Feedback isn’t just words

If you’re like most people you associate feedback with words. The things people say to you, or about you. But that is just one small part of it. Feedback is everywhere and is conveyed in multiple ways. Yes it’s in a conversation but it’s also in your reaction to the conversation. It’s how to react to watching someone speak to another, it’s how you react to the news. It could be reading something causes a response in you. You see feedback helps you understand you.

Feedback could be a silent look in your direction in a meeting or at a cafe. You might think ‘the look’ means the person is interested in chatting, or it might mean they want you to talk more quietly – it could even be that they are just scanning the room. Whatever you make that look mean – is feedback.

Let’s say you’re waiting for the train and discover it will be five minutes late. You’re annoyed; that’s feedback. You read an article about climate change and can feel your pulse rate rising. That’s also feedback.

Being conscious of how our brain works is so helpful. We get to decipher what is valuable to process and take on board from the people, content and world around us, and what is not. This will allow us to be open and not on edge. When we make peace with our flawsomeness, feedback will just become news: information that we can decide to learn from, or put to the side. To know that we don’t have to agree or disagree with information that comes towards us, and that we can choose whether or not to receive feedback, is the key.

Seth Godin, multiple bestselling author and ‘ultimate entrepreneur’, is always a great source of pearls of wisdom. He says: ‘One piece of feedback is not the source of truth’. He says we can skew our thinking based on the first piece of feedback we receive: ‘That’s the moment of maximum fragility, and so our radar is on high alert’. In other words, our stress radar is in action mode, so we might grip on to feedback – particularly feedback we receive early in a project or relationship – as if it’s the truth. But remember: feedback is just one perspective; it may be useful, or it may not. You get to decide.

Feedback is just information you receive, and how you respond to it. Both the receiving and responding are feedback: one is feedback that comes your way, and the other is feedback you give yourself.

Feedback is information we can choose to take on board and learn from, or discard. It will always have the power to make us bitter or make us better. Motivational speaker Jay Shetty says, ‘Bitterness broods and better grows’. I think he’s 100 per cent right. There is nothing to be gained from becoming frustrated at someone or the feedback they have given us; that eats us alive. Choosing to grow from the experience is a happier place and one that serves us. The cool news is that we hold that power; we just need to learn how to use the power well. It’s kinda like becoming a feedback Jedi.

If you like this then I’m pretty sure you’ll like my new book too. Pre-order yourself a copy of Flawsome here.