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008 | Receiving Feedback



Welcome to CoxPod - a podcast for coxswains. I'm Sally, I'm Anne, I'm Breana and we're three coxswains with a combined 50 years of experience in the seat. We decided to share our knowledge with coxswains everywhere via this podcast and ultimately we hope to create a community among our audience where coxswains can learn from each other. So today's episode is about receiving feedback in the rowing context and as is becoming a habit of ours on this podcast, we intended to include this in a single episode about feedback ... and then we just talked for way too long (as we are wont to do) and we decided that it would be best to split it up. So in Episode 007 - our previous episode - if you haven't caught that yet, we talked about giving feedback - a very common part of the coxing experience. And today we are here to talk about the other side of that coin, which is receiving feedback which can be more challenging and something that's talked about less often.


ANNE: Exactly. Again, we started talking with each other and found that we had a lot to say on the subject. And just to hearken back to our prior episode, we did want to make sure that people understood that this is a universal topic because from the moment we're born (right?), we have individual ways of both receiving and giving feedback. So whatever our natural inclinations are, we will tend to bring that style to the sport that we all love so much and therefore we'll be more comfortable with certain aspects of feedback than others. And some of us might be more comfortable giving feedback, which was the topic of our last episode. And some of us might be more comfortable receiving feedback. But let's delve more into this. Why don't we do that now?

BREANA: Of course it's worth noting that coxswains are probably most accustomed to the feedback experience when it comes to giving feedback, but we have to remind ourselves that we give feedback to our rowers all day long ... all practice long ... all race long ... so it's really important to also be able to receive feedback from them and from other constituents (like coaches). So we'll focus on that by kind of opening with one of the most uncomfortable and challenging things about receiving feedback which is that, as a coxswain, feedback can feel like it's really about you in a very personal way. So Sally, do you want to kick us off by kind of unpacking that for folks?

SALLY: Sure. I mean again, we're kind of sitting alone. We're part of the team ... but we're not. We have a microphone. It's very easy for rowers or coaches to voice their frustration about your course, about your line, about the piece in general, and it's very easy to take it personally and take it as if it's a slight upon you. And one of the things when you hear something negative - it's really important to pause and take a deep breath and think: are they talking about me as a person and what I do, as a human being, as my personality, or what I'm doing professionally with my skills, or with how I'm calling something? And the two, while they dovetail together, they are kind of two separate things. And when someone yells at you for missing a buoy - that's a professional, technical comment that might not come to you in the most developmentally appropriate way, but it is a comment on my skills. When they say they don't like the tone I'm using or the phrase I'm using, or "Sally, please for the love of God stop quoting Shakespeare", that's a personal thing ... and that's something I need to understand and appreciate and adapt to. I don't understand who wouldn't like hearing Shakespeare at 500 meters to go, but that's just me. I don't know how you guys deal with it but when I hear something, my first response is to kind of get defensive. But I take a deep breath and calm down and try to analyze where does this comment lie? Is this comment just frustration about the piece or is this really something that I can learn from and improve my skills? A lot of what we do is subjective - especially the calls - and how we choose to motivate and how we choose to correct technically is derived from our personality. And there are some people who are never gonna like you. And I want you to take great comfort in the fact that you are judged by those who love you as well as those who hate you - and they're just some things you're never going to be able to change - but being able to rise above it and be professional and react calmly to feedback (I think) is key.

BREANA: This is reminding me of one of my favorite Charles videos that I like to watch every year before that race - it has two comments on this YouTube video - and one of them is: 'I love this cox, she's awesome', and the other one is: 'I hate this cox, I can't stand listening to her'. And so that really is emblematic (I think) of what the coxing process can feel like as you get feedback... just speaking to that last point that you said, Sally. And it is really challenging because for a rower, a coach can show them a number on a spreadsheet, or show them a video of themselves and say, 'This is how you are rowing. It's either up to the standard that made you get into the boat or it's not'. But I can point to something objective that's out there in the world and it can feel much more ephemeral. Not that there is no hope at all for data-driven coxswain selection -there absolutely is room for objectivity probably more so than some coaches employ - but it can feel really (again) ephemeral and elusive and you know, the comments you get may be kind of vague and you don't understand why you were selected over another coxswain. And then if something really negative comes in, it's very hard for it not to feel like an indictment of your personality because that's what's coming across as you cox. So it is really critical - to the extent that you can - to start to kind of build up a thick enough skin to be able to separate what is actually about your coxing (which came from you but isn't necessarily a reflection of you as a person).

ANNE: I think that what you're saying is very, very important and part of what I'm hearing is that you're saying you need to consider the circumstances under which you're receiving that feedback. I mean - is it a situation where someone is providing feedback out of frustration or their own issues, or is it that it's absolutely timely and meant to improve things but just maybe not framed in a way that's helpful for you? So there are lots of complicated aspects of receiving feedback and we had an episode about personality. Do you guys want to talk about that a little bit more?


BREANA: If you have not caught this one, that's Episode 003 where we talk a little bit about a personality assessment that's out there. And we talk about our own results of that and encourage other coxswains similarly to think about how their personality type can inform their coxing and where their strengths and weaknesses lie. And we talked a lot last episode about giving feedback as well, and understanding your personality and how it is perceived by others (as Sally opened by saying today). And then also understanding how others' personalities are also important to this equation. So we would refer you to that episode if you haven't listened to it yet - it's a great one. And part of why this is important is understanding how each of us with different personalities will receive feedback differently. So an example might be a comment that is really vague, and the rower (you know) has good intentions ... or even a coach (you know) trying to convey this comment, but your (you know) choice of how to act on it can vary. So one that is a good example of this (I think) is something like: 'Well, the calls that you made today were a little confusing'. And you know, there's not a lot of objective information in there. So me - being an ISTJ (which again, check out that episode ... there's a lot of commonalities between us - introversion being one of our common personality traits) - but we have some differences and so my response to that is to start digging into the specifics. Part of that is the 'S' piece of that - of figuring out the details of what exactly was confusing: was it the clarity of the wording, was it how often I gave the calls or how not often I gave them? Which calls were confusing? Was it the ones about timing ... was distance not covered enough... rate you didn't know enough information about ... technique calls weren't clear enough or weren't specific enough to rowers? And so from there, I'm kind of looking at it in an objective way like: let's improve this for the next piece or the next race that we do together as a boat. How about you guys?


SALLY: I'm a INTJ, so if somebody tells me the piece I called was confusing, I sit back and I analyze what I said. And I try to understand the rower - where they're from, what their skill level is, what's going on with them emotionally, what the coach said, what the weather was like, how that impacted the ... too much data. Way too much data. But I take it very, very seriously and I will tell you - if at all possible - if someone comes up to me and says your calls were horribly confusing or I didn't understand this - I will pretty much not make those calls again in another piece if I can all help it. I mean like: "Oh my God, a bridge!" - I will make that call repeatedly. I am analyzing so much data in my mind. Anne, what about you?


ANNE: Well I am the INFJ, and so I tend to have a very different reaction to the comment: 'Hey the calls you made today were a little confusing'. And it might have even been very (sort of) a light comment. I personally go right into feeling very inadequate and shamed and I will also tend to globalize. So I would take that one comment about the calls and say ... I will immediately go into: I guess that must mean that also my steering was terrible, or everything else about the practice that I contributed to was a bust. So it has taken me many years (and it takes a very strong conscious effort) to stop and pause and take a breath ... and then distance myself a little bit from those emotions that start churning in me. And churning is probably a pretty accurate word for how I react to that kind of a comment. So then, now that I am getting better at it, I pause and I usually try to say something along the lines of: 'Thanks for the feedback'. And then I've also learned to say: "Could you be more specific?" (right). I don't try to argue with the person or do anything else that might lead down an unhelpful path, but it does take me (still to this day) a great deal of effort to finally get to where you guys go instinctively. So yeah.


SALLY: In defense of you, Anne, you deal with emotions in a way that Breana and I are not capable of. But I think there's an important emotional part of taking feedback, too, and being able to hear the words that people are saying and being able to process them and internalize them and then actualize them in a positive way. When I get lost in my analysis, there is that emotion bit that's often missing, and I think it's frequently to the detriment of my coxing and my rowers.


ANNE: To build the skill sets in dealing with receiving different types of feedback is one reason that we're talking about this topic today because I believe that those of us who have areas that aren't as strong might need to come up with (sort of) a prepared script or a method of handling those situations. So again for me, I pause and I try not to globalize. I take a breath and then I thank the person - whether I feel instinctively that's the right thing to do - I just now have a pattern. I say, "Thank you for that feedback. Could you be a little more specific". And then my third piece of that is ultimately to try to engage that person in coming up with a potential solution that would help them. So my third part of that process might be: "Can you give me some examples of what you might have wanted to hear that might have been more helpful to you". And so I then don't feel so burdened by having to come up with the solutions to any feedback that I receive.


SALLY: I think you being so candid Anne, empowers me to say that like as an INTJ when I'm coxing, I adopt a persona that's not natural to me so when I receive criticism, I can always go, "Oh it's not me ... it's coxswain's Sally" - so in a way I'm protecting myself and I'm very insular because I try not to let anybody pass the walls. So when feedback does hit, it does hit hard but I'm able to deflect it and it's just one more layer to protect me from the outside world. And I create this character so if someone gives feedback that they don't like the character (like really), I can rewrite that. Shakespeare rewrote Hamlet ... how many times? So again, Shakespeare at the 500 is awesome. But that's my take on it. Because I see it as a script ... having a script ... having a prepared line for when someone gives you an unprepared statement ... when someone says to me, 'Oh Sally, I really didn't like what you did at the 500 - you've misquoted Henry V', then my line is, "Oh that's good to know. Thank you so much for telling me". The person feels acknowledged and I can process it as I need to.


BREANA: I think the script that you have both offered is really critical because the most important thing for me - in terms of receiving feedback - is that rowers and coaches continue to give feedback. So if your initial reaction instead is to say, 'Well no I didn't ... I called that fine. Like I ... you didn't hear me say the distance twice during that race? I told you so much about distance'.  If that's your reaction instead of to say, 'Okay. I'm hearing you say the calls were a little confusing. We elucidated that it was you didn't quite know where we were in the race. Thank you for bringing this to me'. Even if in your heart you really do feel justified - like 'I told them and they weren't listening ... I'm certain that I said it a bunch'. You know that that's the feedback that they provided. So the way it was said wasn't reaching them. The timing of when it was said (you know) something. So if you thank them for that feedback and receive it graciously, they'll be willing to come to you the next time. Even if it's the persona of coxswain you who they're interacting with. I think that's really critical to say because the worst thing you could set up is a circumstance where the rowers are so scared to give you feedback because you'll never receive it well that they just kind of resign themselves to your performance as is, and then you may find yourself falling down the ranks on your team and not understanding why. So that's very important ... the point that you guys have made there.


SALLY: Well, before we follow up on Breana's point, I would like to pause here and say how many people do you know that could use elucidate coherently in a sentence and just go - that's our Breana. So just a round of applause to the supremely educated and articulate person that brings out what the best in a coxswain could be. So let's continue now with our giving feedback. Oh my god y'all. You should see how red she's getting right now ... if only you could see it. This is receiving feedback and she's doing it poorly. But continue... you know: oh no, no, no ... I'm gonna fight for this to stay in. I am fighting for this one. I think Breana, you were making a good point and I'm going to talk again about the fact that you said elucidated in a sentence to make sure you didn't cut it. But I think you're right if you want to get better. So much of what we do is subjective. So much of what we do is dependent on whether or not the rowers can hear and internalize what we are asking them to do. So if you get all bent out of shape and they're offering you feedback, they are telling you what they need when they are in a really bad anaerobic state ... when all the blood has left their brains and their major organs and is in their muscles. And they are telling you desperately (not always developmentally appropriately) what they need and if you refuse to hear it - if you refuse to acquiesce to their needs - it says what type of coxswain you are.


ANNE: Absolutely. And we're in the process of stressing that for our listeners, and we'd really like to have feedback from you - our listeners - about your experiences and what you find helpful and other suggestions that you might have in terms of how you receive feedback and incorporate whatever it is in a helpful way to your future performance. And as part of that (you know), one thing that we were talking about a while ago was the situation that you might find yourself when you're receiving the feedback. For example, there are many people who at six a.m in the morning are not primed biologically or psychologically to receive any feedback whatsoever ... at all. Now to Breana's earlier point, yes, our rowers are out there and they're receiving feedback from us all the time. So I think that it behooves us to be sensitive to the fact that we need to be able to receive feedback although it may not be in the time and the place that we might find ideal. I personally - if I receive written feedback - it has a different impact than verbal feedback. I will again - being that little obsessive person - if I have an email that provides the same (it could be the exact same words), I would then have something written and to me that makes it so much more true and important. And I will look at it and I'll reread it and I'll try to put nuance on it. It's just ... it's silly stuff ... so let's not be too crazy about the parsing of the situations, but just recognize that both for the senders of the feedback and us - the receivers - there are going to be ways that are more effective and efficient.


BREANA: Another thing that it's worthwhile to say is that with individual coxswains - again this this podcast is really geared towards helping anyone at any level improve their coxing - you may have varying levels of experience with receiving feedback in your life. If you're a high school junior aged coxswain, feedback has come a lot in the forms of grades in your life, and this is different. So it may be one of the first times that you've had people giving you face-to-face direct feedback about your performance. And even if you start coxing later in life and you're comfortable with that in a work environment ... but it comes here in an athletic environment ... it can be very different. So depending on people's developmental stages and their experience with this in life, there'll be information here to be gleaned for you no matter where you're at because again, it can really help to have a stock phrase or a stock approach in the moment while you take time to process something that may be new. You know, someone's standing right there and giving you feedback. So that's something important to acknowledge as well I think.


ANNE: Right. And I think that understanding your first reactions to feedback - as I've mentioned before - I think that's very important. We have to remember that some feedback that we're going to get (and hopefully a lot more over time) is going to be positive. So let's not always focus on situations that make us uncomfortable or potentially uncomfortable. And there will also be times (hopefully) that we receive feedback that makes us happy or joyful or will be very grateful. However there'll also be times when we might feel defensive. I mean, Sally mentioned about that. I ruminate a lot or get embarrassed. There are other people - and I've seen them - and sometimes I've had this ... I feel angry that (you know) I just gave my all. What are you finding deficient about what I gave? I gave you my best and it wasn't good enough? And the outcome is already there, so you have some ... could potentially have some emotions. Some of us do have those emotions, right Sally?


SALLY: I have no emotions whatsoever. I'm a robot. I have no heart.


ANNE: So there are examples, right Breana? You know - learning about selection.


BREANA: Yeah. That can be one where you might feel anger or frustration that you didn't make a boat. Again, as you said, despite your best efforts. And a place where coaches can help in that a lot ... I think is providing the coxswain with some actionable objective feedback about what went into the selection decision. And that will keep your coxswains engaged and keep them striving to improve. Because if there's no apparent hope for them (you know) reaching the boat that they ultimately want to be in because they don't understand your criteria, that can be a problem. So even as you're letting someone down as a coach, telling them that they didn't make the lineup they were hoping to, that's an opportunity for you to perhaps prevent this reaction in the coxswain and give them something actionable that they can do.


SALLY: To build on that, especially when receiving negative feedback, listen to what they're saying and think about your response. If your response is to blame someone else or to say, 'But this happened', you're kind of negating the feedback and the chance to improve yourself. There's always something you can do better. There is always something that can be improved on. And you need to pause and think, 'I didn't make the top boat and it's not because she's better or he's better than I am. I didn't make the top boat because I need to learn to steer a straighter course. I didn't make the top boat because I wasn't capable of calling ... yet'. Doesn't mean you're not going to ever be capable of calling clearly ... just not at this particular moment. Then I think that's an important thing: taking ownership and not deflecting the criticism on someone or something else.


ANNE: This brings up something that I just want to say again - out of appreciation. So the three of us often ... and I think our listeners will find this ... as we come to a topic (in this case receiving feedback) and we talk about more of the theoretical ... and then what we do is we start bringing in some real-life rowing examples. And I have to say personally, this is very exciting for me. And I'm - you know, it's reinforcing for me why we are having these conversations because the theory is nice, but I really enjoy when we get into the specifics. I'm gonna bring up a couple of specifics and let's see how we react to them when the subject of receiving feedback is explored a little further. So how about those situations where you get some criticism? In this case, the feedback is criticism about the way you were steering your course. And you know, what do you do if the fact of the matter is: you got criticized for your line but you were swerving because there was debris?


BREANA: This is one where I think the scenario that Sally was just talking about could be really helpful ... where again, the instinct is going to be defensiveness. So, you've got that coach that (you know) is really distracted.  They've got four boats wide. They're sort of half watching you on the piece. The one moment they happen to look at your boat is the moment that you're super off the line because there was a gigantic log in your path and then that's when they make a comment. It's like, Get back on point', or afterwards they tell you and that you're (you know), your first instinct might be like, 'Dude, you ... I saw ... didn't you see the log? Like, I saw ... I was avoiding that'. And probably one of the worst things you can do - which I probably would have been guilty of in my earlier days, and maybe even still now if I'm honest with myself - is making some kind of comment to the rowers inside the boat. You know ... being like, 'Well, that's so annoying ... like we all saw that log, right?' Which kind of (you know) demeans the coach and just makes you look like a (you know) a bad influence in this situation ... who's complaining. And it's really challenging. You know, one way that I could see to turn this around - we're not saying these are like easy scenarios - might be to talk to the coach afterward and say, 'I understand that (you know) I wasn't in line with the other boats and that was important because this was a seat race or just because it was a practice, you know. What would you like me to do in that situation in the future? Or is there a way (you know)... would it help if I signaled with a hand or something? Or would it help if we maybe surveyed the course (you know) 200 meters down before we started to make sure there wasn't any debris if we knew that there had been bad weather? Would it help if I had told the other coxswains and we'd all moved together? You know, how would you prefer that I handle this in the future?' Or (you know) maybe the reason I swerved so late is because I didn't see the log because I am still working on being able to see in front of me. Or because I was distracted by timing the piece. Is there a way we could make sure cox boxes have enough battery so I didn't need a backup timer? You know ... anything that may have interfered with the situation. So that's not you saying that you didn't do it - because you definitely did - and it's not you (you know) trying to blame a random thing in the environment, even if you really know in your heart that that was the culprit. But it's kind of turning this around and saying like: 'Okay well, this scenario could come up again so what's a way that we could tackle this together that you would prefer, coach?'


SALLY: You're far, far better a person than I could ever be Breana.


BREANA: I'm not saying I've always successfully done it, but this is the ideal I'm presenting in a safe podcast environment so that in the heat of the moment, maybe someone out there - us included - remembers this approach, you know. Even though again our instinct is going to be to be like: "I know why I swerve and (like) it's not my fault that that's the one second you decided to pay attention to me in the piece", but we know that that can happen.


SALLY: And the point of the matter is, I cut my teeth on the Potomac. It is a river that has a lot of logs and debris. I saw a picnic table and a cow once. It wasn't a really happy day, But it's a river where part of steering is protecting the bow of the hull ... that we don't smash it into something heavy. And I have oversteered avoiding logs, so when the coach calls me out because I was steering to prevent my rowers from hitting a log or the boat from hitting a log, you know the truth of the matter is I could probably have steered tighter. I didn't need to take quite the arc that I did to avoid the log, and if I really needed that arc, we probably shouldn't have been out on the river anyhow. But when the coach is yelling at you because you oversteered, acknowledging - yeah I oversteered ... or I wasn't on point ... and figuring out how much I needed to actually steer to avoid the log ... and how much I did just because I was being lazy or distracted. But I still think Breana's answer was far better than mine.

ANNE: It was pretty terrific. I'm with you, Sally, on that one. So again, to my point that you know it's really fun to think - out of the heat of the moment - what is it that we might want to do for the next time out, right? And also for our listeners to feel comforted in that we have experienced most of the things that you also have. And we struggled and now we're talking about it, and it helps because next time, I might remember a tiny portion of what Breana offered as a solution. For whatever it's worth, I'm going to also throw out a situation where - unlike my usual self - I realized this was not worth any battle. And it was at Worlds where (for those people who are not familiar with that situation, which is most of us), there's a requirement that the crews be dressed identically. There's no variation allowed. The referee is kind of obsessed about that a little bit. So I ended up having a crew that their shirts were just supposed to be white shirts. And we got in and one of them was off white. So off we went ... there was no time to make that correction. We showed up down at the marshalling area and this very, very loud official ... "USA - you are not dressed appropriately. You might be disqualified". So I waved my hand and smiled as best I could and I said through clenched teeth, "We are really, really sorry and it will never happen again". And because I acquiesced then we went in and took off, but there were things that I wanted to say.


SALLY: You're so much a better person than I am.


ANNE: Sometimes you just gotta let it go for the bigger picture, right?


SALLY: I think that falls into: considering the source ... knowing that good referees at FISA and knowing what they put up with ... I am sure that they were tired and exhausted and it was just - it's a long day in the starting tower. And y'all, I think that's a seriously important thing to recognize (too) when receiving feedback. And you know, it's one of the many variables. There are some people who - the only way that they can talk with you is to criticize you - and there are some people ... no matter ... I could win Head of the Charles every year, and they will still find fault with everything I do. And that's important to recognize, too. I don't always have the best answer on how to deal with them, especially if I'm tired and without caffeine and feeling particularly snarky. Bad things happen. But it's important to recognize - and I think, Anne, your response was absolutely perfect and far better than mine.


ANNE: That one time ... I'll take that one, Sally. So on to some more real life circumstances and situations. One that I am going to toss out to the two of you - and potentially to our listeners - that I struggle with is: when you get contradictory feedback from various people in the boat. So for example, you have a boat that you work with (you know) not just one off, but that you work with them consistently. And some of the rowers want to know all the information and others just want peace and quiet.


SALLY: Scullers.


ANNE: Scullers. How do you handle that? I mean this is not an unusual situation, is it?


BREANA: Definitely not unusual. This one is challenging because I have also experienced this. Like, you've got the rower that says, 'I don't want to hear a single distance reminder until we're well over halfway', and then maybe right in front of you is the stroke seat who needs an update every 100 meters. Or it's easy if it's that person, because you can cover your mic and talk to them. But (you know) you've got rowers taking their own strategies ... like counting or bringing a speed coach into an eight - which is an interesting phenomenon I don't know how I feel about.


SALLY: I have distinct opinions on that one, but continue.

BREANA: But yeah, it's really hard to navigate. And again, if you have the luxury (which we don't always have but in this imaginary scenario we do) of having met with that boat beforehand and kind of knowing each other and maybe you've done some practice pieces, you can try to use that environment to come up with an agreement that appeases all parties as best as possible. You know it's not an option for you to like go the whole piece without saying anything - again, rowers can scull if that's what they want - but what's the right balance between what kind of information do you want to hear from me? I'm trying to think about scenarios where I've managed this effectively. Okay, one that comes to mind is: I had a boat that was very flustered by hearing the rate, so anytime you would say the rate, they would start to panic if it was the number that they thought was unachievable - even though in the moment they were actively achieving that number. So what the solution ended up being though is that our stroke seat really did want correct information about the rate and wanted it frequently to know if she was on point ... so that circumstance turned into me saying a number that was a couple of beats lower to the boat at large and not commonly ... just maybe throwing it out one time in the start sequence, or even throwing it out in a vague way to say 'We're on target with our rate ... where we're supposed to be', and then what I would do is cover my mic and report to the stroke seat the actual rate that she was interested in knowing. So that was a scenario that worked effectively because I could communicate in a quiet way with the person in front of me and not with the rest of the boat. But those pre-race meetings are important to say (like), "Okay, maybe we've agreed I don't say anything until halfway but after that, I start saying every 250 or even more frequent" (you know) whatever people need. That's a couple thoughts I have about times I've tried to deal with that. I have not totally mastered it every time, but it's a tough one. It's important for us to acknowledge, and you're not expected to pull off some kind of magic where there's a different thing coming out of every speaker ... so the rowers should be willing to work with you and come to an agreement about the right approach.

SALLY: Technically it's not impossible to wire the boat in such a way where every seat gets their individual speaker. The microphone situation might get a little confusing, but ...


BREANA: Don't even seed that idea in the rowing community. That's going to become a thing where four different races are being coxed with the different speakers as you go down.

SALLY: What I would do in that situation is: tell the rowers to suck it up. No, seriously - one of the things I enjoy most about this sport is it's a team effort and when you have diametrically opposed needs and ideas pulling them together ... and saying - six seat needs this ... three seat, can you give a little bit of what you don't like to make sure that six seat's there for you pulling? Or two seat needs to hear this? And this comes from watching your rowers and knowing your rowers and understanding your rowers. And I could say, "Look guys, I know that bow hates it when I call rating, but the engine room needs to know this information, and so about I'm going to ask you to give a little bit of this annoyance so that the engine room can have what they need to power us through". And I think in the situations like you presented, Anne, reminding them that we have one common goal, and then if everybody gives a little bit and we all compromise, we're going to become unified. And we're going to become a better, stronger, solidified team with synergy. And I think in those situations, it's the art of compromise ... it's the art of diplomacy. And I think that is an exceptionally underappreciated coxswain skill. And also I do have to stress - use this judiciously - don't be afraid to tell your rowers to suck it up because sometimes they ask you for impossible things. I have literally (we've been over this), I've been asked to read poetry. I have been asked to ... they wanted me to harmonize. Like you know, it's okay to say 'no'. 'No' is a complete sentence. 'No' is a full stop. And it's okay to just say, "I appreciate that this is what you want. No".

BREANA: And I think there's a way ... incorporating things that we've already talked about and things we will continue to talk about over the course of this podcast, that when you bring that 'no' out emphatically, rowers understand and respect that that was the answer that time. There's definitely a way where you can build (you know) if you ... if you're a 'no' woman (let's say the opposite of a 'yes man') ... if you're just saying 'no' to every request, you're now becoming the unreasonable coxswain that's resistant to feedback. But if rowers understand like: okay, this this is not something that's going to help us achieve our goal. The one person who thought it'd be funny if I talked in an accent ... everyone else is going to be cracking up, and we're not doing that at our championship race. So I hope you understand that that one's a 'no' this time. And if you have that rapport with the rowers that will spend plenty of time (you know) continuing to talk about how to build, the time when you do have to bust that technique out - I think - will be met with respect.

SALLY: Yeah, as long as you're judicious about it, 'no' should not be the answer to every question ... unless that's, 'Can we wire the eight with four different microphones?', in which case  - 'no'.

ANNE: And add speed coaches for every seat.

SALLY: Because the bow is going so much faster than the stern.

ANNE: I think we'll have an episode about pet peeves. I believe this one might come to the forefront.

SALLY: That one might be a 4-parter y'all ... that might be a 4-parter.

ANNE: Well, you're right and there's so many different ways that we can actually also solicit feedback, right? Sometimes the situation is that it's unsolicited, but also let's take control some of the time. Let's take the positive approach and actually solicit feedback and I think how we do that is very important.

BREANA: Especially with really new rowers who maybe aren't able to articulate exactly what they want yet ... you know, if it's your first race of the novice crew and you're also a novice and you just go to them and say. 'Hey guys, how did I do?', you're gonna get (you know) at best kind of vague, 'Good' comments (you know) from people who don't know how to give a coxswain feedback yet ... which is another place that a coach could possibly - especially coaches of novice athletes - could really provide a lot of helpful scaffolding in that scenario. So one approach that I am going to borrow that's highlighted in the Short and Snarky Guide to Coxing and Rowing - an excellent book - is to offer them kind of two options and say (you know), 'Did you like it when I said this better or that better? How did we like the call for the start? We're going to try two different options: one where I'm calling the numbers (you know) of the strokes. Maybe I'm saying, 'Three quarters, half, etc. and then we'll try one where I say words like pry, clips, and whatever you want and those are our two options'. And you allow them to choose between those and you practice them leading up to your event and then you choose on the day of. That's a way of kind of reducing that analysis paralysis of (you know) here's anything that a coxswain could say. I watched a few crappy YouTube videos as an athlete and I get a sense that they're just supposed to kind of scream, but I don't know what to tell them. That's one option that you could try - is giving a choice between the two options here instead of just a totally open request for feedback.

SALLY: I think that's the really good point. I would like to just stress, too, that just as we have multiple and diverse personality types, so do your rowers. And the person giving the feedback like (you know) the squeaky wheel ... it doesn't mean that they're the entire team. Sometimes the quiet, the more demure people - the people that are afraid to confront you directly - also may have opinions and feedback that you might find beneficial. And don't be afraid to solicit others who aren't volunteering information. You know sometimes, again, the squeaky wheel is the one that gets heard but they might not be speaking for the majority, especially if your team is all introverts.

BREANA: That's a place where a method like an anonymous form circulated every now and again - this isn't something that it's feasible to do frequently - but I think there's a lot of strength to whatever level of formality of coxswain evaluation that your team wants to put together could be very helpful. Could be as simple as a google form with a single box, but there's many resources out there about how to develop more complex ones that actually evaluate coxswain's skills. And I have no doubt that that's something we'll address at one point. But again, even just the bare minimum of allowing people to anonymously share things that could get those introverts to be able to share, including positives that you know (maybe) are not being realized or acknowledged for that coxswain enough. So that's something I recommend teams do at least once a season. Certainly I hope that every team can muster the time and effort to do that for their coxswains at least one time.


SALLY: And if you do it once a season, try not to do it at the end of the season so all that that coxswain is doing is ruminating all winter. Try to do it when there's time and they can actualize a positive change. Just standing there in the winter thinking about how - during the big race when I did a power ten, I missed six - it happens a lot y'all, it happens a lot. But that's not helpful in December when everybody's on the erg.

ANNE: These are some great, practical suggestions and scenarios that we've talked about. I again want to say thank you. I've personally learned a lot by just (sort of) hashing out this subject matter. And we know it's deep and wide and we continue to be open and really soliciting information from our listeners because learning from you is part of our objective, right ... ...sharing that information around. In a little bit of a recap, what we've talked about is having (sort of) this unstructured feedback situation - that we're receiving feedback in an unstructured setting. Unsolicited, for example - sometimes it's deserved, sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's targeted, sometimes it's very general and reactionary. Sometimes it's helpful. Sometimes it's irrelevant. We've talked about the fact that it can be verbal ... it can be written. What do you ladies think in terms of recapping and talking about receiving feedback?

SALLY: I think it's hard. I think it's part of who we are and I think it's very hard. But if you want to get better - if you want to improve - we're asking our rowers to push themselves 'til their muscles ache ... we have to ache on a slightly different level. And you have to hear what they're saying, and how they're saying it, and where it's coming from. Because in all feedback - even the cruelest - there is some nugget that you can take away if you want to improve. And I'm going to apologize now because some of the things you will hear in your coxing career are harsh ... and they will hurt ... and they will cut you to the quick. My first three years of coxing, I cried almost every day after practice. And I hope nobody ever experiences that and I wish you guys have positive coaches, but when you don't - because you're pouring your heart and your soul into this - just try to find the nugget that gives you confidence and that you can improve ... no matter how small it is.

ANNE: It's really important information, Sally ... a very important perspective and shows a lot of empathy and understanding and belief in the fact that each one of us - regardless of where we are in our coxing trajectory - where it is that we can move forward and not just be stuck. Really important. As part of receiving feedback is, right? It's key to our improving - not just giving feedback - but receiving it and receiving it in constructive ways. And it comes across to us in all sorts of ways that might trigger other things. So for example, we've got two aspects: we've got the verbal and non-verbal feedback. And I personally am very sensitive to tone of voice and I am very, very attuned to sounds and anything audio. And when there's a certain tone of voice, it doesn't matter what the content is - my first instinct is to react to the tone of voice. And so I know that about myself and harkening back to our prior episodes, I need to pay attention to that and take that factor into consideration. How about both of you with non-verbal aspects of communication and receiving feedback?

BREANA: In the rowing community I think that's really important to talk about. In any sport where feedback could potentially be given live - because rowers in the heat of the moment can say things ... and you know in the heat of their actively exercising ... things can come out sounding in a particular tone as well - like very gruff and urgent. So you know, stroke seat (like) coming up to the catch and saying 'Rush' - like that can kind of jar you and make you think (like) I feel immediately bad for not instantly having addressed rush (you know). But that's just the way that it came out and because they're frustrated because, you know, they probably have that feeling of holding back the boat behind them, and maybe that's been going on for a little while before they said it. And maybe they're making a pained face as well - like that can be something that really eats away at me - when I see expressions coming from stroke seat in and eight situation ... because you know that they know that you're the only person who can see them. So those expressions are ... they're either for you or they're just in general. And so that's something that it's challenging to parse ... is (like) either a tonal expression of frustration or looks on a stroke seat's face that (you know) can make you feel really inadequate. And sometimes you have that defensive response again ... like, 'Did you not hear me make a call for slide control like 10 strokes ago? Like, the rush is not on me.' But the more mature and appropriate response in that scenario is to (you know) - to the extent that you can work with them and rush can fall apart in 10 strokes - so it's just checking yourself when that feedback immediately appears, especially from the front of the boat where you can hear people or even worse I guess, at the back someone's shouting something out in the middle of practice and it's just saying like: okay, this person is ... this is probably all that they could choke out as they were in the middle of breathing and so it sounded pretty scary and intense, but I can react in a calm way still. And I don't (you know) ignore feedback from stroke seat, but maybe I'm going to wait a couple strokes and make a calculated call that will address this. And I think they ultimately notice that.

ANNE: There's other aspects of non-verbal feedback of course, and one of those is body language.

SALLY: I use body language a lot before the race to determine how nervous the rowers are ... how confident they are ... how cold they are ... how ready they are - especially a crew I don't know well. It all factors into how I'm gonna call the race. You can watch how they stand and especially when people are more distracted and they don't think you're watching ... when they're on their phones ... when they're talking to people ... if you watch them when they don't know you're watching - which makes me sound really voyeuristic. But you can see what they're trying to protect. You can see what they're afraid of. You can see their nervous ticks. So I use that in the race and I'm able to know when a rower is scared, or when they want to beat another team, or how confident they feel and I channel that into what I call.

BREANA: Yeah, you have a truly masterful grasp on that, Sally. I really admire that.

SALLY: Thank you. Thank you, Breana - that is a very nice thing to say.

BREANA: There we go - we're modeling receiving feedback.

ANNE: Yup, and now Sally's turning red ... just like Breana did earlier in the day.

BREANA: If I get lauded for 'elucidate', you can get lauded for actually having some coxing skills.

SALLY: Honestly, I would like to take credit for it, but I believe truly it's how I see the world and it's how I perceive people in my day-to-day life. And it's just one of those transferable skills that I carry over.


ANNE: Right. And as we each mature - regardless of our chronological age - there are people that can develop really fine-tuned antennae to things such as body language. And it's something that people might just want to learn a little bit more about. There's lots of literature out. There there's lots of guidance. I wanted to segue just for a quick second to something that is also important to me and, I think, maybe to a lot of coxswains ... is another type of feedback that most people won't really discuss and we have in other episodes is: physical feedback from our equipment. Don't we, as coxswains, receive a lot of feedback about what's going on physically from the boats that we sit in?


SALLY: That, too, is a language of love for me. The way the boat moves ... the way it glides ... the pressure on the oars ... the click of the oarlocks ... the squeak of the wheels ... all of that tells you something. And that's just more data and more feedback and I'm sure we'll cover it in a podcast - probably a very lengthy one - knowing that, and knowing those sounds, and knowing the feel of the pressure on the boat can give you more feedback than just the stroke coach or the three stroke coaches in the boat.


ANNE: That's right. The boat provides significant feedback. So take it. Use it. Embrace it. Build those skills - it can only serve you and your crew a whole lot. I'm gonna do a little pivot here and ask - in the spirit of the topic of the day - for you to kind of share an experience that you had about receiving feedback.


BREANA: An example that I can give happened pretty early in my coxing career. I ended my novice year feeling like I was pretty decent as a coxswain ... given the circumstances ... which looking back is of course embarrassing ... but as I shared in Episode 003, being an ISTJ personality typewise and having that kind of attention to detail, one of the things that came early to me in terms of the facets of coxing that one can get a handle on was technique. And so I felt like I had a pretty good understanding (at a novice one-year-in level) of the stroke and how to coach for the stroke (you know) within the boat. And towards the end of my novice year, I got connected to a master's team in my area and their coach had a very technical style that also really resonated with me and kind of further nurtured that natural inclination I had of (like) okay, this is how your body should be positioned ... and this is why that's advantageous ... and here's what I can say to get rowers to do that. And so I ended the season (you know) as a very technical coxswain - again, in a sense that you could be after a single novice year - and then started my first year on varsity and ended up in men's fours a lot. We were sending quite a few fours to Head of The Charles that year that we'd qualified previously, and so I was kind of in the running for that. And I brought this very technical style and I was like: this is my chance. I'm gonna use this opportunity to (like) showcase my knowledge. And then one morning the guys in one of these boats kind of took me aside, and were like, 'Listen. When we're like at full press in the final minute of a practice 2k, we do not want to be hearing about the grip strength of our fingers on the oar and how our spine should be positioned. We want you to be yelling and (you know) motivating us through this. Like that is not the right time for what you're bringing and there's a thing (you know) that you should be doing that would help us more that is totally lacking in this critical time of the piece". And that was very uncomfortable to receive. And I don't remember anymore how I handled it in the moment. I would like to believe it was gracefully, but I bet it wasn't - and I ... thinking back though ... I'm still so grateful to those rowers who did something that I'm sure was equally uncomfortable and hard for them ... and were willing to bring me this feedback. I always view feedback in this way: is like the person providing the feedback is saying that they have hope for you - that you could change. If they didn't think there was hope, they wouldn't bring the feedback in the first place. So I really (you know) ... looking back, am increasingly grateful to that boat of guys who really said the hard thing. And I'm sure it was hard for them to say and it was definitely hard to receive, but it was critical because I wouldn't ... I ended up not getting selected for Charles that year anyway ... but I wouldn't have known (you know) why necessarily, had they not come to give me this piece of feedback and given me a chance to improve. And then, you know, if I don't improve - that's on me. But they now provided me with the knowledge to say: this is what we'd like you to do instead and this is how it would benefit our goal of (you know) doing our best at this big competition. So that's my story.


SALLY: Breana may not have been selected that year but she has gone on to win gold since at Head of The Charles ... so ...


BREANA: A comeback story. Thank you. Yeah, there were quite a few years in between of ...


SALLY: Details, details, details - do the ISTJ - me and my analysis. Didn't get it that year. Won later.


BREANA: Rags to riches, yes. But I hope that helps some people listening. We can only do so much to make it not feel terrible in the moment ... to be getting something like that ... but again, you gotta recognize that what those athletes did was also really challenging and they gave you that chance to potentially improve and (again) improve the outcome of that entire boat. So ... worthwhile.


SALLY: I just want to layer into what you're saying, Breana. If you want to improve, you have to be open to feedback. If you close yourself off, you will not improve. You may have skills but you are limiting your growth ... and you have to be able to just accept that you're not perfect.


ANNE: Yeah. So when you have been receiving feedback ... let's say at a regatta, Sally, how do you respond if a race official provides feedback to you?


SALLY: Carefully. So again.


ANNE: Right.


SALLY: I ...


ANNE: Wait ... wait - I'm going to interrupt you for a second. Pause there, because you're exactly right. How should our listeners also consider feedback from someone at a regatta? Carefully.


SALLY: So they do have the best interest of the regatta at heart. They're volunteers. They have been sitting in the sun all day with limited bathroom breaks and food and water, and they have watched everything from the absurd to the insane float past them. And some of them are out there because they love the sport or they're supporting someone. They don't know how a boat moves. I have been asked if I could move my boat six feet to the left - and for those of you who don't cox, the boats don't move that way. So carefully and respectfully - because their perspective is different than yours and especially if you're an experienced coxswain - don't go in there with an attitude, because they're trying. Their perception and their perspective is going to be different than yours, but it doesn't mean it should be negated. That being said - should you be addressed by an official and they are asking you to do something that you believe is truly unfair or counter to your position, my default answer (because I have been pulled over by officials many times) is: "I made my decision in the interest of safety and fairness from my perspective". It can't be negated because you add ... 'from my perspective'. If you get pulled over, or you get white-flagged at the end of a race, and they come over to you and they ask what you think you were doing and you think you were in the right - just ... "I made my decision or I acted in the interest of safety and fairness".


ANNE: I'm gonna again stress that, at a regatta, you really need to do what's right for your crew. There is a way of receiving that feedback in a respectful way and acknowledging that they see what they see, and they are taking the time to communicate with you. You need to handle that in the right way and receive it in the right way.


SALLY: Yeah ... I'm just going to say when the official tells you to do something, don't mutter something under your breath to your crew. That just signifies insecurity and insubordination. The official says 'do this'. Don't go, 'Oh my God. I can't believe that blue shirt told me to do blah blah blah blah blah ... can you believe how stupid they are?". We've all done it - it doesn't speak volumes. We shouldn't be doing it. And again, they're volunteering their time and we wouldn't be able to do races without them.


BREANA: That's a great point and handling all this with deference is really key. And this is yet another topic that could be an entire episode, because I'm sure we are all ... we all have many stories akin to Anne's uniform violation story. And I think also it's important to acknowledge that - in this conversation - we're kind of using race official and referee in an interchangeable way. I don't want to at all disrespect the efforts of U.S. rowing referees who, I know, go through training, log hours in the launch, take exams ... there's a lot behind that. It doesn't inherently give you understanding how to move a boat if you haven't been a coxswain, but an official could still be a person sitting on a launch maybe even wearing a t-shirt for the regatta that says 'Official' on the back ... and that could be a parent volunteering ... could be someone who knows nothing about rowing at all ... and those are all people that you need to treat with deference (you know) regardless of the nature of the request. So as we said, there's a very polite and respectful way to acknowledge what was said and then to do the right thing for your crew and for the competitive environment. And having a thick skin (again) is very helpful because - Anne, for instance, if you had crumbled in that moment and said, 'Oh well. I ... oh crap ... well, I guess we can't race then, right?' - then you know your boat might not have made it to the finish line successfully ... or even to the start line. But the fact that you (you know) had the appropriate response ... showing that official (you know) respect ... let them kind of give you a pass for that round, and (you know) your boat got to race. So I think that's the most important thing to acknowledge is - like that's the end goal - is successfully and safely getting our boat there and not interfering in any way with competitors and being able to complete our race. And so, deftly handling that situation (you know) doesn't require - even though it's tempting and I probably have done it, to be honest - being like, 'Okay guys, that was stupid, right? We don't need to worry about - are you off white versus white. Like come on. Give me a break'. Maybe off on land - in your boat meeting afterwards - you have a laugh about it, but not right there in the moment. So I think (again) your example of how you handled that is a really great way of saying (you know) - I'm not going to bow to a silly rule and argue the differences of white and off-white right here ... or the difference between a visor and a hat ... and again if people think these are jokes - these are all real circumstances - so (you know) I'm respecting the sport, but I also am respecting reality. And my team is here to race and you know, we're moving on and that that was effective in the moment. So it's ... 'carefully' is exactly the right approach to this whole thing.


ANNE: Well, I know that we're getting close to the end of our episode here, but we did want to try to have a little conversation about receiving feedback from coaches.


BREANA: I think one thing that might be important to say that is a challenge I anticipate a lot of coxswains out their experience is: how to even get feedback from your coach. Like, we've talked about scenarios about how to handle it but what if it's just (you know) radio silence. And metaphorically or actually, one of the most unhelpful things you could do (even though it seems like taking action) would be to go to the coach and just be like, 'How am I doing? Any tips? Any feedback?' Because the truth is: unless that coach is a coxswain themselves or is really attuned  - and we celebrate these coaches - to the needs of coxswains, then they probably ... unless you're making (you know) egregious mistakes ... they probably aren't paying that much attention to you. They're just grateful to have a competent person there and have that person be not messing up the coach's practice. And so if that's the level that you're at, you may just be (kind of) falling by the wayside. And so what I found helpful - even as a coach who really pays a lot of attention to coxswains - having the coxswain approach you with something specific that they would like feedback on ... and in a way that the coach can then act on it. So if you appear out of nowhere and corner me as a coach at the end of a practice and are like, 'Hey, uh coach, how how did my steering look today?' They're gonna make it up or they're gonna just honestly tell you, 'I wasn't watching'. Or maybe that was the one day that you steered for that log and that's the one piece of feedback that they have, but if you instead approach them at the beginning of practice or at the end of the previous days practice and say, 'You know, I haven't checked in on my steering for a while ... could you maybe sit behind me in the launch for piece number two today and just kind of let me know how I'm doing? I'm gonna try to point at such and such (you know)' ... something like that ... then they're primed as they go out for the practice to say, 'Okay, she asked me to watch for her steering ... I'm gonna take a look at that'. As opposed to (like) calling up from everything that happened in the practice how your steering was after the day is over. So coming with something actionable. We all wish (like) an ideal world of course. We acknowledge that coxswains would just get coached and we wouldn't have to have these conversations, but we do. So if you want to get yourself some coaching, that's one way to approach them. Or to say, 'Can I share with you my recording of the one five minute piece that we did, and I'm wondering about my tone and whether I varied enough'. And that's something very specific you've given them ... the time length that they're committing to for this, and you know then you're giving them something that you're working on. So that's an approach that you could try.


ANNE: As we draw to a close on this episode - which is about receiving feedback - ultimately the goal of that is to take that feedback ... grow as an individual both personally and as a coxswain ... and then ultimately out into other areas of your life. We hope that you have found some of these subjects and comments and stories helpful. And right - the fact that somebody's even bringing feedback to you ... it's a sign of hope.


BREANA: Exactly. And I think that's an amazing outlook to have. And I would also encourage you - we gave a lot of actionable real scenarios here, but no doubt you have experienced (listeners) things that we didn't address that seem really hard and you weren't sure how to navigate it ... and maybe that thing has just happened as you're listening. Maybe it was a long time ago. In any case, we would encourage you to use our Slack community as a place to pose that scenario and say. 'I didn't know how to handle this. How would you handle this?' And we can leverage the feedback of everyone in our community. There's just three of us who've shared here, but everyone has had such diverse experiences ... and so I would love to hear people bring up the really challenging scenarios that they haven't been sure how to deal with. And it's a safe place to say, 'This was really uncomfortable. How do I handle this?' So I look forward to hopefully seeing some feedback provided from people - or seeking feedback on scenarios - so that we're all a little more equipped the next time something comes up.


ANNE: And now why don't we move into our shout out?


SALLY: So I think it's funny that I - the least scientific of the three of us - should volunteer this, but as these have been really trying times, I really want to make sure we thank the scientists and the first responders and the healthcare officials who are working so hard to bring this Covid crisis to an end ... that will get us all out on the water and doing things that we love.


BREANA: These scientists and first responders and medical professionals and everyone you know directly working on the pandemic - not only have they enabled us to come back to normalcy eventually, but some of them are our teammates and our coaches. And they're also people that our community has always relied on and that's who I flagged down in a prior story when I had a rower having a medical issue in the boat. It was those first responders in a launch this time, who came to help us and enable us to continue doing this safely. So an eternal shout out to those groups of people.


ANNE: That's it - we thank - you more than you know. And let's then move to our Quick Pick.


BREANA: So for our Quick Pick, we thought we would do something that I think we've already modeled a ton throughout this episode. Our Quick Pick is: coxswains complimenting each other and lifting each other up, and I hope you all heard us exemplify this - even if it turned us red sometimes - throughout this episode. You know, trying to to lift up each other's strengths and differences and all in the service of improving and and learning from each other. So - compliment to coxswain near you.


ANNE: I'm going to compliment you, Breana.


BREANA: Oh no.


ANNE: There are some - there are many special things about what I've picked up about your coxing style and your personality, but one of them is your ability to immediately learn and utilize your rowers' names ... even if you've never met them before. You can line them up and learn their names and you utilize that information to get a better performance out of them ... to connect in a special way that I'll never be able to do. And I really admire that about you and I think it's something that other people do, too.


BREANA: Well, thank you, Anne.

SALLY: I just want to say I am really, really grateful for whatever positive thing I did in my life that put both of you in front of me because you have given me a sense of community that I didn't have previously. And I have learned from both of you ... because I think both of you have exemplary talents in and out of the seat. And both of you have managed small and large miracles in any boat I put you in. You always make it greater than the sum of your parts. You guys are extraordinary, so I'm grateful I'm allowing you guys past the walls and to work with you. So thank you for being my triumvirate.


BREANA: I mean - where do I even start with Sally? There's so many things that impress me. I mean a lot of these aren't even things I could achieve myself. It's just (like) lauding a person who can drive a trailer somewhere while also planning four regattas ahead somehow, and you know managing all of that and then showing up the race course absolutely exhausted ... somehow fixing everybody's equipment ... still stopping to remember to ask that rower how their birthday that was last month went ... and then pulling aside this rower who looks really down and checking on them ... and saving a stray animal somewhere along the way (you know) ... and then still getting out there and winning ... like Shakespeare quoting and all. Like, it's just the way that you put everything together and you guys both bring such a critical presence to this podcast. So I thank you for agreeing to be my co-hosts and being willing to talk to me for a lot of time on the weekends and and make this community just really awesome and stronger for both of you guys's experience that's been there. And Anne, I will never be able to master what you have either in terms of handling scenarios with so much more deftness - exactly as you shared today and just all the little times that I've been (like), 'I'm not putting up with this' and then you've stepped in to say (like), 'Here's how we're gonna manage this effectively. Like yes, we shouldn't be putting up with this, but we can't just say that to people'. So yeah, I'm very grateful to have both of you guys in my coxing and personal life.


ANNE: And we look forward to drawing the circle closer, you know - bringing all of you in - and we want to learn about you, appreciate you, and grow with you, right?


SALLY: In the meantime, we invite you to engage with us on social media and Slack where your question might be featured on a future episode. We would also love for you to consider supporting us on Patreon if that's of interest to you. For our patrons, we will be offering early access to some upcoming episodes and there's going to be a lot of bloopers from this one. We are also excited to bring more content soon, so until next time, I'm Sally, I'm Anne, and I'm Breana signing off for now.

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