As the saying goes, “opinions are like belly buttons, everybody’s got one.” It is so true, every person is going to feel “some-kinda-way” about you, your work, and your decisions. Many times they will even verbalize it. The question is, how do you process that feedback?
Just the thought of receiving criticism will keep some people from stepping out in the first place. They go with the belief, ‘If I don’t put anything out there, nobody will say anything bad about me.” In all honesty, whether you do something or do nothing, SOMEBODY is going to say something about you! (Keep in mind, sometimes that “somebody” is you with your negative self talk!) So I challenge you to learn how to process the feedback so it won’t hold you back from growing, expanding, and experiencing all of the blessings God has for you!
Here are four steps to help you process feedback in a healthy way:
1. Remove the Emotions
The first step to receiving and growing from feedback is to remove the emotions. If someone is giving you input for your writing, your outfit, your behaviors – realize they are not commenting on YOU…they are commenting on your writing, outfit, or behaviors. It might be something that is very dear to you, or something you have put a lot of effort into, but it isn’t you personally. Once you realize that YOU are ok, then as people give feedback on the various aspects of your life, you can process it more objectively and use it to become better at whatever you are working towards.
2. Know Your Objective
When you are working on a project, have a very clear understanding of your objective. For example, if you are cooking a meal, is your objective to offer a healthy meal? A vegetarian cuisine? An ethnic delight? Comfort food?
Knowing your audience and understanding your desired outcome is very important.. If you are creating a “meat-lovers” dish, realize that this recipe isn’t going to appeal to your vegetarian friends – and that is OK. It is ok because your objective is to cater to the meat lover!
3. Consider the Source
Realize that you can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time. So if someone is giving you feedback, either positive or negative, assess their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. There are times where you will want the feedback from an expert in that field; while other times, you will seek feedback from someone that knows nothing about that field to verify that what you are doing clearly conveys the message.
For example, if are writing a book explaining a complex subject to novices, it might be good to ask an expert in the field to give feedback to make sure the information is accurate. Then ask someone who knows little about the topic to read the book to see if it makes sense. The type of feedback you will receive from these two different sources will be extremely valuable – and extremely different!
4. Pray about what to keep and what to release
The creative process includes reflecting on what you have created. During this reflection, take some time to think about what people have given in the way of feedback and ask God about it. Ask for insight on which suggestions to integrate and which ones to release. Sometimes there might be a suggestion that is valid, but the solution on how to fix it is totally different than what was suggested. Make these revisions and changes a joyful experience with The Creator!
The Bible tells us, Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice. (Proverbs 12:15 MSG) The key to processing feedback is knowing which advice you should accept and apply and which advice should be released. Being effective in successfully doing this starts with releasing the emotional connection to whatever it is. Then knowing your objective, understanding the source of the advice, and then seeking God for HIS guidance.