I’ve done it! Last weekend, I finally invested in a fitness tracker and I’m already a slave to it. Oh, the gratification of knowing that I’d been running too fast each morning and exceeding my target heart rate quite considerably.
Now I can keep at a reasonable pace, enjoy the scenery, go further, pace myself and still get fit in the process. In fact, I’m more likely to keep running now as it was becoming a painful chore.
Then then there’s the correlation between how many calories I expend and how many I eat. It’s so bloomin’ obvious when you see it on the screen of your SmartPhone – more calories out than in = weight loss. Want to lose weight faster? Eat less, exercise more. I’ve heard it a million times but having a little gadget on your wrist that keeps you updated is so addictively easy to follow.
It also tracks your sleep. We’re becoming more and more aware of the dangers of not getting enough sleep – it impacts your decision making ability, puts a strain on your brain, heart and other organs. Last night, I actually managed 8 hours 27 minutes sleep AND my phone congratulated me for it. I can’t tell you how proud I felt and I can’t remember the last time I slept even as many as 6 hours.
There are other wonderful things this gadget does too but before I start sounding like an advertorial, I’ll get to the point. Which is, I’m getting instant feedback about things that are important for me right now – in this case, my health and wellbeing. Like a benevolent friend, it’s keeping an eye on me, praising me when I do well, suggesting another course of action if I mess up. Which, of course, I will do, frequently. Apply that principle to the workplace and you’ll start to see where I’m coming from.
Robert Burns’ charmingly entitled poem, ‘To a Louse’ offers the following:-
“And would some Power give us the gift
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!”
(Standard English translation – the Scottish original was a bit beyond me)
Seeing ourselves as others see us may not always welcomed by everyone as ‘a gift’ but if we work on the basis that feedback is offered with kindness, sensitivity and positive intent, why would we not want to know? How rewarding to hear about our strengths, what we’re brilliant at and the positive impact we can have on others. Conversely, if there are things we can do to be better at our jobs, our health or as a friend or colleague, bring it on and let’s tackle them. Surely, the worst thing is not knowing, isn’t it?
My new toy is an extreme form of constant feedback which is relevant to its purpose. Of course a full 360 from time to time will provide you with a formal report but why wait? For our lives at work, our future careers and personal development, simply asking colleagues and friends on a fairly regular basis ‘How did I do? And what could I have done better?’ is sometimes all you need to do. Go on, I dares ya!