The uncomfortable truth of constructive or critical feedback is that it’s meant to evoke change. Whether it’s positive or negative feedback, it certainly puts you on the spot and it can be a lot to process in the moment. It may make you feel out of control but just remember it’s a metamorphosis phase. There’s a change coming, and it’s going to be for the better. After all, a butterfly doesn’t start its life as a butterfly. The only difference between you and that butterfly is you control your reaction. With CMA NXT’s Sheldon Rodrigues, VP of Marketing & Strategic Initiatives, learn how to deal with constructive feedback like a pro, and influence your career trajectory.
First things first: what exactly is constructive feedback or constructive criticism? Is it just a list of all the things you do wrong? Is it those satisfying gold stars from school? Effective constructive feedback has more to it than that, and it has power. It changes not only your behaviour but also perception. From one colleague to another, feedback lets you know what you can do to improve in your career.
It’s what Sheldon calls the 2MM moment, an analogy rooted in golf that speaks to how a small shift can change the direction of your shot. To clarify, a 2MM moment isn’t only about the actions you take but also your mindset. Effective feedback creates a moment for you to receive a new perspective. A perspective you might not have known otherwise. A perspective that holds surprise and change. For Sheldon, that moment was receiving feedback from a teacher – be sure to watch his video on CMA NXT!
Another reaction you might have in receiving feedback? It’s a well-known mantra that leads many down the path of frustration if not done right: practice makes perfect.
Yes, this type of thinking will set you on your way but Sheldon cautions on diving too deep into the deep end with this. The concept promotes action, but blind action might not necessarily yield fruitful results. Repeating the same action over and over again without understanding the problem isn’t going to get you anywhere. That’s why you need to enter the analysis loop.
Review the feedback you’ve been given, the actions you’ve taken, and from there analyze, analyze, analyze. Really ask yourself if those actions are the right ones. That’ll lead you to build a framework you can work off for new actions. By understanding your actions, you’ll find answers that’ll help change moving forward to get to the right result. This isn’t Groundhog Day. You don’t have time to keep doing the same thing over and over again. As much as repeating the same day has a certain appeal, it’s a luxury none of us have. If you’re ready to improve and succeed today, immerse yourself in the analysis loop. You’re strategic, and that’s the key to change.
Any change from constructive feedback requires two key ingredients: perseverance and optimization. Without them, it becomes the monotonous practice routine. Perseverance gives you the resilience to continue even if the results aren’t immediately within your grasp yet. It’s that gentle push you need to keep putting one foot in front of the other even if you are tired, dehydrated, and want a bag of chips instead. How do you get to your end goal?
It’s a marathon, not a race. And like any marathon challenge, you need an action plan in place. That’s where optimization kicks in; by analyzing what you can do to get in the shape you need for that best performance. Even with the perfect plan, keep in mind that it’s not set in stone. Adjustments are a good thing. It keeps you moving, and not stalling on the path. That’s how perseverance and optimization work when it comes to growing from constructive feedback. It’s about trusting your vision of the future and trusting the work you’re putting in now will pay off.
Last, but not least, and certainly part of the process, is failure. It’s the big and hushed concept we are programmed to be afraid of and avoid. Yet without failure, how do we know what we’re doing is working? It gives us a further baseline to keep evolving. Let’s be clear too: there’s a difference in accepting failure off the bat and experiencing failure after you’ve tried your best. You realize what your standards are and step up to reach it next time. That’s a champion’s attitude! Failure is the biggest shake anyone can experience to truly grow.
Your goal is not to compete with others based on their success stories. That usually just leads to a road of intimidation and self-doubt. Your goal should be to solely focus on just competing with yourself, set new standards and find your own success stories. You are your only competition. If your goal and outcome is to become better than you were yesterday, better than you were a month ago and better than you were a year ago. Now that’s a champion's attitude. —Sheldon Rodrigues
Most successful people are comfortable with failure because it’s part of their journey. We love the underdog stories for a reason. It shows us the spirit of human resilience, determination, and growth. Beyoncé, Jim Carrey, and Sylvester Stallone all experienced failure at one point in their careers and they’re just the tip of the iceberg of a long list! It sounds crazy to imagine them like that, doesn’t it? That’s because they didn’t dwell on their failures; they continued forward, and so will you.
When constructive or critical feedback comes knocking, we hope that you open that door wide with a new perspective. Experience the moment for what it is: a time to make a shift in your career for the better. It’s not about your faults. It’s about your growth. Keep putting in the effort with perseverance and optimization as your amazing cheerleaders. Most importantly, don’t let the fear of failure make you submissive to what could truly be a metamorphosis transformation.
As the semester winds down, you realize your professional image still needs work. If you’re wondering what to do next, maybe it’s time to start working on your brand.