about where we can improve, but they also might be able to share stories from their own journey about how they’re approaching getting feedback and growing.
My friend and co-founder at FounderUp, Dan Manning, recently sent out a typeform survey asking friends for feedback on his personal brand. He recorded a short video to give us some context and then asked several questions about our perception of what he does and how he communicates his work to the outside world.
This is a phenomenal example of ways to get valuable feedback that also lessens the awkwardness of having to ask 1-on-1 or in person.
If you can give friends a little context into why you’re asking and assure them you’re looking for constructive feedback, they’re a lot more likely to share information that might not be the easiest to hear, but will help you grow in areas that matter most to you.
#4. Join Cohort-Based Classes
Joining cohort based classes has been the most effective method for me to get more familiar with receiving feedback for a few reasons:
1. The investment
If I’ve paid money to learn in a particular area, I’m going to work hard to get the most value out of the experience. That means getting feedback on my progress so I can learn and grow.
2. Everyone is there to learn.
Everyone is there to learn, so I’m not the only beginner in the group. I don’t have to feel embarrassed or nervous about sharing my struggles or asking for support because we’re all doing it! .
3. We’re all in it together.
You don’t have to rely on the instructors only to get feedback. I recently took Sahil Bloom and Blake Burge’s Twitter Audience Building course on Maven (freaking amazing cohort-based course platform, by the way) and while the content and instructors were amazing, the real value came from the connections I made and the way we have all stayed connected to support each other.
I am learning the art and science of twitter threads (oof, this one is tough for me!) and my fellow students are helping me over and over again.
4. Other people have the same questions and struggles as you
When we’re still struggling to put ourselves out there, it can be tremendously helpful to hear someone else share their challenges and realize you’re not alone in this.
#5. Get a Coach
Sometimes it’s easier to get feedback from someone you have carefully selected and hired to help you get to that next level. You know their expertise and can trust their feedback. They have a vested interest in supporting your growth.
High performers in every industry — but especially sports — have coaches. Often multiple coaches working with them on multiple aspects of their work.
Founders should be no different. A coach can help you diagnose where you have room to improve, develop the plans to sharpen those skills, and support your mental and emotional health while you work on your evolution.
No matter what you do, getting feedback is critical to your growth. Yes, it can be scary, but something I’ve been learning over the last few years is that the anxiety about the feedback is about 1000x worse than the feedback itself.
Whatever you can do to start seeking out and receiving more feedback, do it. It will definitely suck at first, but it will get easier, as it gets more rewarding.
Growth Tool I Love:
There is probably one tool I recommend more than any other: Gusto.
It’s an HR tool that makes it easy to manage payroll, set up benefits, pay contractors, and run the human side of your business. I am still astounded by how they made it simple to set-up and afford exceptional healthcare benefits when it was just me and a part-time employee.
Plus, their branding is freaking adorable. I love that little piggie!
Note: yes, I get a referral if you sign up. I’d still gush about how much I love them even if I didn’t.
Again, thanks for reading this far.
I’m always trying to make this newsletter (and the podcast) more valuable for each of you, so please, let me know how I can help you grow — personally or professionally.
In love and growth,