In order to avoid criticism, Writer Elbert Hubbard said we must “do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” Well, chances are, you are not going to do nothing, say nothing, or be nothing. You’re going to be something (like a runner, a surfer, a diver!). And on your journey to being the best you can be, you’re going to endure criticism.
Negative feedback is all around us and we experience it in a variety of ways from a variety of people. From a friend, a boss, a coach, a family member, a significant other, even from a stranger. Negative feedback is everywhere and it’s important that we don’t let it stop us from being who we are or doing the amazing things we do.
That said, dealing with criticism isn’t easy. Here are five steps to help you Be More Snikwah by keeping your cool when receiving negative feedback.
Step One: Take a Deep Breath. Press pause and give yourself a moment to breathe. When receiving negative feedback, it’s a natural first instinct to get defensive or to deny, justify, or shift blame. By not responding immediately, we give ourselves time to process our feelings and reevaluate what we were going to say, leaving less room for regret.
Step Two: Consider the Source. Not all criticism is constructive or comes from the right place. Most of the time, you can find out the reliability and value of the comments based on who’s giving them. For example, you’re going to take it much more seriously if your boss tells you that you’ve been slacking off lately more than your coworker. Focus your attention on constructive criticism that comes from people who you respect and trust.
Step Three: Take A Different Perspective. Once you’ve considered the who, take a step back and think about where. What might have triggered the person to feel this way? Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself what their concerns are, why they have them, and how you might have contributed. If you can understand the cause, then you can better understand how to avoid it in the future.
Step Four: Reply in Kind. Take responsibility for your actions. Reiterate the concerns you’re hearing so the person knows they’ve been heard. If you disagree with what they are saying, give supporting reasons why you don’t agree and create an open dialogue about it. Compromise and agree on conclusions of how to move forward and what steps you will take to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Most importantly, thank the person for sharing.
Step Five: Learn From It. Constructive criticism isn’t given to degrade or humiliate. People who care about us and want us to succeed give us feedback so that we can learn from our experience, adjust, and grow. Evaluate what this information means, why these things occurred, and what you can do to change it. Only then can you continue on your way to being your best self.