Feedback Tip #2: Keep Things in Perspective

Feedback Tip #2: Keep Things in Perspective

Our experiences have taught us to keep things in perspective. Disappointments come, but they are often not tragedies but only speed bumps.

Blake Kohler
Blake Kohler
Co-Founder / CEO
 Feedback Tip #2: Keep Things in Perspective

A few days ago, I awoke to my daughter screaming bloody murder. 

Overnight a balloon that she had been playing with had shrunk down to a minimal size. Her life, as she explained through the sobs, was over. 

For those of us who have lived a little longer on this earth, we know that a broken toy, however disappointing is not something that destroys our life. We happen to be a little bit better than a four-year-old at seeing the big picture. 

Our experiences have taught us to keep things in perspective. Disappointments come, but they are often not tragedies but only speed bumps. 

This week's feedback tip is to remember to keep things in perspective when gathering and reviewing feedback. 

Too often, we can be tempted to fall back into our four-year-old mentality when we receive negative feedback. We lash out, we get defensive, and we even can start to explain away the input as coming from someone that 'doesn't matter' or who 'doesn't know'. 

When we start to feel these emotions, which are entirely normal and natural, the next step is to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. It is to regain perspective. Easier said than done, right? 

Try utilizing these five steps to help bring perspective back into the equation and navigate us away from our four-year-old reactions:

  1. Acknowledge the feedback as valid - all people have the right to give input from their perspective. No amount of explaining away will invalidate how they felt. 

  2. Empathize with those people giving feedback - attempt to feel what they may be feeling and try and understand what put them in the position to deliver this type of feedback. 

  3. Put their feedback in context - rarely does someone giving feedback understand all of the moving pieces that impact their experience, but you will understand more than they do. Put the input into your larger context and then weigh its value. 

  4. Find the positive - No matter how negative the feedback is, there is always something positive that can come from it. It is up to you to decide what that is going to be.

  5. Decide how to act - feedback is designed to be acted upon, even if that action is minimal. Acting puts you back into the driver's seat and helps you figure out ways to resolve issues.

By following these five steps, we can help regain perspective about our feedback and our feedback process. Or, as Marcus Aurelius put it: "Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears."