You’ve been receiving feedback your whole life, right?
As a kid growing up in your parents’ house…
→ “your room’s a mess,” “don’t climb on that!”
As a student going through years of schooling…
→ “raise your hand,” “pay attention.”
At your first, second, third job…
→ “do it this way,” “be more concise,” “be more assertive,” “I’m not following you…”
While some feedback has encouraged you and helped you grow, has other feedback left you feeling confused, inadequate, or just plain sh*tty?
And when it comes to your communication skills, do you feel like some feedback you’ve received contradicts other feedback you’ve received?
Here are some things our clients have been told “to work on:”
- “You use your hands too much when you speak.”
- “You seem nervous…”
- “Did I say something to offend you? You seem annoyed.”
- “You need to be more aggressive, don’t let them interrupt you.”
- “Try not to smile too much, it makes you seem like a pushover.”
- “You seem too rigid. Relax, open up, make them feel like you’re on their team.”
- “I need you to have more of a presence in the room.”
Are YOU holding onto feedback that’s making you feel more unsure about how you come across to others?
Or what you can practically do to give others the right impression of you?
If so, you’re SO not alone.
Holding onto unclear or old, expired feedback is only doing one of two things for you, (if not both!):
- Stinking up your self-esteem.
- Cluttering your brain with fuzzy advice.
In the exercise below, you’ll learn a 4-step trick to determine which feedback you can toss, which parts to keep, and how to actively apply what’s useful. It’s inspired by some of Douglas Stone’s advice in his brilliant book, Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well.
→ Feel free to complete it by-hand or digitally. Just make sure to get your thoughts out of your head and onto the page so you can see things more clearly and implement what’s useful.
And, after you’ve read and completed this feedback-freeing exercise, ask yourself:
- What’s one piece of expired feedback you’ve been holding onto that’s no longer serving you?
- How can you implement what’s constructive about it, so you can toss out what’s not?
At the end of the day, only YOU can develop the wisdom to discern which feedback is helpful and on-point and which feedback is hurtful and off-base.
This feedback fridge exercise will help!
Please just promise me one thing.
No matter what feedback comes your way, NOTHING and NO ONE gets to tell you who to be or how to fit into their idea of who they think you should be.
Only You with a capital Y (that big, wise spirit within you) gets to decide who you are and which version of you, you’re striving to be.
As Douglas Stone so eloquently said:
“It doesn’t matter how much authority or power a feedback giver has; the receivers are in control of what they do and don’t let in, how they make sense of what they’re hearing, and whether they choose to change.”
So let in what’s useful, apply what makes sense, change according to what the best version of you would do, and leave the rest.
All my love,
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