The Matrix of Feedback
Feedback. What comes up for you when you hear it? Does your trigger response take you to a place of defensiveness where you assume that you have done something wrong? Or, do you receive it as an opportunity for growth? Whatever your feelings, feedback is an important tool that when received without judgement, loses its charge and just becomes information that can be acted upon or rejected. Feedback is nothing more than words. We categorize and give it meaning based on our own internal programming, judgments, and beliefs.
Feedback is an opinion belonging to someone else about the way in which you have or haven’t done something. When receiving feedback, it’s important to consider the different pieces of what I like to call the feedback matrix.
- Who is giving the feedback and what relationship/importance do they have in your life?
- Do you value their opinion?
- What is the person’s expertise in the area that they are giving feedback in? What is your level of expertise?
- The emotional state of the person giving feedback. Depending upon the person’s mood, and life circumstances, this person may think you are great in one moment and terrible at another.
- What is the topic? Is it about something that feels sensitive to you? If so, note that so that you can take it less personally, since it is already a tender spot that doesn’t take much to bruise.
- What is the intended outcome for the person giving the feedback? Take time to consider what you would like the outcome to be.
- What do you do with feedback? Do you automatically get defensive or do you look at it as a potential learning opportunity?
- How is your emotional state at the time you are receiving the feedback? If you received it at another time, would it sound and feel different?
- What do you think of the feedback? Does it resonate? If not, can you let it go?
It’s human nature to change behavior to receive the approval of others. Most people view feedback from a negative lens because it can be associated with criticism and ways to improve. Have you ever considered that feedback can also be positive? Think back to the last time you received a compliment, shared a laugh, received a smile, were confided in or paid attention too; those are all positive forms of feedback. People can become so fixated on the negative that they lose sight of how they are truly reflecting in the world.
I encourage you to begin to view feedback as information that you can accept or reject, so that you can make authentic changes that resonate with your values and your vision of who you want to be in the world. If you are interested in defining your values, please contact me for a complimentary 30-minute discovery session. When you are grounded in the truth about who you are, what the world thinks becomes far less important.