If you try this comfort challenge, please share your experience in the comments below! I’d love to read them. It’s always a hilarious and valuable exploration of getting more comfortable with discomfort.
Here is the original text of the challenge from The 4-Hour Workweek:
Chances are good that someone—be it a co-worker, boss, customer, or significant other—does something irritating or at a subpar level.
Rather than avoid the topic out of fear of confrontation, let’s chocolate-coat it and ask them to fix it.
Once per day for two days, and then each Thursday (M–W is too tense and Friday is too relaxed) for the next three weeks, resolve to use what I call the Criticism Sandwich with someone.
It’s called the Criticism Sandwich because you first praise the person for something, then deliver the criticism, and then close with topic-shifting praise to exit the sensitive topic.
Here’s an example with a superior or boss, with keywords and phrases in italics.
You: Hi, Mara. Do you have a second?
Mara: Sure. What’s up?
You: First, I wanted to thank you for helping me with the Meelie Worm account [or whatever]. I really appreciate you showing me how to handle that. You’re really good at fixing the technical issues.
Mara: No problem.
You: Here’s the thing. There is a lot of work coming down on everyone, and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. Normally, priorities are really clear to me, but I’ve been having trouble recently figuring out which tasks are highest on the list. Could you help me by pointing out the most important items when a handful need to be done? I’m sure it’s just me, but I’d really appreciate it, and I think it would help.
Mara: Uhh . . . I’ll see what I can do.
You: That means a lot to me. Thanks. Before I forget, last week’s presentation was excellent.
Mara: Did you think so? Blah, blah, blah . . .
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