Feedback has many layers. It’s easy to associate this word with what other people think about our work, our ideas, our performance and so on. It causes a certain level of nervousness as observations are presented in a way that you might not be ready to face yet.
I recently came across this illustrative quote:
Feedback is not a judgment of your worth or talent, but a way to help you grow and achieve your goals.
One of my favourite authors once shared a comment someone posted on Twitter regarding his brand new book at the time. “This book is bad. I didn’t read it, but I just know it’s bad.” Yep. There’s always someone…
This example is a reminder that you always get to decide how feedback impacts you and whether you take it or not.
On the other hand, if you think about it, other layers of feedback can be found within you, and they can give you clues about yourself. It’s not always about someone else’s comments. It also involves the environment where you’re creating your best work. The times when you feel your best self or even your worst.
Feedback is also in the quality of the contents you consume everyday. It is in your recurring thoughts. It is in your own body.
Are you noticing what all those different internal aspects are telling you?
Let’s consider this scenario:
When a boss, a professor or a spouse approaches you and says “we need to talk”, it’s easy to assume it’s bad news. Regardless of the direction of the conversation, it’s worth noticing your own reaction. Are you trying to stay composed? Are you bracing yourself for the worst? Are you open to whatever lesson comes out of it?
I now invite you to reflect on the following layers of feedback where you can extract some great insights.
Layer of Feedback #1: The Situations that Have an Effect on You
Failure has affect on anyone who has a project on the go. The effect is not always positive. It causes stress.
At the same time, it is, for sure, an indication for change. It provides the exact information that you need to rethink your process and keep moving forward.
Let’s go back to the case that involves rude comments on social media. Some time ago, my therapist shared a method to face this kind of situation. Whenever you receive this kind of feedback, ask yourself: “Are those comments true?” If the answer is yes, then proceed with a second question: “How do they help me grow?”
If the answer is no, keep calm and carry on.
These questions work every time.
Layer of Feedback #2: Your Body
Any sensations of discomfort in your body are trying to get your attention. Some of them can be subtle at first. Others, not so much. They may come in patterns. Or they may be more sudden. Regardless of their intensity, action is necessary before the symptoms gain any more momentum.
Sometimes you need to get medical advice. Other times, you need to give yourself a break. There seems to be an endless need to stay productive and get work done in a short period of time. Remember, though, you’re only human. Your body will ask to slow down, and if you don’t pay attention, it will shout at you until you give in.
How is your body giving you feedback these days?
Layer of Feedback #3: Reaction to Your Environment
I remember a period of time when I felt sick at work. Monday through Friday at 3:00 pm. I always thought it had to do with whatever I ate that day, but eventually I noticed I recovered quickly when stepping out of the office.
It was a clear sign that I needed to move on from that job. I was no longer aligned with the work environment, the daily tasks, and the company’s general mission, vision, and values. I stopped feeling my best self there.
When there’s a major disconnect between you and the environment where you’re working, it’s time to ask yourself what’s next. Otherwise, once again, your body is going to let you know you can’t go on.
The many layers of feedback are present in all aspects of your life at internal and external level. The key component is observing your surroundings, your sensations, and your recurring thoughts. You’re always getting some kind of sign that you’re on the right track or that you need to change courses.
What do you think?