Advice from Successful Leaders

I recently read a listicle of 18 pieces of advice from well known female CEOs. Having just gotten hooked on Shark Tank, I curiously clicked through. I was keeping an eye out for some secret nod that might tell me I was destined for automatic greatness! But what I really saw was a pattern that formed as I made my way through the list.

So. Many. of these quotes spoke of the importance of receiving criticism well, believing it, and allowing it to change you. Of all the advice they could give, many focused on receiving criticism.

I felt such an internal struggle when reading this.

I know the value in receiving critique, learning and growing from our mistakes. BUT. I also grew up fearing being wrong so much so that any critique someone had for me caused me to spiral with shame. I wonder if you can identify with me, or empathize with me regarding that automatic self blame. Maybe you've also, like me, wondered how it can ever be possible to receive feedback humbly and healthily without instantly turning on yourself. Having recognized this in myself, I make a conscious effort to hold space for criticism (or feedback) and give it a proper place.

Today I want to share a few thoughts I have to hold space for criticism, while maintaining a healthy view of myself.

I allow it to hurt. Criticism hurts. Rather than trying to become someone immune to pain, I want to become someone who allows the pain to have its place. Pain in criticism can also take the form of embarrassment. But when we allow the pain to be there, it won’t be around forever.  

I give it time. With negative self-blaming habits, it can be an easy cop out and a way to avoid the pain to react instantly in self blame. When I've had a bit of space from the initial emotions, it is easier to analyze the feedback and take a realistic look at what I was told. 

I remember shame vs guilt. Shame says I am wrong, guilt says I did something wrong. Shame is damaging, guilt is constructive. This feedback says nothing of my value. 

I guard my mind. It can be easy for me to go to extremes. If I did one thing wrong, then everything about me is wrong. It's important for me as a recovering self blamer to be realistic and not allow the criticism to become a blanket statement about me. 

I make a plan. Where did I go wrong? What can be done next time? What are the steps to take? I will take the 'nutrients' of the feedback, allow it to soak in, and discard the rest. I let it go. 

In our mission to seek productivity with kindness and grace, I think the advice from female CEOs is really useful (regardless of if you're focused on a career, or something else entirely) - receive feedback and allow it to impact you. My hope is that no matter how challenging this is for you, you and I both can use criticism to be more productive with kindness and grace. 

All the love,

Maddi

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