“Whenever you feel uncomfortable, instead of retreating back into your old comfort zone, pat yourself on the back and say, ‘I must be growing,’ and continue moving forward.”- T. Harv Eker
I recently shared with my coach (yes, coaches need a coach, too!) that I learned something new and valuable through dealing with a challenging situation and negative feedback. My coach said, “Good, that challenge was a gift to you.” Although every fiber of my being wants to disagree, she was absolutely right. I don’t enjoy managing challenging situations or receiving negative feedback. To be honest, I dread receiving anything but positive feedback as I tend to correlate those to criticism. Underneath the discomfort is the fear of not being good enough.
I want to reframe my thinking around these types of situations, so I asked myself these three questions:
- Is feedback a bad thing?
- What am I missing if I shy away from things I don’t wish to hear? I know getting feedback is not a bad thing. Avoiding it means I might be missing critical information that could help me thrive.
- So then, how do I deal with the discomfort associated with feedback?
Believing that there is a reward on the other side of discomfort is the answer! We can’t control how other people give feedback, but we can decide how we take it. Attacks with hurtful words are crap that we shouldn’t waste our time on. Well-intended messages from people we trust deserve to be heard. We can use what we learn from others to our advantage.
Here is my process for handling feedback:
- Be an observer and notice if what you hear feels triggering. If yes, check in with yourself. Is what am I feeling an old wound? There is no need to suppress your feelings or justify them. Just let the emotions flow and observe.
- Set your emotions aside and reflect on the feedback. Ask yourself, “What is something new here that I haven’t thought of before, and what is an existing pattern that people want me to pay attention to?” Evaluate what is helpful and what you can gain from the lesson.
- Embrace who you are and how far you’ve come. Give yourself credit for trying and cultivating personal growth. Have compassion for yourself.
- Apply what you learned from the feedback and move on.
Not everyone knows how to give or receive feedback. Both require practice and the willingness to learn. Instead of steering away from hearing someone point out your blind spots, focus on the value of personal growth. The target outcome is to expand yourself and be the best version of yourself, a reward that’s on the other side of discomfort.