Long-term success is rarely achieved with ease and leisure. Some level of discomfort is necessary to attain a worthwhile goal. And yet humans have a natural tendency to avoid discomfort—sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously.
Hearing negative feedback about yourself or your organization is extremely uncomfortable, but the insights you can gain from it are priceless. Today we’re going to look at why exposing yourself to the critiques of others, no matter how difficult the message is to face, could be the key to future success.
The Value of Your Worst Critic. Most of us are taught from a young age that being criticized is an inherently negative thing. As a result, most people steer clear of it if they can. But the truth is that your most scathing reviews, no matter how they make you feel initially, may hold the particular insights you need to course correct.
Being shown areas that need improvement can be intimidating. But rather than letting it paralyze you, try to let it educate you. Outside criticism is simply someone else’s analysis of the situation at hand. Rather than going on the defensive, think of it as new, valuable information from an intel source you didn’t have access to before. If you can get past the natural instinct to recoil or take it personally, you might strike gold!
Gaining a Different Perspective. We can’t see what we don’t know. Moving through life relying solely on your own view of things may leave you unaware of certain aspects of yourself or your organization. By remaining open to other points of view, you can shed light on things that might’ve never even crossed your mind.
Owning Your Part. Once you know more, you then have a responsibility to do better. After receiving feedback, the next step is to identify and own up to your contribution. How have your actions or decisions impacted outcomes and how can you improve or revise moving forward?
Of course, there are often many factors at play, especially when it comes to critique of an entire organization. But to deny how other people perceive you or your organization is to sabotage from within. While you might have sunny ideas about the state of affairs, the opinions of others often reveal a more accurate picture of what’s going on.
A Roadmap for Impactful Change. If you’re open to outside perspectives and willing to take a deep dive into the critiques you’ve received, you can find the answer. Exposing yourself to uncomfortable feedback makes you better prepared to pave the way forward. Equipped with a variety of perspectives, the hard truths, and a more holistic viewpoint, you can be more strategic and discerning about what you invest time and resources into.
By cultivating an environment where feedback is highly valued, readily exchanged, and frequently utilized, you’re more likely to stay in alignment with your ideals and goals. Without your critics, you might not even know you’ve drifted off course. By being uncomfortably inclusive about where you gather insight, you can more accurately follow your North Star.