There was a victory dance going on in my head.
I was on-stage giving a keynote I had practiced and practiced and it was going great. You know that feeling when you’ve nailed that project, presentation, task or important conversation and adrenaline is rushing through your body. I felt invincible.
At least until the applause ended and the time came to remind the participants to complete their evaluation of my keynote.
My victory dance ended abruptly and turned into sweaty palms. I wasn’t feeling excited about the positive responses I might get. I was dreading the few people who might give me criticism.
This was nothing new for me. Maybe you can relate too. No matter how much positive feedback I would receive from hundreds of people, I would focus all my attention on the two or three percent who were critical of me, my style, my message or some other part of my work.
It didn’t make logical sense to do this but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. I was getting tired the energy and confidence suck of this unproductive pattern and was ready to find a way to change it.
A week later I was listening to Brene’ Brown’s Ted talk. She described how in her research she discovered that we live in a culture of scarcity and feelings that we do not have enough and we are not enough.
This moment changed everything for me. I suddenly saw clearly how my mindset of not being smart enough or experienced enough was making it impossible for me to hear criticism productively.
It doesn’t matter which mindset of I am not _____ enough it is, when this is my starting point all criticism no matter how small, helpful or supportive is going to feel like a punch in the gut.
The crazy thing is the belief that I’m not enough is completely made up and not based on any facts in the first place. Even though I made up these disempowering beliefs I did initially fight replacing them with more empowering beliefs. This is when it takes rigor with yourself to change.
Since then, I now listen to feedback from a starting point of I am enough just the way I am. This doesn’t mean I don’t have opportunities to grow and change – I always will – it just means I’m starting from being whole and adding-on to what’s already good.
You may have your own flawed belief that you are not ________ enough.
You fill in the blank with your version (ie. good enough, experienced enough, rich enough, leader like enough, respected enough, loved enough)
What would it take for you to be willing to change your beliefs to you are enough? How would this more empowering belief impact how you hear criticism differently?
Also check out these additional great tips from Fast Company's article How to Deal With Criticism
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