Whether it is standing in front of the mirror rehearsing a speech, your annual performance review or comments about a great meal you prepared we all want positive feedback and praise. But what about the feedback we don’t want to hear, but often need to hear?

The bottom line is no one is perfect. Bu we could all use a little trimming around the edges. With that said, often we overlook our own flaws or choose not to see them. That is where feedback comes in. The key here is to remember there is no such thing as negative feedback. What you will often hear will be the negative. What you need to learn to do is filter through that negativity to the advice or help that is being offered.

In order to improve yourself it is vital that we see the full 360 degrees. And as 3D as most mirrors are, the truth of the matter is what we see looking back at us is bias. Let go of that fear, train your ears, your mind and your heart to hear the helpful advice and tips that come from feedback. Whether it’s from a spouse, your children, a professor or your employer. Fearing feedback prompts you to minimize it, and minimizing it can be career limiting.

I want to challenge you to see feedback as the threshold to success. Face the fear and ask for it. Here are some positive ways to seek that feedback:
•What more can I do to support you in this project?
•What tips do you have for me to make that presentation even more powerful?
•How can I make these letters even more compelling?

If you notice, you are not asking for “constructive criticism” – that sounds negative. You are asking what more can be done to take your efforts to the next level. Positioning your question this way can make it easier for you to ask and easier for your boss or co-worker to help you become even stronger in your position.

Once you receive any feedback, it is important to listen without defense. There is a difference between hearing what one tells you and truly listening to the feedback. It is crucial you hear what is truly being said, evaluate it, learn from it and utilize the input to your advantage. It is a step on the ladder to success.

And most importantly, swallow your pride (and yes there may be times that you will need to do this) and thank them. Remember, this may not be easy for them either!

The bottom line is seeking feedback is not a sign of weakness, a sign of failure or anything negative. It is a true sign of confidence, education, optimism and a characteristic of a person who knows what he or she wants from life, takes the reigns to get it and utilizes all the tools necessary to do so. It takes strength to face your fears, confidence to overcome challenges and heart to learn from advice, mistakes and recognition.”

Marsha Egan, CPCU, PCC is CEO of The Egan Group, a Florida-based workplace productivity coaching firm. She is the author of Inbox Detox and the Habit of E-mail Excellence. She can be reached at MarshaEgan.com, where you can also read her blog. To listen ... (Read More)

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