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For some of us, when we are receiving feedback, it can put us in a state of panic. If you tend to be an anxious person, such as I once was, it is very easy to go to a dark place that makes you feel bad. Over the years, I have learned to not only accept feedback, but welcome it.
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I am a consultant, but unless someone asks me for feedback on things, I don't offer that. When I attend a conference, I focus on the positives, not what they could do differently. When I am at a friend's house, I compliment my host, not offer decorating ideas, and when I am working with a coworker, I don't assume I know the best way to do things; I appreciate there are many ways to get things done properly, and my way isn't always the best way.
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I was just a little girl, but you had a barbed tongue. Oh, you always couched your cruelty in humour. As if comedy was a disinfectant that redeems meanness. Time and again, I asked Mommy, "Please, tell Daddy to stop teasing me. It hurts my feelings." But you wouldn't or couldn't stop.
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Wherever it comes from, whomever it comes from, we have to believe that the feedback is coming from a good place to help us be the best that we can be. Even in times of challenging, difficult-to-hear feedback, there are messages that need to be heard and understood.
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I was 14 and shocked by all the criticisms suddenly blind-siding me. They ranged from making me believe I was an (almost) slut to something as vague as, "Shake my hand and commit to 'trying harder.'" To this day I wonder how much harder I could try. I already had a 4.0 GPA.
It isn't easy being pushed by others. We tend to react negatively, instead of seeing the push as an opportunity.But if we see pushes for what they are -- challenges and opportunities -- we can use them to help achieve our goals.
I am not saying that we should not strive to be the very best people and professionals we can be. This is not a call to "lean out." By all means, let's strive to be amazing, but let's also aspire to be more gentle with ourselves and with others.
My wise self knows that I created my company to help people become their happiest and most authentic selves at work. I believe very firmly in being yourself, yet I questioned the value of my own authenticity at the slightest critique. The irony is not lost on me.
Everybody's a critique. Paul Cézanne, the Post-Impressionist painter, was mercilessly ridiculed by critics when he exhibited with the Impressionists. Claude Monet's paintings were called "formless, unfinished and ugly." Aside from the art of perseverance, what can the greatest artists of all time teach us? Here are my top 10 takeaways.
A few weeks ago, in the company of 5,000 other women, I heard Hillary Clinton offer advice I took to heart. She said, "Take criticism seriously, but not personally". For such a simple sentiment, it struck me as profound. In fact, it's not too much of a stretch to say that those six words knocked our collective socks off. The room grew rather still. I could tell that there were other recovering perfectionists, like myself, in the room for whom that struck home.
There's an old showbiz adage that goes, and usually said with a sigh, "Everyone's a critic." But in this case, I'm not talking about the layman, the doctor, the lawyer, the banker or the dentist who suddenly becomes an "expert" by the grace of the sheer volume of their argument; I'm actually talking about the qualified pro. Two of them, actually.
As a writer, I consider myself an artist at heart. As artists, we rely heavily on praise -- from friends, loved ones, business associates, fans and the critics on a good day. Praise boosts us by increasing our self-worth. We feel more confident and it shows. When the inner artist is criticized -- wham-o -- our self-worth takes a hit.