Take it Like a Leader; The Gift of Feedback

If you are anything like me, getting feedback is not your favorite.  Oh sure, I can hear all day how great I am at something, but when it comes to hearing what I may not be so great at, or where I need to improve, my defensives will come up every time.  Perhaps it comes from my desire to be perfect at everything.  Society has conditioned those of us who grew up around sports or athletics (for me it was dance) to be the best.  Better than anyone else.  And I can see how I have carried this into other areas in my adult life.  Therefore, if I hear some feedback around something I don’t do great, I immediately equate it to not being the best.  And then the voice of the ego is right there to say “see, you really aren’t as great as you think you are”, since the ego loves to have us give up on things and feel deflated and frustrated.

This way of reacting has often gotten in my way of learning and growing in life.  Have you ever noticed that in yourself?

So several years ago, as I started on this journey of personal development, I decided to take the feedback that I receive as a gift. As much as I could probably go my whole life without hearing the constructive criticism, I realized that this was probably not possible since I really wanted to create some great stuff in my life.  And every time I am willing to fully hear the feedback, I have grown.  Even in that moment when I hear the feedback and I think it’s going to be the end of my career, sure enough, in a few days or weeks, I see how it has actually propelled me forward in ways I would have never been propelled had I not heard the feedback.

Now this certainly doesn’t mean that you need to take all negative feedback to heart.  Sometimes someone’s feedback has nothing to do with you.  But if you hear feedback and you have a reaction to it of some kind, you resist it, become defensive, justify, or feel hurt, chances are it probably belongs to you and it’s something to look at. 

The decision to take all feedback as a gift can open up tremendous growth for you in your life.  And if you want to really step this up a notch and get good at receiving feedback, go out and ask for it.  Ask the people in your life what they see in you.  Ask them for what they see that you do great, as well as ways they could see you improve.  Ask your children “what kind of parent am I?”.  Ask your employees “what kind of boss am I?”. Ask your spouse and your closest friends.  You will be amazed at what you hear.  And the response you always give after asking for people’s feedback is “Thank you”.  No responding, explaining, or questioning…simply “Thank You”. 

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