We all have many opportunities to receive and give feedback. As children, students, friends, employees, and team members, we are given formal and informal input on our behaviors, our looks, and our performance, among others. As parents, teachers, bosses, and leaders, we are given the responsibility of providing that feedback.

Feedback can be focused on helping us to grow, improve, and do our best, or it can be focused on what we did wrong. Insights can be presented in a positive and supportive way, with a more negative focus, or sandwiched together as a package.

How we receive that feedback, and what we do with it, is really the key. With the exception of certain standardized assessments or exams, feedback is provided through the perception of the person giving it.

In the NLP world, there is a presupposition that states “there is no failure, only feedback”. When you receive feedback, it provides you with information. It is not an indication that you or your actions were a point of failure.

Think about how you would receive feedback in some of these situations:

  • An academic advisor tells you won’t make it into the schools on your application list
  • Someone tells you that you didn’t use the correct sentence structure when you spoke to them
  • You get a large number of likes on an article you post
  • A parent tells you that you are stupid and lazy and won’t amount to anything
  • Your boss says they found you difficult to manage because you are an introvert
  • After you flunk a test, a parent says they know you will do better the next time
  • A negative review or comment is posted in response to a news article or blog you wrote
  • You did something thoughtful but the receiver did not appreciate it
  • A mentee acknowledges how you helped them

Would you take it personally and get angry and frustrated? Do you recognize that there is a grain of truth in what was said at the same knowing that it is one person’s perspective? Can you allow yourself to become curious about the information the feedback provides and what you can do with it? For the positive feedback, can you own it and feel good about it or do you push it away?

In addition to external feedback, we also assess and judge our own behaviors and performance.

  • When was a time you were triggered by something and you didn’t like your behavior?
  • What about a time you ate something and your body didn’t like it?
  • What are your feelings when you look in the mirror?

Feedback can generate different kinds of feelings and responses. Consider sharing what comes up for you as you ponder the above questions on my website at https://systemsofchange.com/posts/

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