Asking for feedback from my clients

Have you ever typed an email, erased it, and typed it again as you fight with yourself internally about whether or not to send it because you fear the response? That’s where I was yesterday.

I’m in the process of reading The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey. In one section, Covey talks about how constantly learning helps build trust with others because it shows that you’re willing to grow and change. And one way to figure out what type of changes you’d benefit from most is to seek feedback from those around you.

Feedback Equals Growth
This got me thinking about my writing business and whether I’m doing what I can to create happy, loyal clients. I’ve been working with most of them for years, so I know I must be doing something right, yet I’ve still had this nagging voice at the back of my head telling me that I’m not doing enough. That I’m somehow subpar to many of the other writers out there.

So, yesterday, I sat down to write each of my clients an email asking three key questions:

What do you enjoy about my writing services?
In what areas do you feel I could improve?
Are there any services that I could add that would make it more beneficial or easier to work with me?

I had the first email all typed out then erased it completely in a state of panic. What if my clients responded in a way that proved my fears to be true? What if I am, in fact, a subpar writer? Worse yet, what if they pointed out areas where I lacked that I didn’t even realize? Could I mentally handle that type of news?

After taking a few deep breaths and calming myself down, I reminded myself that if I valued my clients as much as I said, their feedback was important to me. And if I was somehow letting them down, the sooner I rectified the situation, the more likely it was that I would keep them as clients long-term. So, I typed the email up again and hit send. I followed this process for all 3 of my regular writing clients. Then came the really hard part. Sitting and waiting for my responses.

Bracing for the Worst
The first response came about an hour later. I’m pretty sure I held my breath when opening the email. As I waited for the page to load, I kept telling myself that it was going to be okay. I would survive the response and, in knowing where I was falling short, I could make the necessary changes to keep my clients happy for years to come.

When reading the answer to my first question about what they enjoy about my writing services, I was pleased to learn that they find me to be a “thorough writer that does not require a lot of editing.” This was a pleasant surprise because this was the one client that I felt edited my content most. So, I was expecting the complete opposite response.

Then I moved on to the next answer, the one about where they feel I could improve. That was the question I was really interested in learning the response. Their feedback? “Cannot think of any.” What? Seriously? They didn’t find me lacking as a writer?

To this, I did what most people would do. I didn’t believe them.

I do realize that I don’t totally suck, that I am capable of turning words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs, but everyone has room for improvement. So, I didn’t really take their response as proof of being a good writer. Instead, I shrugged it off and anxiously awaited my next response, hoping it would tell me where I actually lacked.

Why Do We Always Look for the Negative When It Comes to Ourselves?
Isn’t this what we often do as humans, shrug off positive feedback while looking for the negative? It’s like we want to prove the ways in which we are “less than,” even if it means totally disregarding everything that we do right.

I think it’s time we quit doing that to ourselves. Yes, there is still great value in finding out where we can learn and grow, but there is even greater value in understanding our personal (and professional) worth. Not that we need to seek constant reinforcement, but reaching out to others from time to time and asking their feedback helps open our eyes to the things we are doing that provide value to others.

I get that this is an incredibly scary prospect because you may sometimes get responses you didn’t expect. For instance, I learned from one client that they wanted more humorous content. This is out of my comfort zone. But it’s good to know that this client is looking for something a little lighter.

Another said that, while they were happy with my services, it would be great to become more familiar with their brands/products.

My point is that sometimes hard-to-ask questions provide unexpected, yet pleasant, responses. Are there any questions you could ask the people in your life that would provide more insight as to how you may be able to grow?

It isn’t easy to sit and wait for the response, but if these are relationships you truly care about, it’s incredibly helpful to know how you can provide more value. Plus, when others see that you’re willing to take additional action to strengthen your personal or professional relationship, it really goes a long way.

That said, you also have to be willing to act on their responses. You can’t just throw out the question and then say, “Okay. Thanks for your input. I’ll file that away.” You actually have to take what they say and use it to grow (as long as it is a reasonable response, of course).

This was a good exercise for me in that 1) it helped me identify how I can provide even more value to my clients and 2) it increased my self-confidence because my clients are overall happy with my work. I hope it provides this type of value to you as well!

Welcoming 2021 with My Reflections on 2020

The year 2020 is about to end and with the roller coaster ride of this year, this unpredictable year has changed me to some extent. Although I am optimistic about 2021.

A list of new vocabulary became the language of everyday. Corona, lockdown, isolation, positive, virus, pandemic, quarantine, vaccine and so on. Life has never been the same since.

The anger, frustration and helplessness of people spiked along with the cases worldwide.  It brought out emotions in mixed bag. Some counted on blessings and bonding while for others it was separation and desperation. Along with physical setback, emotional well being took a toll on people. With work from home and virtual classrooms, meet and greet, celebrations, everything was in an online avatar. Unlock brought in a breather for the economy. People are getting back to work, but fear still looms large. The vaccine coming out brings in a gentle ray of hope.

As we enter the last day of 2020, what are some of the thoughts and prayers that you want to fill in 2021 with? I would like to paint the coming year with vibrant hues of positive vibes.

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A Soulful Conversation with Myself

Finally, you have stolen some time out of your hectic schedule and decided to talk to yourself. It’s been a very long time that you met yourself, but good that you could squeeze out some time today and hope the whole conversation is going to be very interesting.

It’s been even more hectic all through this year with the pandemic in existence and you tried managing both personal and profesional commitments to the best of your capability, but is is still fine if your husband is wahing the dishes or your daughter is dusting the home. It’s their home too.

You always tried to be the first one to wake up early in the morning and start the engine, but it’s fine if it is your mother waking up early occasionally and handing over breakfast to you. You too deserve some pampering at times.

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Creating a Stress-Free Space

One of the rooms I love most in my house is my bedroom. I know it seems like this is the room most likely to stress me out, but is actually where I feel the most calm. Even when work is piling up, deadlines are nearing, and clients are throwing new projects at me faster than I can catch them, this is the room that ultimately gives me a great sense of peace.

I think it is the way I have it set up. I’ve managed to create this stress-free space that just envelopes me and let’s me know that everything will be okay. Here are a few things that have helped me create this feeling of calm, in case you want to try them out too.

  • Keep it organized. The more items I have lying around my desk or on the floor, the worse I feel. It’s like each item that is out of place is on my back, getting heavier and heavier as the day goes on. Take time regularly to organize your space and put things away. You’ll feel much better when you do.
  • Include items that make you smile. Ahhhh…. Think about what makes you smile and include these types of things in your stress-free space. It’s a great way to lift your soul.
  • Have a comfortable space to relax and re-energize. Speaking of the floor, I left the middle of my bedroom floor open so I have enough space to lie down and stretch or sit and read throughout the day. I’ve found that this is a great spot to sit and read when I’m not busy writing. It’s also a good place to go when I need a little break from work, but don’t want to get too far away. If you don’t have a lot of space, even a spot where you can put a thick pillow on the floor will do the trick. These two activities help center and re-energize me.
  • Make it all about YOU. Your stress-free space should be all about you. When you look at it, your first thought should be, “Yeeessss! I am finally home…” It may take some tweaking to get there, especially because what brings us comfort tends to change over time, but keep working at it and eventually you will have created a space that reminds you that, not matter what you’re going through, it will be okay.

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I’m a control freak in the sense that I have to know what’s happening in my life at all times. Like, I can’t ever have anything just hanging in the air, I have to know where I stand – with people, with plans – everything. I’d say 50% of this is due to anxiety because I overthink everything and therefore have to know what’s always going on, and the other 50% is due to me just being an organised person in general – I like to know what’s what. I like to know what I’m doing. I always have to have everything planned out – whether that’s also due to anxiety…who knows. Either way, I’m going to look at it as a positive thing because if so, it means anxiety has essentially made me a very productive and organised person. Every cloud…

This also means I need structure in my life, otherwise I feel like I just wander around aimlessly having absolutely no idea what’s going on. I have to make lists. I’m a list person. I’m forever making notes and reminders of things I need to do and the order I need to do them in so that I can tick them off afterwards and stop thinking about them, I guess that’s another anxiety induced thing too. I overthink everything and therefore I have to get it down somewhere so that I can get it out of my brain, and once I’ve completed it I can tick it off and remove that thing from my brain as one less thing I need to worry about. That was the whole premise for this blog in a way, too. Anyway, I’m rambling.

There’s lots of things going on in my life these days and so I end up making lists daily, weekly and monthly so that I can plan everything out in advance and stay on track (otherwise I freak out and feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, but what’s new).

Of course, the last point is essentially leisure time – I like to catch up on Youtube, social commitments etc. but that still takes time in itself. And then of course there’s other unexpected things you have to factor into the mix like emergencies or sick days and of course, you can’t pre-plan for those. Basically, I have absolutely no time to be doing anything at all and so literally planning my life out has now become essential.

So big news everyone! I re-opened my online shop @bunc.project … Hoorraaayy!. I launched three weeks ago and feedback has been overwhelming. It’s back breaking work but I am enjoying every minute of it. Feel free to follow along over on Instagram and look out for random blurps over here! Thank you to everyone who continue to support me and we look forward to sharing all of our products with you. Thank you for stopping by!

Basically, my life is now crazy. Would I have it any other way? No. And I’m definitely not complaining. It’s chaotic but I love it and it keeps me occupied – it makes me feel like I’m doing something which, I am. But I have to make sure I stay on top of everything and so it’s now a case of planning out each day and week so that my brain doesn’t explode and go into meltdown.

There’s so much going on right now I don’t even know where to focus first but it’s fun, and I’m proud of myself for not falling behind (yet). Stay tuned to see how that unfolds…

All my love,

Heni

It’s starting right now.

There are a lot of things that I don’t do because I’m too scared, too anxious, too shy, too worrisome, too this or too that. Not the right fit. Not the right person. Not the right personality. Not the right ambition. I endlessly drive myself crazy thinking of what ifs – what if it goes wrong, what if it doesn’t work out, what if it’s the worst decision of my life, what if I instantly regret it or come to regret it later down the line, what if I wish I hadn’t done it, what if I’m so embarrassed I never want to talk about it again. What if?

I have goals in life that I could list down for you if you asked me, but in the back of my head I’m realistic in the sense that I don’t believe these things will actually happen. Things like that don’t happen to people like me.

I often wonder what my life would be like if someone else was in my body, or to put it in a simpler way, if I was in someone else’s body. If I was born as so and so person, would I have achieved the same things they did? I guess that’s the entire point of being an individual. We can look the same and be entirely dissimilar. A body is a body but only a shell. Our memories, experiences, achievements, hopes and dreams.. that’s what makes us. Breaking out of routine is hard, especially when it brings you comfort.

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Being Happy With My Own Company

There comes a moment in your life when you realise that you need to start putting yourself first. Mine was very recently. I’ve spent a lot of time focused on making other people happy, and moving my life around to suit their needs. But it’s about time I start focusing on myself and putting my own needs first for once.

I’m a self proclaimed introvert – that can act like an extrovert when the situation requires it. So I’m naturally pretty happy with my own company. If anything when I’ve not go my own space or I’ve not been given time to myself for awhile I can get really frustrated.

So now, when the whole nation (and world to an extent) are stuck inside either on their own or with family, I’m grateful for how young I was when I learnt to be content with my own company. But it’s also making me realise how much I crave that alone time when nobody is able to leave the house.

In a bid to stay productive and do my bit in helping others during this pandemic situation I wanted to share my tips on how I became happy with my own company.

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ON MY MIND

Hi loves,

I feel like I need to write a post because…I haven’t written anything in what feels like ages. I’m not sure why. Honestly, I feel like I have nothing to talk about right now, my creativity bubble in the writing department has completely burst. I was constantly inspired and filled with creativity but I feel like now the world is really taking its toll on me and I’m like…do I believe in magic anymore, though? The world is so cold and even the nice things can’t keep my mind off it for too long. There’s too many bigger things going on for me to sit here daydreaming.

I keep writing things but I’m like eh…I don’t wanna post that, mainly because it’s not substantial enough for a blog post and it feels boring and flat and it’s just not the type of stuff I’m trying to put out. I feel like nothing is really happening right now for me to talk about. Is this what it feels like to be truly sucked into the void? I feel like I’m losing interest in a lot of things right now too and that anything I am currently writing is depressing anyway and again, I’m not trying to post stuff like that. 

I wanna be happy for once. Pls go away my anxiety. I’m sure you’re all aware that one of the symptoms of this illness is losing interesting in things you used to love and I’m…trying to fight that really hard right now. It’s heavy.

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Words are Powerful

I think one of the biggest forms of flattery is when someone wants to hear your insight about something because they value what your opinions are. A friend messaged me the other day and asked what my thoughts are regarding the digital marketing strategy for her brand – because she “wants to hear what I say.” FYI my side job is in the digital marketing industry. Same goes when another close friend replied to my IG Story that “she missed reading my opinion and insights on things” when I shared something personal.

The reason why I appreciate it so much is maybe because out of the five love languages, mine is Words of Affirmation. I feel loved through words. I get so touched and flattered whenever someone gives a compliment on my works, and I’m not kidding when I say it makes my day because it actually does. When someone asks for my opinion on things, I feel valued and I feel like what I say actually makes sense.

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What is the Perfect Age

How many times have you heard someone talk about how they wish they were, or could still be “insert age here?”

The problem with this mindset is it’s about looking back or looking forward, but never living in the present.

People say things like: “If only I were still in High School. Then I’d really be living my best life.”

Or: “If only I were older. Then I’d really be an adult.”

It’s either the best days were in the past, or are yet to come.

What if the best days are right now?

Okay, before you take this out of context, I don’t mean this literally. Given the state of the world, of course the best days are not right now. These are horrible days. Scary days. Uncertain days.

What I mean by “what if the best days are right now” is that life is about perspective.

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What I’ve Read July 2020: POSITIVE DISCIPLINE-THE FIRST THREE YEARS

Hello beautiful souls, how are YOU today?

Of course it’s that time again where I share what I’ve been reading throughout the month and my thoughts on those books, however, July has been a super slow reading month for me and I’ve actually only completed one book!

So without further ado, let’s get into that one singular review, and of course what I’m currently reading.

Enjoy!

I have been spending a lot of time reading and studying about Positive Discipline parenting techniques over the past year or so. I’ve read several books on the topic already, so I was excited to come across the book Positive Discipline: The First Three Years, (From Infant to Toddler–Laying the Foundation for Raising a Capable, Confident) by Jane Nelson, Cheryl Erwin, and Roslyn and Duffy. This book is a part of a large series of Positive Discipline books, each geared for a different audience (Teenagers, Preschoolers, Single Parents, etc).

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