Embrace Criticism & Feedback
- Receiving and giving feedback, especially in the context of work, can be uncomfortable. It’s precisely this discomfort as to why we should lean into it. Embrace it. It’s hard for folks to hear or consider the criticism on their work. But imagine if you actively sought out this type of difficult-to-hear feedback. How much better would you be?
- There are things that are fragile and break when facing a sudden shock. There are things that are not fragile like a pillow. And then there are things that are anti-fragile, a term dubbed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Anti-Fragile. Things that are anti-fragile improve and become more resilient in the face of surprises. In this case, consider the feedback your external shock that you can process to improve from.
- Another way to embrace feedback is to consider the things that are under your direct control vs the the things that are not. You can control how much effort your put into something, how you interpret an event in the world (ie. your thoughts), and what you choose to spend time on. You can’t control whether a prospective customer agrees to your pitch or if a colleague agrees with your idea. If you receive criticism of something you didn’t have direct control over, there isn’t much you can do to change the outcome there, and therefore through this frame, you don’t take it as harshly.
- This week I gave an external talk on my Words Over Code content. I usually never watch my talks because it feels so cringe-worthy. But that’s me shying away from any criticism. I need to lean in, embrace the discomfort, and watch my own talk to learn how I can improve as a presenter.
- Do the uncomfortable thing and solicit, embrace, and lean-in to the feedback. Your short-term discomfort will result in long-term growth and performance gains that will help you excel.