It's Time for Your Hot Seat - THINKERS Notebook

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It's Time for Your Hot Seat

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hosting a "Hot Seat" in a community of solopreneurs and freelancers that I lead.

If you're unfamiliar with a Hot Seat, it goes a little something like this:

  • A bunch of community members get together on Zoom.
  • One person presents a pressing issue or question in his or her business.
  • Everyone else takes turns asking questions, sharing experiences, and offering advice.
  • The person on the Hot Seat answers questions, asks follow-ups, and takes notes.
  • Everyone who is open-minded and listening learns.

When done right, Hot Seats can be incredibly valuable experiences for all involved.

In fact, in our community, people who can't attend usually ask me to post the replays because they want to be able to learn from all of the ideas and wisdom shared -- even though they weren't there!

But it can be a difficult experience for the person on the Hot Seat depending on the mindset they bring to the discussion, where pride and obstinance are unwelcome intruders.

Hot Seat subjects who arrive with humility, an open mind, and gratitude always benefit from the roundtable of advice.

In the best case, they get an objective view on their current strategy, hear ideas that fit their project in a way they hadn't considered, and often come away with breakthroughs that help them take important next steps.

Even in the worst (and highly unlikely) case, when they just hear a bunch of ideas that don't fit with their project, they can at least walk away from the experience feeling more emboldened on their current path.

Yesterday, Wendy was on the Hot Seat in our community. I was so impressed with the mindset she had. She took nothing personally, she really seemed to appreciate everyone's input, and she took copious amounts of notes.

At the end of the session, she described the newfound clarity with which she now viewed her project and go-forward plan.

I have little doubt her project will proceed in a better direction henceforth.

My point in telling you this is to encourage you to put yourself on a "Hot Seat."

Maybe you're a member of a similar community. If the community presents such opportunities, swallow your pride and suppress your fear to do it! Assuming it's a good community with kind and generous people (why would you be a member otherwise?), you'll be better for the experience.

But Hot Seats don't have to be formal events in a community.

You can create Hot Seats among colleagues. You can even create informal Hot Seats among friends and family. 

Whose opinions do you trust? Of those people, whose experiences and knowledge overlap with a particular challenge you're facing? Present your challenge to these people and get their opinion. 

It's not binding arbitration. You don't have to do exactly what they say. But they might have an idea that sparks you, or even just a kernel that grows into a larger idea that moves you in a better direction.

No matter how clear or well-informed our thinking may be in any area of our life, we're all just one person. And while we ultimately have to make the decisions for ourselves, there's no reason we cannot or should not seek out input from others to make it a more well-informed and clear-headed decision.

So find a Hot Seat to sit in.

You may sweat a little bit, but the experience is likely to improve your thinking and decision making.

Below, you will find three articles to help you create Hot Seats in your life, and how to approach them whether you're the one in the Hot Seat or not.

Yes, you can get candid feedback from friends and family.

"Instead of living in fear of these difficult situations, decide to be honest and authentic, and invite those around you to hold to the same high standards. It might seem impossible to actually get the real feedback you want and to give it to others, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some thoughts as you pursue this goal."

Read: How to Get and Give Honest Feedback (Wise Bread)

The benefits of "radical self-inquiry"

"My interest in radical self-inquiry came after I recognised a common trait amongst most of the people that I highly respect (who are all high achievers): they are typically very self-aware with high EQ. But more importantly, I noticed they consciously invest a lot of time into deliberate personal development. And by personal development, I don’t mean they read self-help books, or go to meditation retreats. Rather, they constantly inquire into their own psychology, thoughts, emotions, and actions (and of those around them), to understand themselves on an incredibly deep level, in order to better push their own boundaries for self-improvement."

Read: What I learnt from asking people for brutally honest feedback (Medium)

The power of hearing the truth

"Giving feedback often feels like tiptoeing through an emotionally-charged minefield. And receiving feedback often feels like the reviewer is attacking the essence of our being.

"But without honest, constructive feedback no one can ever progress. Without some form of evaluative judgment of our output – whether it be writing, singing or coding –, we can never truly know what we’re doing well and what we need to improve on."

Read: Make Friends with Feedback (Corgi Bytes)

Quote of the week

"Feedback is a gift. Ideas are the currency of our next success. Let
people see you value both feedback and ideas.

-- Jim Trinka and Les Wallace
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels