Getting feedback can be terrifying.
Even if you have confidence in what you do the last thing you want is for someone else to come along and tell you that actually what you’re doing isn’t as good as you think it is.
I think feedback is difficult to take in because we act as if it’s personal.
And if you’ve done something creative like a poem or a painting in some ways it is personal. But it’s also subjective so if someone thinks your painting could be improved by having a richer colour palette, doesnt mean someone else won’t love it just the way it is.
But the other kind of thing we get feedback on is the stuff that’s more rigid and regulated like what you might do at work. If you’re a construction worker, there isn’t really much room for perception. The feedback you would get isn’t personal, it’s a more a case of this is is how it’s done and here’s where you need to improve in order to do it the way it needs to done.
And of course there may be things that lie somewhere in between.
But either way the main thing to remember about feedback (when it’s from the right people) is that it’ll benefit you in the long run. And if you keep that in mind instead of focusing on the fact that there are people who don’t like what you create or that you didn’t do something perfectly, receiving feedback might get a little bit easier.
The viewer or the consumer does not have to care about what went on behind the scenes. They are there for the art not the person and I think that in some cases that’s the way it should be.
In other cases, like on social media, the consumer is often there for the person just as much as if not more than they’re there for the art (or whatever creative thing that the person does).
This is why people with highly dedicated fans/followers will be supported no matter what they do.
I think that because of social media there are now blurred lines between what is business and what is personal.
But it is important to know that just because you’re visible online and people may know what you do it doesn’t mean that they care. Some people are there for the work, not for you and that is perfectly alright.
So, if you offer a product or service and the customer is not satisfied they might voice how they feel. If it is not considered good enough the customer doesn’t necessarily care that you did your best and that you will be better next time. They care that they bought someone thing they are not happy with.
And so your job is not to find customers that care about you personally but to instead to show up, create great work and deliver.
There will always be things that you need to do but don’t necessarily enjoy.
Often it’s these kinds of things that are good in the long run but in the moment, in the short run you’d rather not bother.
If it’s in a work environment you’ll most likely get it done because you have have to. However, when it comes to your own personal work or projects you might not have a monthly wage to motivate you to get things done.
And so you have to remind yourself of the benefits it will bring in the future.
But also remind yourself that if you don’t do it you’re more than likely to regret it later on when you’re unable to reap the rewards.
When it comes to opening up, do you know what you need in order to feel safe?
A starting point is to ask yourself ‘Will what I am about to say be handled with care?’
I’ve learnt that people often hold their challenges dear. Even if it’s not deeply affecting them now they still require a level of care when it’s being discussed.
For example, you probably want more than just ‘oh wow, glad you’re okay’ when opening up about a past period of depression.
Another question to ask is ‘What do I want from this situation?’
Many times when we open up to people, we want something particular from them in return. But often we don’t realise until it’s too late.
A common example is discussing an issue you’re having and getting annoyed when the other person tries to offer advice or tell you what to do. Turns out you just wanted someone to listen.
And so overall, creating a safe space is a combination of knowing what makes you feel safe, voicing what you need and (as always) picking the right people.
In the age of social media it’s easy to overshare. You can go from sharing behind the scenes of your business, hobby or creative work to showing people what you ate for breakfast, how you ruined your manicure and asking for suggestions for your new hair colour.
For some people, it works, they like sharing themselves with people in that way. But for others it would be considered too much.
It’s can be challenging to judge whether you need to push yourself to share more online or if sharing more is the wrong thing for you.
If you find yourself caught up in uncertainty over what to share online, consider why you want to share those details.
Does it add to the work you create, does it add value, is it something you’re comfortable doing or is it just more ‘stuff’ to scroll through?
A question I’m learning to ask myself without judgement?
It’s easy to judge yourself and in doing so you’re not likely to answer the question in a way that is helpful.
You’ll be likely to find yourself caught up in a woe is me story-line. Your answer will be something like: ‘Well, I’m trying and it’s just not working out the way I want and I wish it could be better but maybe I’m just not good enough…’.
That sort of mentality isn’t helpful and it won’t result in growth, development or progress.
When it comes to improving on something you can’t attach emotions to your critique because it isn’t personal.
When asking the question Can I do better? it isn’t even really about a yes or no answer because one could argue that you can always do better. Instead it’s about whether you are happy to put out the thing you’ve created or the work that you’ve done.
Turns out that the 9-5 isn’t as necessary as it once was.
With everything going on in the world meetings are becoming emails or being done by video, travel has come to a halt and working from home may become the non-optional office alternative.
Despite the unfortunate situation that has caused things to change, I can’t help but notice that there is something to learn.
As someone that works in an office less than 50% of what I do requires me to be in the building or to interact with my co-workers.
But I can imagine a time when people used typewriters or even computers that you couldn’t physically take home. Back then, being in your office was necessary to undertake your work.
These days all you need is a laptop and you can use that anywhere.
I’m not championing no longer having an office at all. However, I do think it is worth exploring how often you actually need to be in the company office and the purpose that it serves.
For many it’s the social aspect of going to the kitchen for tea and a catch up with a work pal, it’s meeting people when you’re new to the city, it’s having a space to work for those with limited room at home or those wanting to maintain separation between work and life.
Having an office to go to isn’t necessary for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week but it does come with benefits.
It introduces us to new people, gives us a routine and gives us the opportunity to be part of a culture.
For the last few months of 2019 I’ve been creating a manifesto for each month that I read every morning.
It’s sort of like a list of affirmations around a specific theme like opening up more, speaking my truth or letting go. I don’t remember what sparked this idea but it’s something that I’d recommend.
In some ways it’s also like a love letter to myself full of encouragement and self-belief.
The purpose is to give yourself control over how you begin your day and re-affirm the intentions you have for not only the day but your life overall.
When I write my manifesto I ensure that I’m open and in-flow, I think about what I want to focus on for the coming month, what I need to work on or be reminded of and then I just write.
Each manifesto so far has started with the same 2 sentences that sort of set the scene and open up my mind to fully receive the words that follow.
It isn’t any form of magic but I’ve found that when I start my mornings declaring that ‘I am letting go of what no longer serves me and embracing joy’ it becomes embedded into my subconscious. All of a sudden I’m having moments where I’m questioning why I allow certain things in my life and if they are serving me.
I’m an advocate for having practices that help and this is just one of many things that works for me.
The basis of this particular practice is to begin each day by reminding yourself that change is possible.
This isn’t about a movement for equality, it’s something personal.
Liberation is a beautiful thing.
I recently realised that I’m experiencing a period of liberation in my life and it feels amazing.
The best part is I liberated myself. It wasn’t from any single action but instead a collection of things like daily gratitude, monthly morning manifestos, having open conversations about how I feel and allowing myself to be vulnerable.
The liberation has only just begun but so far it has shown up as me just being myself. In the past, I’ve had a lot of situations where the worry and fear overpowered my ability to do the things I wanted to do and so I would hold back.
The art of being yourself should be like free flowing water, it doesn’t require worry, going back and forth until you’re mentally exhausted and leaving situations wishing that you’d allowed yourself to be seen.
I feel as though I am entering a new stage in my life which is quite fitting as 2019 is coming to a close and the new decade is on the horizon.
I’m sharing this major growth point in my life with you because it is exactly what this blog is about. You have the opportunity to overcome the challenges you face and explore the joy of life.
You can’t always have both.
So it turns out that the thing that brings you the most comfort might also be incredibly unhelpful to your personal development. It could even be the main thing holding you back from living your dream life, a life of bliss.
But you get so caught up in the comfort of this habit that has grown on you and with you that you can’t even see how it is hindering your progress.
On the flip-side of this is helpful habits and actions. If you’ve never done them before they probably feel a little uncomfortable but that is to be expected. Despite, how these things may feel they’re actually good for you and following though with them will lead you to your dream life, a life of bliss.
And so it’s a choice between short term discomfort for long-term joy or long-term comfort for long-term dissatisfaction.
The choice is yours.