One of the things I learned at my small liberal arts college was how to receive feedback graciously, and how to make it work for me instead of against me. I’m grateful for all of those seminar-style classes, all of those writing workshops, where I had to read a rough draft out loud – a rough draft! a thing that’s not even a real thing yet! – and then listen as one by one the whole group shared their thoughts.
It is easy to get defensive and try to explain the choice you made. “Well, what I meant by that was…” It’s easy to shut someone down. “I don’t think you understand what I’m trying to say here.” It’s easy to dismiss opinions that don’t make sense to you.
It’s also easy to take feedback as god’s truth. “These people are smarter than me, they must be right.” It’s easy to doubt yourself. “Maybe I should go down this other path.” It’s easy to feel like a failure, like you aren’t good at what you’re doing. Like you’ll never get it right.
The truth lies somewhere in the middle.
I have a tried and true method for receiving and processing feedback that I promise to share with you next week. Feedback can be such a helpful tool if we can get over our discomfort and take it in.