I was just reading about feedback in the book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield. Feedback can be positive – results, money, praise, a raise, a promotion, inner peace, etc. And negative feedback, the kind most of us don’t like – lack of results, no money, criticism, poor evaluation, being passed over for a raise, pain, etc. Feedback is simply a way to stay on course. Every time we use feedback telling us we are off course we can use it to get back on course, and end up where we want to be. He writes about a demonstration he gives a seminars. Where he has a volunteer tell him “off course” when he heads off the straight path. If he listens to the “off course” and moves back on course, he eventually ends up where he wants to be. This demonstration really brought the idea of feedback alive for me.

Canfield writes that there are 3 ways people deal with feedback that don’t work.

1. Caving in and quitting. He’ll have someone say off course over and over as he goes off course. Then he’ll sit down and cry saying, “I can’t take it anymore. Life is too hard. I can’t take all this negative criticism. I quit!” When people cave from negative criticism, it just makes them stuck in the same place. Feedback is simply information designed to help you adjust and get to your goal a whole lot faster.

2. Getting mad at the source of feedback. This time when they say off course, he puts his hand on his hip, points a finger and yells that all they do is criticize and be negative. Can’t they say anything positive. All that does is push the person and the feedback away.

3. Ignoring the feedback. This time he puts his fingers in his ear and walks totally off course. We all know people uninterested in whatother people think and tune out other people’s views. They don’t realize feedback could significantly transform their lives if they would listen.

Feedback is just information. You don’t have to take it personally.

Take a step and listen to feedback. Take another step and listen for feedback. Listen to external feedback and internal feedback. Not all feedback is accurate. Look for patterns – if several people are telling you the same thing, it is probably something to look at. Look who is saying it to you.

Canfield’s 10 ways of dealing with the feedback of failure-
1. Acknowledge you did the best you can with the awareness, knowledge and skills you had at the time.
2. Acknowledge you survived and can cope
3. Write down what you learned. Have a journal or a file on your computer called insights and lessons. Read through often. Then make a list with ways to do it better next time.
4. Thanks everyone for their feedback. If their delivery was hostile, remember it is an expression of their level of fear not your level of incompetance. Just thank them for their feedback as well. Don’t explain, justify or blame. Take the feedback. Use what is applicable and discard the rest.
5. Clean up any messes, including making apologies.
6. Review your successes. Remind yourself you have had many more successes than failures.
7. Regroup. Spend time with positive people.
8. Refocus on your vision and goals. Keep moving forward.