There is no failure, only feedback. (Yes really!)
Exercise –Re-thinking constructive criticism
- Think back on the last few times you received criticism that felt more negative than constructive.
- Write down as much as you can remember about the experience Start with the negatives – briefly jot down what made you upset and get it off your chest.
- Try to separate the criticism itself from the way that it was delivered.
- Imagine that you had met the person’s expectations (the criticism). Would that have improved the situation? Perhaps if you had chosen your words more carefully, been tidier, arrived to the meeting on time (etc.). Try to consider whether there is some benefit to re-thinking the way you are doing things.
- Is it worth taking the feedback more seriously? If so, pause to celebrate the benefits of this discovery and congratulate yourself for accepting it. How can you take this feedback on board and improve yourself? Think of specific ways that this change can help you in the future.
- Now separately think about how the other person approached you with their feedback. Were they truly inappropriate or offensive or did your emotions play a part in how you interpreted their actions?
- Consider speaking with them about ways they can provide criticism in a more productive way, and try to actively step away from your emotions and look for the positive possibilities when someone offers their thoughts.
If negative feedback causes you to experience feelings of inadequacy and a sense of failure, slow down and take a step back. You cannot change the past but if you take constructive criticism to heart, then you may learn valuable lessons for the future.
Integrating the exercise
If what you’re facing is not people’s feedback but an incredible challenging situation, you may struggle think that’s a failure. Make up your own mind! These questions are especially useful when you’re feeling something has gone badly wrong.
- On a scale of 1-10 (10 being a meteor about to hit earth!) how bad is the situation?
- How important will it be in 6 months time? In 12 months time? In 6 years time?
- Are you making the most appropriate response?
- What can you do to improve the situation?
- What lessons can you take from this?
- What will you do differently next time?
By now you may have been more reasonable with yourself and the situation, so you may see some light at the end of the tunnel! If things are still catastrophic it’s time to accept the situation. The quicker you stop getting upset, the quicker you can learn from events and move on. And remember, you can learn from it!
Continue "Strong and steady"
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