I recently got some feedback that I have to say, took me aback a bit. The feedback came from two very different source with very different interest. And while the feedback certainly has merit, I have to say it took me a few days to process it. ‘Leona, you are animated and that’s great. It’s why people love you, but some people don’t know how to take it. It can come off as aggressive, when really you are just excited. You may want to dial it down’. After a few days of me thinking about how my personality would have to fundamentally change to embrace this advice, these are the nuggets I came away with.
As I rolled this advice around, I realized that this is me. While I can work on the degrees of me, this is me. When I am happy, I am excited and when I am angry, I’m excited. That’s part of the passion that drives me and I have to accept that there will be some bad reviews.
Criticism is Not Personal
The thing about criticism that no one tells you, is that it is very rarely about you. It’s about how people receive the information you put out. While you can tweak the delivery and the message, ultimately you cannot affect how people receive it. That’s a whole can of worms that you cannot touch. The best you can do is put your organization’s message out in a manner that is consistent and honest. And then let everything else go.
It does help
Even if it is mean and horrible, chances are there is still something useful in it. There is something useful in the criticism and chances are that it is probably outside of what you are criticized for. To be fair if more than one person is giving you this feedback, there is probably some merit in it. But the merit will probably be in the totality of criticism, where you yourself can find your weaknesses.
So we are finding out that this empire building business is tricky, isn’t it? But the key is to understand that feedback, while necessary is just a suggestion. Building an empire means that you have to be secure in the notion that you know what you are doing. Will you make missteps? Yes, you will. Will you want to crawl under the blanket and never come out? Yes, you will. Will you build this empire? Yes, you will. So go do it.