Archives for posts with tag: learning

He that won’t be counseled can’t be helped. – Benjamin Franklin

Each year at review time, we sit down with our managers and get our yearly feedback.  For most, the majority of the feedback is positive – goals have been met, performance is strong, relationships have been developed. Then there is the “areas for development.” Our ears prick up, our heart beats a bit faster, palms might get sweaty, we are listening much more closely. As our manager ticks off these articles of criticism we feel the sting and we may start to respond defensively or hang our heads in defeat.

Here are some other choices and perspectives we can make:

First, criticism is a fact of life. We get it in our professional and our personal lives. So be prepared to receive it. Consciously we all say we like “constructive feedback” – until someone gives it to us.

Second, try not to take it personally. This is something I have been exercising recently. I was starting to let criticism “in” and allowing it to affect my self esteem. By refocusing and moving the criticism to my actions or results allowed me to look at it more objectively and respond to it better. Then I could ask myself, “Who’s offering the criticism, and are they qualified? Are they trying to help me or hurt me? Objectively, is there any truth to what they are saying?” After asking myself these questions I was in a much better position to respond in a positive way.

Third, use criticism as a learning tool. Don’t just brush off the criticism. Make sure you are receptive and think about what is being said.  Think back on your career to a time when you received critical feedback that you dismissed at that moment only later to realize was sound advice.

We all want to be right, have the best ideas and be viewed positively by our peers, bosses and reports.  Isn’t it a wonderful feeling when you have offered feedback to someone in a constructive way and they thoughtfully looked away for a second, turned back to you, smiled, and said, “What a great suggestion!  Thanks.”

[Note: This is the 10th in a 12-week series of posts that will discuss “choices” from the book Monday Morning Choices by David Cottrell.]


In follow up to this past Monday Morning Choice Post – The Adversity Choice, I came upon a related post by Mr. GTD himself, David Allen. David wrote the Dealing with Bad Surprises post for the The Atlantic online blog. Here’s a excerpt:

Not to belittle the recent tragic events in Japan with an obvious metaphor, but you can bet something is coming toward you, still unseen, that will shake whatever structures you have established in your psyche and your world — your priorities, projects, and plans. It will be input that must be incorporated into the totality of your life and work. It will cause you to have to reshuffle many of the meaningful components of your day-to-day experience, as well as triggering realizations of meaningfulness about which you were previously unaware.

The measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and adversity. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the Alzheimers Association Chocolate Symphony Fundraiser in Philadelphia. Throughout the night people shared their personal stories of lost due to Alzheimers or the challenges they faced living with the disease or loved ones with the disease.

The common thread through each story was that being diagnosed with Alzheimers (which is not preventable or curable as of today) is not a knockdown blow. Each person’s story was one of inspiration, not desperation. It was a message of affirmation and celebration.

We all face adversity. It comes into our lives at different times, in different ways – but no one is immune. How we chose to respond becomes what is important.  In Monday Morning Choices, David Cottrell provides three things we can do to make the Adversity Choice:

  1. Realize the adversity is short term. Allow others to help you work your way through the adversity you are facing.
  2. Don’t panic, freeze, and stop because you perceive the adversity as insurmountable. You can respond better to crisis when you maximize your forward motion. Keep moving forward.
  3. Don’t waste your energy looking for someone to blame. Choose to see the positives and opportunities to grow, even in the face of adversity.

[Note: This is the 8th in a 12-week series of posts that will discuss “choices” from the book Monday Morning Choices by David Cottrell.]