When playing basketball, some of my best feedback came from a source you wouldn’t expect: female friends of mine who knew nothing about hoops. I’d have them come watch, and ask what they thought of my play. Their feedback told me if I was actually good or not.
The good thing about basketball is that you don’t have to “know the game” to watch a game and know who’s good.
Trainers, coaches and fellow players offer solid advice too, of course. But I’ve always liked sharing my work with people who knew nothing about the subject of the work and seeing their response.
They offer the only thing they have: a basic, raw reflection of what they’d seen. This was often more insightful than all the feedback I could get from “experts” and those who supposedly knew things.
Impact and skill, when present, are obvious.
Impact can be felt. It’s visceral and the impact itself doesn’t need to be explained. For example, I tell people: you don’t need to watch the news. Real “news” will find you wherever you are.
Skill shows even when you don’t know what skill to look for. When reading, for example, a good writer can capture your attention even if the topic is one you as a reader know nothing about.
When you’re a pro at what you do (or want to be), you’re expected to do your work skillfully, have an impact on everything you touch, AND to make it look easy.
Here’s how you do it.
1) Prepare your butt off. Most people never see the prep work. They judge you from your performance. When people start asking about how you prepare, you’ll know your performance is good.
2) Give people a tangible result. Impact is about the effect that you have on others. The simplest way to create impact: Ask yourself what outcome you want people to get from you.
3) Do something you enjoy. Your energy will give your work a flair that others can sense and feel. Ever see someone at work who hates their job? How did you know?
How about someone who loved their work? You can tell the same way.
4) Ask people who know nothing about what you do. Can they understand it? What does it do? Do I appear to know what you’re doing? The right questions produce revealing answers.
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