Most of the time, our context for receiving support is remedial. Remedial means that the purpose of the support is intended as a remedy or a cure, to bring you back to your baseline.
With a context of remediation, a lot of our potential to move forward gets stymied.
Inside this context, getting feedback means there’s something you’re doing wrong, and you should be doing something different.
As a result, all feedback becomes hard to receive. At best, we learn how to “be okay with being wrong”, until we can fix it. Someone asks us if we are open to feedback, and we close energetically, knowing we’re about to discover how we’re broken and where we need to be fixed.
Inside this relationship to feedback, the best things really get is a willingness to feel momentarily bad. People often become calloused and hard so that they can receive feedback, but not let it impact them too much. Not super empowered.
In this context, getting supported is like an admission of defeat. Yah, sure, support is available, but you’re taking it because there’s something you just can’t seem to fix yourself. At least you did something, but it would have been better if you could have handled it on your own.
Inside the dominant context of remediation, the game is all about self-sufficiency. If you’re able to get everything handled by yourself, then that means you’re the least broken, and presumably, the best. Social-myths and tropes like the self-made man or woman are lionized and held like monuments for us to aspire towards.
When the context for our own work is one of remediation, the best place you arrive at is the point where you no longer have any support, because that is the point where there is nothing left for you to remediate.
It’s a lonely and isolating ascent, but hey, once you get there, maybe suddenly everything changes. (Oh wait… that’s not how it works.)
A different way to hold getting supported and the work associated with it is in a context for transformation.
From a context for transformation, we begin with the belief that we are already whole and complete, and move forward from there. There’s nothing broken with us — simply patterns or old habits that may no longer be serving us in creating what’s next.
Inside a context for transformation, getting supported is a beautiful thing. It’s a recognition that where we are is amazing, and we’re ready to take the next step into whatever lies in front of us.
In this context, the further you go, the more support you enlist, rather than the less. As you take on more and more in your life, you recognize that your own transformation becomes the single most important focus you can have, and the most important investment you can make. Everything else becomes secondary (not unimportant — just secondary to your own transformation).
From a transformational context, we are more open to feedback. It’s not that we become better at “accepting we’re wrong sometimes” — that’s still inside the remedial context. Instead, we have an entirely different relationship to feedback. It’s simply pointing us towards the blindspot we can’t currently see, and an opportunity to transform further.
Shifting from a remedial context to a transformational context isn’t an intellectual exercise. It’s not about repeating a phrase to yourself everyday, or trying to convince yourself that you are okay receiving support or feedback when you’re not.
It’s an embodied exercise. The shift begins when you start to act and live from that new context — and that happens by taking the next step into more support.
Reaching out to that person you’ve been avoiding for support. Taking that course you keep putting off. Hiring that coach you’ve been talking about for the last five years. Asking that leader to support you, rather than waiting for it to happen.
You may have already taken some of these steps, but remember, from a context of transformation, the work never ends. The steps we took yesterday, last week, or last month are great. And while we acknowledge ourselves for doing so, we then turn our head back towards what’s next, and what there is to step into from here.