Let’s talk about feedback for a minute.

Imagine yourself in a situation where you’re receiving feedback. Maybe you’re in a performance review at work after falling short on your targets, maybe you’re a student in meeting with a professor who’s class your barely passing, maybe you’re sitting across from a friend/partner who’s being excruciatingly honest about why they’re unhappy with you…

When you imagine yourself in these sensitive feedback situations, what comes up for you?

  • Do you cringe? Does your stomach drop?
  • Do you automatically associate feedback with criticism?
  • Do you quickly fall into a shame spiral of feeling like you’re not enough?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone.

Feedback has devolved from a powerful, growth-facilitating tool to a weapon of personal destruction.

We have learned to equate feedback with disapproval, judgment and fault-finding. We have come to the misguided conclusion that pleasing, performing and perfecting are effective strategies for outsmarting failure and avoiding feedback. We are living in a shame-prone culture where we have been taught to connect our self-worth to what we produce instead of who we are.

And yet… if we are interested in playing big, becoming our best selves and maximizing our potential, feedback is a MUST. Period.

So. Now what?

By now you probably know me well enough to anticipate that I have a strategy for you to try. I can’t promise you’re gonna like it, but I can promise it will be a game changer. You ready?

Solicit Feedback.

Yup. You read that right (and I warned you that you might not like it!) But in all seriousness, this is an incredibly powerful strategy for a few crucial reasons:

1.     It normalizes feedback. When giving/receiving feedback is reserved only for serious sit-downs like annual reviews or family meetings, it creates a negative association with the experience. Plus, walking on eggshells or passively waiting for the other shoe to drop breeds additional tension and anxiety which only make the conversation that much harder. We can quickly begin to shift this experience by:

  • Engaging in feedback conversations more frequently and consistently about smaller, every day interactions/assignments/behaviors
  • Proactively asking for feedback instead of waiting for someone else to muster up the courage to deliver difficult but important information

2.     It deepens our self-awareness. We absolutely can’t change/grow/evolve/develop a part of ourselves if we aren’t aware that it needs our attention. We ALL have blind spots, and soliciting feedback can help us to become more cognizant. An important thing to keep in mind:

  • This requires both courage and curiosity on the part of the receiver. Soliciting feedback is only beneficial if you are willing to 1) hear feedback with the intention to learn from it, and 2) refrain from using the giver’s honesty against them by getting defensive or firing back with unsolicited feedback.

3.     It takes the sting out {a little}. We may not ever totally enjoy the experience of receiving feedback, but by initiating these conversations we are able to prepare for them before we initiate. Part of that mental prep involves re-framing feedback from:

an appraisal of our worth

TO

invaluable insights that have the potential to catapult our growth

When our self-worth isn’t on the line, we are far better able to stay open to, receptive of and even grateful for difficult feedback. Subsequently, we are able to use that feedback as the fuel for driving positive change.

If you are someone who fears feedback, I challenge you to give this strategy a try and let me know how it goes! And, in an effort to practice what I preach, I warmly welcome your feedback on this post!

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Top 10 Ways to Boost Resilience!
Wanna know how to bounce back more quickly?

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