Taking It In

Receiving feedback.  When you read that, where does that land in your body?  Do you find yourself clenching or tightening?  Sweating?  Resisting? The first time I received feedback on my writing, years ago, I was a nervous wreck.  It took all I had to hit the Send button so my writing class could read it and respond.  They had a week to review the piece and send me their thoughts.  Even though the writing teacher had guided us on what feedback to give and how to give it, I bit my nails anxiously for the next week every time I turned on my computer to see if anyone had responded.

Those first responses to my writing ended up being so powerful and supportive.  Instead of reading, “You suck.  Why are you pretending to be a writer?” as I had feared, I read, “This part confused me and I’m curious if you meant…..”  or  “Can you flush this part out?  Give me more!”  It was exhilarating and exciting and I was inspired to write more.

I gave my TEDx talk six different times before the event with a twofold purpose: to practice in front of a group and to get feedback from my ‘audience’ about how the talk felt to them.  My experiences receiving feedback about my writing prepared me on an intellectual level, but emotionally I felt extremely vulnerable.  I felt like I was naked as I stood in front of people telling such a personal story and then asking them to pick it apart. People didn’t comment just on my words, as they do with my writing, but on my body language.  That felt personal!

Just as I was pleasantly surprised with the writing feedback, so too did the comments people gave me about my TEDx talk buoy me.  Every time I gave my talk I felt support from my audience; I knew they wanted me to succeed.

What were my takeaways?

First, I understand that asking for help is actually a very courageous act, not a helpless one.

And second, In this world that feels so competitive, we actually want each other to succeed.

An Invitation . . .

How do you take in feedback?  How do you ask for it?  I invite you to be courageous and seek out feedback this week about something that's nagging at you.   Allow others to support you.