“He is smart, but not cutting across !!!”
A few years back, when I moved to a large IT project from US, my project lead from US gave this feedback to my mentor in India. It took me a while to digest the feedback as it was just a few days of interaction. Of course, I felt rejected and felt sorry for myself.
I was thinking of two options -
Options 1: Continue to feel bad for some more time and move on consoling myself as feedback is part and parcel.
Options 2: Retrospect and see why I have got this feedback in the first place and see how can I reverse this feedback in the coming days.
“You can’t change how people treat you or what they say about you. All you can do is change how you react to it”. – Mahatma Gandhi
I was remembering this great quote and decided to go with Options 2.
The word “Smart” (in the feedback) stuck in my mind and was thinking if I am smart, isn’t it enough to feel good .
I thought let me ask Google once - “when we call someone smart” and Google replied the way it is known to . It puts the description from vocabulary.com on the top and it says -
“Although smart is most often used to describe someone who is intelligent, you can also call someone a smart, chic dresser or a smart, sassy wisecracker. Smart often implies something good, but not always. If someone cautions you, "Don't be smart with me!" — they are demanding that you stop acting so bold and rude....!
I realized, those few interactions with my lead, I was trying to hard-sell my opinions, and might be sound overpowering. I was almost convinced with this conclusion and decided to listen more and speak less.
I spoke to my mentor and requested him to assign me something that I can drive myself from the design and implementation perspective. Something that is important from the business perspective. My mentor knew that I don’t really like calling myself smart and probably had a belief that the feedback came too early. So he has assigned me one of the critical modules in the project.
Next few weeks, I have worked as if there is no weekend, there is no day and night. I presented my progress and implementation to my mentor and lead from onshore.
After a few days, my mentor asked me if I can travel to Atlanta, USA to work with my client directly on the module that I was working on. I was surprised and agreed finally.
I was directly working with my lead in US and one fine day while we were drinking, my lead told me that initially, he thought I would not go long in the project but later felt how wrong he was!
The day came...!
While in US, my mentor called me and said he has got another feedback from the lead. I was very eager to hear that and was tense as well.
The feedback was - “You have onboarded the RIGHT guy to the project.”
We come across many rejections both personally and professionally. It's good to move on instead of stuck with the rejection but, I believe, moving on without fixing it or taking a lesson from it, would be an opportunity that is lost forever. It could be the biggest motivation that brings long last positive impact.
When I started my journey after a few years as an Entrepreneur both my mentor and my lead helped me a lot ( and still helping ) and probably one of the great reasons where I am today.