You know when someone tells you something that’s hard to hear? Maybe it’s a character flaw or “improvement area”. This has happened to me a few times recently.
My initial reaction was to dismiss it.
Without giving hard thought to what was being said, I automatically assumed it wasn’t correct. I wouldn’t say it aloud, but my first thought was I didn’t need improvement, no matter the suggestion, a ridiculous notion.
When was the last time you gave someone honest, unfiltered, feedback? I never do it. It’s extremely awkward to tell someone something they don’t want to hear. It’s even harder to receive it.
I’m not confrontational. I don’t often seek the last word. If I hear something I feel is unfair or unwarranted I rarely push back verbally. I stay quiet, while getting the final word in my head.
But as I pondered how the honest feedback stuck with me, how it hurt my pride, I realized a few things.
1. We all like the idea of improving. Personally, professionally, financially, whatever it is. We would like to think we are trending up over time.
2. We rarely give ourselves honest feedback, pushing ourselves forward. It’s much easier, and more natural, to compare ourselves to others a notch below us, and stay set on cruise control.
3. We don’t want to hear what we need to hear. As the recipient of very honest feedback, I knew it was correct, but it still took me back a bit. I’m not used to true self-reflection steered by the pointed words of someone else. I don’t think any of us are.
The point of this isn’t to start giving every person you run into honest, unfiltered feedback. I don’t think at least.
I know I need to be open to the suggestions of others without an initial negative reaction. If the true goal is getting better, at whatever it is, honest feedback must be welcomed.