Feedback and Fishnets

‘Feedback is the breakfast of champions.’

Attributed to Ken Blanchard, this is a quote many of us will have heard before.  However, if feedback really is so marvellous why is it that many of us break out in hives, hide under our duvets or cower in the corner of our offices at the thought of either giving or receiving feedback?


Fishnets are the beliefs we have about ourselves which are unhelpful and untrue.  Beliefs such as ‘I’m not good enough,’ ‘I’m stupid,’ ‘I can’t do that,’ ‘No one loves me.’ The list is endless, and my goodness how they can they hold us back if we allow them to. 

They can stop us giving or receiving the gift of feedback. They can keep us stuck where we are rather than moving forward in our lives.  Whether it’s going after the dream job we’ve always wanted, moving on from a relationship that is no longer bringing us joy or just being happy in our own skin. 

To be honest I thought I had this feedback game nailed. When you begin to understand what a powerful tool it can be in terms of helping us develop, you begin to be a little more open to receiving and giving it.  

Initially you might not like hearing feedback, but just like going to the gym, dentist or supermarket shopping you know that it is good for you and a necessity if you want to take better care of yourself and other people.

It’s been two weeks since I sent out the reviewer copies of my book and I am starting to realise that regarding my relationship with feedback, I may have been deluding myself just an incy, wincy bit.  Well ok a lot!  

When I began working with the wonderful guys @Richard Hagen and @Martyn Pentecost from @MPowr Publishing we had some very lengthy discussions about how I would feel writing a book that some people would not get or like.

At the time I remember saying it was fine I knew this would be the case.  I would much prefer to have a book that divides readers rather than one which walks the middle line and consequently ends up being something that is soon forgotten. 

Nine months on from those initial conversations, I am proud that I have remained true to those beliefs.  With the best will in the world a book with the title When Fish Climb Trees and a bright pink cover could not be described as safe.

But now my book is out there being reviewed, all those brave words and actions are coming back to haunt me.  In spite of knowing I made the right choices those darn fishnets are trying their very best to escape and scupper things.  

What are your fishnets?  Do you have strategies for managing them?

One of my strategies is Mel B (yes that’s right, Scary Spice from the Spice Girls).

Right now, her and Mike Tyson are battling away on an almost daily basis.  However, I’m pleased to report that Mel B is hanging in there and reigning supreme. If, at this point, you are wondering whether I have lost the plot, I really haven’t but you will have to read my book to get the whole story! 

In spite of my fishnets valiantly trying to bring me down the reviewers’ feedback I have received so far could not have been more brilliant.  They have been wonderfully honest about what really worked for them and what didn’t land as well.  Some have given me ideas for next steps and opportunities to pursue.  I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful group of reviewers.

Back in June last year when the book was still very much a dream, I had some clear aims: 

1.    The reader would feel as though we were curled up on the sofa having a chat about life.

2.    It would be easy to read so people did not put it in the same category as going to the gym, dentist or supermarket shopping.

3.    It would evoke a range of emotions but most especially laughter because it really does soothe the soul.

And it would seem from the feedback I have received so far; I am achieving my goal:

“This has to be the prettiest, funniest and most practical leadership book that I have ever read and actually enjoyed from start to finish.”

“When Fish Climb Trees” is an engaging and funny romp through the principles of Leadership- perfect for new managers wanting to be the best boss they can be, a leader of people towards a common goal.”

“I loved how you relate your most challenging experiences to feelings, and how you recognised this to connect with people. I also loved your regular references to food - cake, chips, chocolate, coffee and vodka - again, whilst it is done as a sense of fun, I found it adds to the sensory experience for the reader.” 

“Mel lives and writes from her heart.  This book delivers a brutally and beautifully honest narrative about the part of our life we call work.   By engaging with the awesome online tools and techniques that accompany the text, Mel dares the reader to look in the magic mirror and see their true self and potential.  Are you brave enough to give it a go?” 

Now, not only do I have Mel B in my corner doing battle with those dastardly fishnets and Mike Tyson I have the feedback of my lovely reviewers.  

So, if you currently have difficulty giving or receiving the gift of feedback, I would urge you to spend some time considering your fishnets and how you can best deal with them.  Should you need any help I am always here!

When Fish Climb Trees will be available from 11th April 2019. Pre-order your copy now at Amazon: