Week 5: Ego, Blind Spots, and 360 Feedback

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Week 5: Ego, Blind Spots, and 360 Feedback

I silently watched as the waves rolled in onto the sandy shore feeling defeated.

The opportunity I had at just ten years old was incredible; free, private surf lessons with my best friend from a master.

I watched as my friend got up on the board on only his third try, making it look effortless. Inside I shuddered. It was our first lesson and I’d spent the day face planting into the water over, and over again. 

I never chose to go back for a second day. After my embarrassment that day I decided that I “just wasn’t good” at surfing. The truth was, I wasn’t good at failing. My ego told me to quit, and I listened.

This moment of weakness became a defining moment in my life, a story I pull from over and over. Now, when I’m facing the same thoughts, I’ve learned to ask myself, “what’s the worst that could happen if I fail?” 

The fear of failure, of looking bad, of falling flat on your face is rooted in ego. Our MS studio discussed ego and blindspots this session. We asked the questions, “When was a time you let your ego take over? Why does it matter for you to receive feedback from your peers? Does it help you to look at the world through another’s perspective or your own? How do you find your blind spots?”

Would you believe me if I told you that a small group of 11-14 yr olds could honestly asses themselves and answer these questions? Would you believe me if I told you they bravely shared times they had viewed feedback as an ‘attack’ and realized now it was their ego talking? 

This week we introduced our first 360 feedback. The 360 survey is a tool we use in the studios, usually once per session, to help us see ourselves through the eyes of our peers. Sound scary? It doesn’t have to be. These young heroes are learning to embrace feedback and also discovering the all-important skill of delivering warm/cool/warm feedback. 

Both skills are equally essential, and kindness is vital. Until the Eagles have a lot of practice, we will filter out any unkind comments. Through role-play, we model how to deliver good feedback statements.

How does this help the Eagles? 

They get to practice giving growth mindset feedback and become better mentors, coaches, and leaders. They get to understand how others view their strengths and weaknesses and use this information for personal growth. They take an honest look at themselves and how they are upholding their promises in the studio. 

Great words without actions mean very little. Our Eagles are learning that their actions have to back up their words. They can’t just say they promise to do something or follow a certain guardrail and then do whatever they want. The transparency in our small studios gives a high level of accountability. 

Whether they become an entrepreneur, a scientist, a teacher, doctor, or engineer, our children are going to be operating within tribes of some kind. This process helps them learn to communicate with others on a deeper level and also asses themselves honestly.

I’m always amazed at how well our Eagle’s embrace growth, choosing to set aside ego, look at themselves honestly, and make adjustments. These small decisions will be integral to their success in the future.

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