Have you ever taken a survey of you? A true survey from an outsider’s perspective? In this episode, I talk about the importance of doing just that. We all have our blind spots about things we might do a little better, but we also have blind spots about things we do exceptionally well.
I’ve done this twice so far in almost 20 years, and in this episode, I tell you how to do it and why it’s important.
Full transcript below.
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Mike Malatesta 00:16
Hey, everybody, welcome back to the How’d It Happen Podcast. I am happy to have you here, as I am with every episode. And today we’ve got another one of my Friday short solo episodes. I want to talk to you today about taking a survey of you. Have you have you ever taken a survey of you? I know you’ve taken a lot of surveys, but have you ever taken a survey of you, and not just a sort of internal you-only survey? I realize some of you may do that on a daily basis, but really a survey from an outsider’s perspective? I’ve done this twice, twice in almost 20 years.
So here’s how I do it, and I recommend this as something for you to consider doing yourself, because we have a lot of blind spots in our lives, at least I do. It kind of helps to get people to help you with those blind spots, not only the blind spots about things that you could maybe, you know, figure out a way to do better, but also blind spots you may have about things you do exceptionally well but don’t put any value into because you figure well, everybody does it. So taking the survey, as I mentioned I’ve done twice so far in almost 20 years. I reached out to my network of people that know me well, but don’t necessarily work with me or don’t depend on me for some type of financial or other type of friendship in their life. So I’m trying to be as objective, you know, as possible. And I reach out to these people, and I do it by email, or at least to start and it’s been … well, I’ll get back to that.
So I do it by email, at least to start. And the subject line of the email is “Grateful for Your Thoughts.” So just start with “grateful for your thoughts.” I’m trying to get people to read it and then do something about it, so I’m trying to get them interested in in a particular subject line, so I use “grateful for your thoughts.” It’s been effective, but you may have another one that’s effective for you. And then I send everybody the same email, the body of which goes something like this. This is abridged, but it goes something like this:
Dear Mike “Knower” – [So I’m identifying them as someone who know knows me and I have ‘knower” in quotation marks.] I hope this doesn’t come off as weird (and forgive me if it does), but as someone who knows me well, I was hoping I could ask for the favor of your thoughts. [So I’m asking them to do a favor for me. And then I go on to say,] I’m particularly interested in learning what you think are my most significant talents and abilities, what I’m good at, characteristics that describe me, how I do things, what you can count on me for, and what impresses you about me, etc., as well as where I may fall short. [So I’m trying to encourage not only by encouraging them and asking them for a favor, but I’m trying to guide them to make it easy for them to participate with me because for some people, the easier you make it, the higher the likelihood that they’re going to help you, and for some people, it’s a bit of a challenge. Sometimes when you ask them to do something that they have to, you know, write or express their feelings about they’re not always sure where to go with that. So I try to lay out a path that helps them and then I say,] whatever you feel comfortable sharing — a few words, a few sentences, a paragraph, or hashtag. And that’s a joke but it would be valuable to me. Thank you for making time to consider this. [By the way, I always thank people for making time, not for taking time. It’s just a little thing I learned a long time ago, that as soon as I thank people for taking time, I’m putting them in a position of authority over me. And I don’t think that’s helpful. But making time means that they’re making me a priority. I feel like that at least keeps us on a peer basis. And that’s whether I’m reaching out to someone that I know or whether I’m reaching out on a cold call with someone who I’m trying to do business with. For example, I always use ‘making’ rather than ‘taking’ just something for you to put in your brain there for future use.] Thanks for making time to consider this. I’m grateful for that and for your thoughts. [I repeat the grateful thing at the end, and I have to say that I haven’t gotten 100% when I’ve done these, but I’ve gotten 80%+, maybe 90%. So it’s been effective. It’s been very valuable.]
Now a number of people who I get this to, they don’t want to send an email, they want to talk to me about it, or they want to sit down, one or two people. I’ve actually met for coffee, too. And they had all these things like, you know, lined out that I don’t think they felt comfortable emailing, but it was a very interesting and rewarding exercise for me, because most of what I heard was stuff I expected to hear. But you know, every so often, like one of the things people say to me frequently, is that when I first join an organization, I’m too shy. I sort of just blend in, I don’t differentiate myself. And they say that I have a skill set for differentiating myself, but it takes a while for it to be unveiled, I guess. And I never knew I had that. But I never thought or it never occurred to me that that was actually taking away from how people thought about me. So when it comes to taking a survey about me, I always thought, Oh, that’s a kind of a strength, because I don’t want to come in there like I know everything or I’m some type of big shot or anything, because I’m not. So I’ll just like sort of, you know, just be quiet. And listen. And it turns out that I probably would benefit more from a blend of, you know, still doing a lot of listening, but being a little more out there, especially when I’m new, right? Because people gravitate towards people who bring energy to a room, and I was basically being told that I’m not bringing enough energy to the room, right?.
So that’s an example of the kind of feedback that that I’ve gotten on how I can have a bigger impact with my life, which is certainly my goal. So if you’re inspired by this, give it a try. You know, pick 5-10 people that know you pretty well, but again, who aren’t dependent on you for anything in their life, and send them an email. You don’t want to call them because I think that puts people on the spot, but send them an email, let them know what you’re thinking about. Let them know how they could do you a favor and see if it makes a difference in in your life. I think it will. It’s nice to be grateful for what people think about, about you. And it’s a great way to take a survey on you.
So thanks for listening. I hope there’s been some value to you in this episode. And until next time, keep being inspired to maximize and to maximize the greatness that’s inside each and every one of you. And if I can be helpful doing that, just let me know, and I’d be happy to do it. Until next time see