“He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch.”

Jean-Luc Godard

Respect other people’s agency to act for themselves.

The following principles help me when discerning whether it’s appropriate for me to offer feedback to someone (who is not in a reporting relationship to me):

  1. I have successfully done what the other person is trying to do, and therefore am qualified to offer my feedback
  2. I have made the effort to truly understand the feelings, perspective, and situation of the person. If I haven’t done this, I try and keep to my opinion.
  3. If I am qualified and I’ve made sufficient effort to understand, I ask the individual if they would like and benefit from some feedback. I will only give my feedback if they accept my invitation.
  4. I believe my feedback will actually make a difference (i.e. they will seriously consider my feedback)

Brené Brown offers appropriate feedback from the perspective of the receiver:

“If you are not in the arena …, I am not interested in or open to your feedback. There are a million cheap seats in the world today filled with people who will never be brave with their own lives, but will spend every ounce of energy they have hurling advice and judgement at those of us trying to dare greatly. Their only contributions are criticism, cynicism, and fear-mongering. If you’re criticizing from a place where you’re not also putting yourself on the line, I’m not interested in your feedback.”

Brené Brown

We all get one life on earth. Our resources are finite (though sufficient). Be hyper intentional about how you live. Seek feedback from those you trust, are competent, and who regularly make fresh prints in the snow (or are in the arena as Roosevelt appropriately stated). Your life will thank you.