Lessons with Leasha – SPARCing Healthy Communication

How Skills Learned at Work Can be Helpful at Home

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “check your work at the door”, which implies that a person should separate their work life from their home life. One primary focus at SPARC is healthy families. So it is interesting that working for SPARC has shown me that perhaps it is NOT always necessary to “check our work at the door” when we get home. In fact, there are some useful tools I have learned at work that can bridge the gap between work and home and help me to better handle the challenges that come up in my personal life.

Giving and receiving feedback is a key value at SPARC, and it is one of the most important skills I have cultivated (and continue to cultivate). Giving and receiving feedback is a key component of healthy communication that will be—or at least SHOULD be—used at some point in all relationships, both personal and professional. Obviously, feedback is important at work where projects need to be completed and goals need to be met. Feedback is also important in our personal lives where families need to be sustained, kids need to be raised, and relationships need to be nurtured.  

Here are two foundational points about feedback that can be applied to both our professional and personal lives:

Be willing to receive it. Receiving criticism is not easy. However, if we are serious about becoming the best version of ourselves that we possibly can, we have to be open to the idea that we are not perfect. Ouch! When we want to be the best employee, spouse, parent, or friend that we can be, we have to remember that there is always room for growth. Additionally, it often takes a lot of courage for someone to give us feedback, so we should be mindful that if someone has taken the time to point something out to us, it is important to at least consider their perspective and how improving in whatever area they have pointed out might actually be beneficial. Sometimes we can’t control all the moving parts in a situation/relationship, but we can always control ourselves and our own commitment to being the best possible version of ourselves that we can be. Remember: Improving me improves us. So, always leave room for growth!

Be willing to give it. Now some of us find it very easy to gripe and complain about every little thing…that’s another article for another day. But for some of us, giving the feedback is often the hardest part. It can be hard to tell someone we look up to or someone we love that they might have some room for growth. It’s hard because we don’t want to disappoint, hurt, or lose them. But remember that the mark of true leaders is that they care about the wellbeing of the folks they are leading. So, whether we are leading a team at work or leading a family at home, it is our duty to let those we care about know when there is something they could work on that could potentially help them become an even more awesome version of themselves! The key is to be mindful in your approach: be respectful always!

I am not suggesting that we should treat our personal relationships like contractual agreements. I am suggesting that we should treat all our relationships—both personal and professional—like precious encounters with our fellow human beings. We should show the same grace, compassion, and courtesy to the folks in our personal lives that we would show to those we work with every day. I consider it an honor to work for a place that encourages me to bring my whole self into my work and to continue cultivating the skills that will help me to grow and improve both professionally and personally. It’s great to be a SPARCer!

Love & Light, Leasha