Why You Should Create an ‘Input Community’ To Be Your Personal Sounding Board

Patricia Asp, 4word Board Member and founder of ASPire, discusses why she always includes a group of people for input on big life decisions, how she’s learned to accept and discern ALL feedback, and who you should invite to be part of your own sounding board for big changes.

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Have you ever known you needed to make a “big move” but weren’t sure how it would actually happen?

There are so many times in my life! Our lives are made up of countless moves; professionally, personally and spiritually. These moves are frequently wrapped in uncertainty, fear, and doubt.

Do you believe asking others to give input on a professional or personal shift is wise?

Asking for input and feedback has been the keystone in my life. Soliciting assistance from those that know me (and by knowing I mean professionally, personally, and spiritually) has been invaluable. And by the way, sometimes the input, feedback, and advice was unsolicited! And unsolicited advice is probably the most difficult to discern and requires prayer and additional input to ascertain alignment.

Are there certain types of people someone should ask for input from?

Familiarity with you or experience with the situation is key. Many times it’s not that someone gives you answers but instead asks critical probing questions that we must answer for ourselves. Family, colleagues, friends and fellow faith community members are a few examples. By the way, that is what is great about 4word. We have an opportunity through Community Groups, C-Level, and our Mentor Program to be with women who share our faith foundation and many of our professional and personal experiences.

Who is part of your “input community?”

My input community is so very special. In addition to listening to the Lord through prayer and discernment, my husband Glen has been my life partner, advisor, and confidant. Besides being highly intelligent, he is impeccably candid and forthright. And you can well imagine, with me, that isn’t easy. His advice is not always initially appreciated, but I know and trust he always speaks from the foundation of love and faith. I also have phenomenal family members, mentors, friends, and colleagues. They have guided and advised me throughout my life and career. It’s intriguing that there are times when the person I am talking with has NO experience with the topic at hand but gave me the best advice through the questions they asked!

And I can remember times when, after I was ASKED for advice or my opinion, that the other person did not want or like what I had to say.But I’ve always felt it was disrespectful not to be transparent.  Unfortunately for me, I can’t say that has always ended well, but as long as my intentions are pure, I am at peace with the outcome.

How often should you ask for input while making a change in your life?

For me, asking for advice is second nature that comes from always knowing and respecting that I don’t have all the answers (nor should I) and realizing there is always someone more experienced and more objective than I am. Knowing I have access to that input 24/7 from the Lord and my network brings me so much joy and a heart filled with gratitude.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

Meet Patricia Asp, 4word Board Member, Principal and Founder of ASPire. After witnessing the dramatic weakening of core values of great companies during successions, mergers, acquisitions and rapid growth, Pat launched ASPire as a commitment to the strategic preservation of the goodness of companies and organizations. Using two proven methodologies for measurement and accountability, ASPire’s clients align Purpose and Culture and business strategy for growth and sustainability.  

Patricia Asp is a senior Transformation and Operating executive with over 25 years of diverse business experience in Fortune 500 and small privately held companies in the service, education, healthcare and photography industries. Her specialties include business turnarounds, strategic planning, culture and values sustainability, and multiple location/distributed organizational models with emphasis on performance and process improvement. Throughout her career she has held operations, sales, activations, finance, human resources, and business transformation positions, including CEO, COO and President of companies. Each role required significant strategic redirection and performance improvement.