Negative feedback is always an opportunity

Crossing_PathsAs you work to bring your change into the world, some people will inevitably tell you that you’re doing it wrong. They’ll say you’re too early or too late, too simplistic or too complex, too deep or too shallow, going about it in the wrong way in the wrong place with the wrong people at the wrong time.

Listen to them, thank them, and then do it anyway.

And before you do so, remember first that it has taken your whole life for you to come to the insights and understanding of the world you have now and it has taken their whole life to come to theirs. Sthe apparently ‘negative’ feedback they are giving might mean one of four things:

  1. They are far ahead of you, and the changes you are suggesting are no longer relevant to them. (Which likely means that they are encouraging you to move forward faster.)
  2. They are behind you and not yet ready for the changes you are suggesting. (In which case, what will it take for them to catch up? How long will that take, and how much effort from you? Is that a priority for you?)
  3. They are exactly the people you are looking for, but you are not communicating your vision in a way they understand. (So listen, learn, and adapt your message.)
  4. They are simply on a different path, headed towards a different purpose with different values. (Your work will never be relevant for them so don’t try to force it.)

What seems like ‘negative’ feedback is always an opportunity, either to save wasted time or to improve your message still further.

So when someone brings you feedback listen, thank them, and then do it anyway: either the same as you were doing before, or in a new and improved way.

The changes you are making and the feedback you receive are part of your wider life journey, building new insights and understanding.

Adapted from Inner LeadershipBuy the Book

Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões via

2 Replies to “Negative feedback is always an opportunity”

  1. Well said – dealing positively with one own’s emotions when getting “negative” feedback is key to proceed on the path oneself has envisioned to go. Perhaps some pivoting, reframing, or new wording will be necessary. Nevertheless we are all born to learn a life long.

    • Thanks Ralf, I’m glad you found it useful.
      The reframing you talk about is explicitly covered in Chapter 2 of inner leadership.
      And as you also say, knowing our Purpose clearly provides a ‘lighthouse’ that we can use to orient ourselves in the deepest storm. This is Chapter 5.

      With just those two tools then life long learning suddenly becomes a lot easier 🙂

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