You might recognize the situation: you’re giving some input in a training or a meeting. You can see a mixed response. Some heads nodding, but others frowning, looking as if they want to burn down your ideas. I know I’m sensitive to negative feedback. To avoid the pain I tend to externalize blame. It must be someone else’s fault. This natural reaction is usually not the best ground for learning and development.
So whenever I get negative feedback I’ve started to ask myself three questions:
- Where is the source of my identity?
If my identity comes from what I do or say, I’m in trouble. I remind myself that first and foremost I’m a child of God. Because of His amazing and borderless grace, I’m loved unconditionally. God is the source of life and wants the best for me.
- What is God saying to me in this situation?
I take captive my own thoughts and re-align myself with my sense of calling. I seek to hear God’s perspective on the situation and then seek to respond. I do this whenever I’m preparing inputs for a training or a meeting. I remind myself: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
- Am I willing to see those who criticize me as my coach?
God works through community. We are not meant to be lone or lonely rangers. A trusting team provides a solid base, helping me to distinguish the constructive feedback from the destructive.