Don’t you hate it when someone asks you for your opinion and then gets irritated with you when you tell them the truth?
If you don’t want the truth, then don’t ask for my opinion.
But you know what? Most people have no idea how to handle constructive feedback. They take it as a personal attack on their character, they start shutting down, or wildly defending themselves. Are you one of those people?
You can tell immediately when someone can’t handle criticism, because the excuses start flying out: “This is just a rough draft;” “I’m not finished yet;” “I’m not an expert on this;” “I can’t be expected to know it all;” “I’m just starting out” etc.
Yeah, SO? You asked me for my opinion and I’m telling you that you can be better, your ideas can be sharpened, your product needs to be fine-tuned. Doesn’t that help you, not harm you?
This is where you see the difference between successful people and those doomed to a life of mediocrity. Because being open to constructive feedback is an uncomfortable place to be in, and if all you want is comfort, then all you’ll know or be is ordinary.
Hearing that your ideas aren’t that great is a humbling experience but more than that, it’s an opportunity for growth. As I’m in the final stages of my 1st book (with Rock’s Mills Press) I met with my editor David and he gave me a full-page of suggestions for revisions. THIS IS FANTASTIC. Revisions will ultimately make my book better. Then I’ll send the book out to a few colleagues for their valuable feedback and critiques.
All I want is to be better, to make my writing better, to present my lectures better, to engage with more people……SO WHY WOULD I PUSH AWAY CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK?
The next time someone gives you constructive feedback on your work do this:
- Meet with them in person to go over the feedback.
- Say THANK-YOU for the feedback.
- Listen. Don’t defend yourself. You’re not on trial for anything.
- Ask how you can improve (exact steps to take).
- Thank them again, and get another appointment booked for more feedback once you’ve worked on the existing suggestions.
- Go home and work on the suggestions without allowing yourself to wallow in self-pity for not getting something perfect the 1st time around.
- Then repeat this step with everyone whose ever so gracious to give you feedback.