My last article explored the evolution that I’ve navigated since I started writing here more than a decade ago. A lot has changed in that time. Writing here, I’ve found my voice, clarified my focus and continued to attract more of you to come check out what I do (and most of you have continued to hang around, often for years). I promised to share my perspective on who I think my typical reader is. I also promised to share what I heard from you in the survey I asked you to complete. The two perspective combine to tell an interesting tale.
Constructive criticism very often isn’t constructive. We also tend not to receive it well, even when it’s well-meaning—and sometimes even when we ask for it. Part of the problem is with our use of the word “should.” It is a word of judgement, criticism and deflection We probably shouldn’t use it quite as frequently as we do.
Feedback is an essential part of the work cycle. It’s also something that all of us struggle to receive constructively. Once we’ve put our heart and soul into our work, we are often highly resistant to changing it. An alternative perspective is required.
Feedback and criticism are generally seen as negative. We don’t like it, we get defensive and we very often resist it. That deflection is often our brains looking for the easy way out. And it’s arguably keeping us from doing our best work.
Many of us struggle with the idea of negative feedback. We will go to great lengths to avoid it, and nonetheless will dwell endlessly on it when it insinuates itself in our orbit. We want people to like us, and we fear rejection. It’s going to happen anyway, and that’s okay.