Giving Positive Feedback


Look for the good in others and over time you’ll either receive it back or, even better, you’ll learn to see it in yourself

I’m always very excited when friends embark on epic journeys.

When a friend embarks on an epic journey it is, for those old enough to remember, a present-day real-life re-run of Michael Palin’s TV travelogue Around the World in 80 Days.

So I messaged the friend when it occurred to me yesterday that he must have been heading to the airport.


Today is your departure day I believe. Much excitement on your behalf. I do hope its grand and fascinating and character building. Travel safe and see wonderful things the pair of you.

Mr Jacob

Amid a slew of emails, rumination about forthcoming bills and unfinished video edits, I put my phone down on the desk and forgot about it. Half an hour or so I returned to the phone and discovered a response.

Thanks Jon

Keep doing what you love. It’s inspiring.

I share this not to show off or boast about the kind of friends I have or the way in which they see me. There’s way too much of that on the internet already. I provide the message because its important context for explaining how it made me feel in response.

It took me massively by surprise. There was a physical jolt. I tore my eyes away from the phone and looked out of the window for a moment. I might possibly have gasped too.

It was, if you’re someone who prefers the cold light of day over anything veering on the light and fluffy, a piece of unsolicited feedback, delivered with positive regard, and something which uncharacteristically I was unable to question the validity of.

And it had a lasting effect throughout the day. And that’s continued into today. So much so that I wanted to write about it.

If that is the effect that one person’s unsolicited feedback can have on me, then what can I do today that will have the same impact on someone else in my network?

We lose sight of that goal when we’re knee deep in responding tactically to whatever the day throws at us. Digital triggers pollute our strategic thinking, often meaning the day concludes with us patting ourselves on the back for just having got through the past 24 hours.

Injecting a little positivity into someone else’s day when they least expect it seems like a generous first step to adopting a far more strategic approach to life. Look for the good in others and over time you’ll either receive it back or, even better, you’ll learn to see it in yourself.

Thoroughly Good Coaching is a personal and professional development service lead by Jon Jacob — a BBC-trained, International Coach Federation-accredited Executive, Management and Life Coach with over six years professional experience. To work with him, email

Discover more about the people who seek out Thoroughly Good Coaching to help develop their thinking, build their motivation and increase their confidence on the Thoroughly Good Coaching Case Studies page.