45. When you Get Tough Feedback

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How many of you have had the experience where you have just finished a performance of some kind, and you run up to someone who watched it and asked, “What did you think?” and then they proceeded to make a negative comment? “Uhhh it was fine. Wasn’t your best performance but it was pretty good.”

Tough feedback is hard. We’ve all had it. Even those people who you think are so good and so skilled, have had hard feedback. So what do we do with that?

I want to speak to this and give you some guidance.

1. Just have your emotional response. Getting hard feedback does not feel good. You are a human and it can hurt to hear something like that. Some people have learned to let it roll off their back, and in the work I do with private clients I teach them how to get there, but don’t expect that you are going to hear something tough and not feel something. Only sociopaths don’t feel emotion. 

2. Consider the source. Is this person an expert? Did we hire them to help make us better or is this just a random person making a comment? Is this friends and family? Is this someone close to you who thinks they have the right to be critical? Is this someone who is always critical? Does this person care about your well being, like really care about you? Because hopefully an expert or coach that we have enlisted to help us can deliver feedback with a healthy dose of what you are doing well and not only what we need to adjust. Hopefully they can also deliver bad news with grace, but not always. So keep in mind if you have asked them to deliver this to you…which leads to point 3.

3. What is their intention? When you have hired an expert, or they are your coach..you have hired them to help you improve. So they are definitely going to bring up what needs work. Be prepared for that. You have a choice if you are going to take it personally or not, so I recommend you don’t. It’s just data. It’s a puzzle we are putting together and they are helping us with the pieces. Don’t make it about you and get stuck in drama.

If this is not someone you have hired, let’s say it’s friends or family or even another dancer. What is their intention? When you asked for feedback, maybe they were thinking you wanted to know how to make it better. Maybe they didn’t realize you just wanted to know if they enjoyed it or not. Were they trying to help? Were they trying to be an insider? Were they trying to be an expert for you?

Are they a Candle-blower Outer? Some people see you happy, energized, successful, or doing something they aren’t willing to do…or are jealous of you and they just kind of want to blow out your candle.  Sometimes these people offer feedback even without you asking.

Listen in to the episode to hear what recommendations I have about what to do next.

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