A few nights ago I received an email from a senior consultant who has been guiding me through a consulting contract I’m working. The words I read as I opened the email stung – and began to make me a little bit angry. All I saw was the criticism she had for my last communication – some formatting errors and one missing element. It seemed like she was just being nitpicky, and I resented her feedback.
It took me several hours to “talk myself down” and remind myself that she is trying to help me excel, not fail. I had to remind myself that I’m still new at this, and I won’t do everything right the first time around, and that’s okay. Just like every time that I face discouragement, I need to remember to surround myself with the truth.
The truth is, I had a decision to make…
Get better or get bitter.
Criticism is tricky. You shouldn’t accept all of it, but you certainly can’t reject it all, either. So how do you navigate the criticism in your life?
Know who is giving it.
Do you know the person criticizing you? More than just on social media? If you don’t know them and they don’t know you, they haven’t earned the right to speak into your life. Don’t give people more weight than they deserve.
Is it accurate?
Does the criticism take into account all of the details and circumstances? If it from an inaccurate viewpoint, treat it lightly. But if the facts are straight and the criticism is accurate, learn to accept it.
Is the intent to harm you or to help you?
You can usually tell by the wording, tone, and delivery if a criticism is being given in an attempt to destroy you or an attempt to make you better. Allow people to help you become better.
When you face criticism that is given by someone you trust, is based on truth, and intends to help you, don’t just accept it, seek it out.
Learn from it.
Don’t let criticism define you – recreate the definition of who you are.
Update 7/16/18 – I have since had the opportunity to spend some time with the senior consultant listed at the beginning of this blog post, and I want to tell you that we had the best time together. Had I not chosen to learn from her criticism, I would have gotten stuck and many of the opportunities that have been put before me in the past year would not have happened. Her criticism helped me get better, and I am forever grateful for it! – HK