Is all feedback worth the same attention? Have you ever been in a situation where you have received a piece of “advice” that you were just not sure what to do with?

In the latest Azkua blog, Manuela Damant was talking about the potential resistance you might face when choosing to show up from a place of courage in your career. Especially if this is something new to you and your co-workers.


People like certainty

Our brains have to process so much information every second, that they love default positions. We like to put people in to certain “boxes” because it makes our life easier.

When you start changing patterns of your behaviour you confuse us. We are not sure anymore which “box” you belong to. If you always said yes and suddenly you say that you have no bandwidth to join another project, it might take us a while to accept your answer. If you chose to always be quiet in meetings and suddenly you start speaking up – we might be surprised again and even make a comment about your new found voice.

When you are changing and becoming more courageous this becomes a transition period, not only for you, but also for those around you.

So how do you navigate this period? How do you make sure you let go of some feedback, while paying attention to the ones that matter?


Breathe and stay curious

Whenever you get triggered by someone’s comment, remember that breathing, perspective taking and asking clarifying questions will give you time and space to get this reaction under control.

Too often when we are in this triggered state, we allow our inner voice to get out of control. If some one makes a remark on how much we spoke in the meeting today compared to the past, our mind can totally hijack this comment: does it mean I spoke too much, did I not notice that others were not getting on board, shoot – was I not talking to the point….?

The moment you notice your mind is doing this toxic dance, just breathe. Take a couple of deep breaths, to break this cycle.

Once you have achieved that, you can always see the comment from other perspectives. This could be a compliment. If you set out to be more vocal in the meetings, then Bravo – you have achieved that. Could this be an endorsement, because you have made some really great points in the meeting and your colleague is remarking on that? Or can it just be a simple observation? You spoke more than usual. Nothing more, nothing less.

This is where curiosity comes in to play. You can always ask your colleague to tell you more about the comment they made (as long as you breathed first, so it does not come out threatening). We all make hundreds of comments every day, without thinking much about it. When someone asks us to elaborate on it, it is a helpful pause for both: the person who made the comment and the person who received it.


Comments that you should take into account

When we are going through transformation and finding our voice and courage, we might not notice when we overuse this newfound power.

If we start speaking up in the meetings because we suddenly own our expertise but fail to notice how it lands with others, then we might need to hear about it. If we start setting boundaries, but forget to respect the boundaries of others, we might need to hear about it too. If we take initiative to drive a new project to the conclusion, but forget to take others along, we might need to hear about it.

Our newfound engagement and energy are fantastic. We want to protect them and enjoy them. At the same time when some one tells us that we unintentionally abused that power we need to pause and take note.

This is where you have to go back to breathing and curiosity and ask them to tell you more.

In order for you to know if the feedback has to be taken on board or dismissed you need to assess it a little bit more.

If some one tells you that you were very vocal in the meeting, you might want to ask them to elaborate.

Does it mean that you were speaking over others, or that you lost the engagement of the group, this sort of feedback you want to know and address.

Remember, you are learning how to use your full range of power. Sometimes it will land well, other times not so much. But only by being curious and understanding feedback correctly will you be able to adjust your behaviour for the impact you seek.


Let it go….

There will also be a time, where after you applied breathing and curiosity you will realize that you have to just let go of the feedback sent your way.

If you say NO to something and the recipient of the no is shocked and makes a snipey comment, you can check in with them what they mean by it. If the answer is simply that you always used to say YES, then you know that this is one of the comments you will have to let slide.

And if anyone uses the “bitch” word or any of its’ cousins, then comments like that should always be let go off. There is no constructive feedback in words like that.

How good are you at clarifying feedback sent your way? Do you ask others to tell you more about what they mean, or do you spend time elaborating on it by yourself in your head?

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