Once you begin to take action on a project or a goal, you’ll want to know how to receive feedback and use it to grow or improve.
You’ll get data, advice, help, suggestions, direction – and even criticism – that will help you constantly adjust and move forward, while continually enhancing your knowledge, abilities, attitudes and relationships.
But knowing how to receive feedback is really only the first part of the equation. Once you receive feedback you have to be willing to embrace it and respond to it.
That’s why today, I want to teach you how to receive feedback and use it to grow to your full potential.
Two Types of Feedback
There are two kinds of feedback you might receive, negative or positive. We tend to prefer the positive: results, money, praise, promotion, raise, awards, happiness, inner peace, etc. It feels better. It tells us we are on course and doing the right thing.
How Most People Handle the Negative
We tend not to like negative feedback: lack of results, little or no money, criticism, poor evaluations, complaints, unhappiness, inner conflict, pain, etc.
However, there is as much useful data in negative feedback as there is in positive feedback. It tells us that we are off course, headed in the wrong direction, and doing the wrong thing. This is priceless information!
Responses to Negative Criticism
There are three common – and unproductive – responses to negative criticism.
Caving In and Quitting
How many times have you or someone you know hit an obstacle and given up the goal because it was too hard or “not meant to be”? This is a poor way to respond to criticism because all it does it keep you stuck in the same place.
Getting Angry at the Source
How many times have you responded with anger, hostility, or resentment when you have received negative feedback? This serves only to push away the messenger and the feedback, when the message you’re receiving may be exactly what you need to hear to move closer to your goal.
Ignoring the Feedback
We all know people who tune out everyone’s point of view but their own. The sad thing is that the feedback they are blocking could significantly change their lives, if only they would listen.
If you fall into any of these traps, try to remember that receiving feedback is not the same as receiving criticism. It is simply information – corrective guidance that’s meant to help to get you back on course to achieve your goal. I like to refer to negative feedback as information for “improvement opportunities.”
Experiment Until You Achieve Desired Results
Not every action will produce the desired result. Not every action will work. Making mistakes, getting it almost right, and experimenting to see what happens are all part of the process of eventually getting it right.
Thomas Edison is reported to have tried over 2,000 different experiments that failed before he finally got the light bulb to work. He once told a reporter that, from his perspective, he had never failed at all. Inventing the light bulb was just a 2,000-step process.
If you can adopt that attitude, then you can be free to take an action, notice what result you get, and then adjust your next actions based on the feedback you have received.
The Most Valuable Question You May Ever Learn
In the 1980s, a multimillionaire businessman taught me a question that radically changed the quality of my life. So what is this magical question that can improve the quality of every relationship you are in, every product you produce, every service you deliver, every meeting you conduct, every class you teach and every transaction you enter?
Here it is:
“On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the quality of our relationship during the last week?”
There are a countless of variations on this question that have served me well over the years, and any answer less than a 10 always gets this follow-up question:
“What would make it a 10?”
This is where the really valuable information comes from. Knowing that a person is dissatisfied is not enough. Knowing in detail what will satisfy them gives you the information you need to do whatever it takes to create a winning product, service or relationship.
Ask Yourself for Feedback
In addition to knowing how to receive feedback from others, you must know how to ask yourself for feedback, too. Your body is very adept at telling you whether you are on course. When you are relaxed and happy, your body is telling you that you are on track. When you are constantly exhausted, tense, in pain, unhappy and angry, then you are off track.
Take time to listen to what your body is saying to you. Take time to listen to your physical sensations and your feelings. They are sending you important messages.
Remember, feedback is simply information. You don’t have to take it personally; just welcome it and use it.
Learn more about receiving feedback and using it to grow by ordering my new book, “The Success Principles Workbook”.