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How Criticism and Feedback Can Help You (and Your Business) Grow

  • Growth comes from both criticism and praise.
  • It’s wise to learn to differentiate between relevant criticism and things that don’t make sense.
  • Learning to understand our response to criticism is essential for growth

Criticism and feedback can make some people want to run for the hills. And many people believe that growth and confidence come from receiving praise consistently. But there’s great wisdom to be found in the criticism and feedback that we receive in our careers as well.

Here’s how to grow as you hear not just praise, but criticism in your professional journey.

Find Out Who Knows What They Are Talking About

Good criticism comes from a place of experience and authenticity. You wouldn’t listen to just anyone teach you to play guitar; that person must be an expert guitar player.

You’ve got tons of options about who you will listen to in life. Some people know what they are talking about when it comes to certain areas of expertise, and others don’t.

You can tell what good criticism is by feeling out the intent. A critic should not be out to eat your soul. They should simply want to help you grow and share their (authentic!) knowledge.

Don’t Worry About Yourself So Much

f you can’t make heads or tails of the advice without removing your own issues and personality from it, it’s probably not great advice. Your own ego can get in the way of things, so make sure that you are looking at things fairly when you evaluate criticism.

Learn To Trust

You can rely on trusted sources to help you weed out feedback that doesn’t make sense or isn’t well-intended. Trusted sources will take your trust seriously and let you know it. A mentor is always a good idea, but they aren’t the only source of feedback.

Trusted sources of feedback can keep you from falling flat on your face. Sometimes, we just take on too much. Someone who can tell you now without causing a breakdown or discouraging you completely can save you from a total professional face-plant by helping you focus on things that are important.

Trust takes time to build in many cases. Ask around to find a good mentor if you’re in a new area or a new type of work. People who may seem less than charismatic up front sometimes prove to be wise and kind when you get to know them. You never know where you will find a great mentor or friend.

Find Out What Hurts

Things can linger in our conscious or subconscious. When criticism bites a little too hard, it’s important to dig into the deeper issues. We all have them, and sometimes well-meaning people notice them too. They might say something if they think it will help you.

For example, you may not really like the type of work you are doing. Maybe you have chosen a project in the right field that is too easy or too hard. Don’t be afraid to hash it out with a mentor or even a psychologist if things keep popping up and keeping you from growing with criticism.

Some people make very perceptive comments that hurt without realizing it. It’s a good practice to think carefully when you receive criticism that puts you in a hard position. There are times when people realize what they are saying, and there are times they don’t.

Often, the things hurt because they are true. This isn’t always the case. Some things hurt because they aren’t put tactfully or aren’t true. But often, the truth surprises us and shines light into the hidden corners of our thought or work process.

Listen Well

In the end, you will have to listen to some criticism. Throwing out mean-spirited or irrelevant remarks is important, but if you actively seek out mentorship and healthy work relationships, you will eventually find some workable critical remarks.

There is also the issue of general feedback to consider. Not everything is a direct criticism, but if you’re working, you’re generally collecting feedback. Developing great relationships means that people can speak their mind at least some of the time.

Choosing to be a great listener is one of the decisions you make when you want great relationships. Whether they are work relationships or just friendships, growing from feedback means taking it to heart when it’s worth it.

Whether that means that it came from someone very important to you or that it was just very well-put, you should always make an effort to keep moving forward.

Great careers are built carefully, and there is bound to be some criticism thrown in with the praise. It’s what you do with it that counts.


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