How to deal with negative feedback

A while back I was presenting a business document  to my skip level. They started out with the preface that they think “we are all smart and capable people.” I knew what was about to come was going to be rough.

I also knew that no matter what the feedback was, I had done my best and was proud of the plan.

I sat there for an hour and did not say a word. I listened to all the feedback, took notes on follow up items, and felt all of my emotions.

I was pissed others were not chiming in when they gave feedback that contracted feedback I’d been given from my manager. I was hurt that all of my hard-work was still not enough. I was so annoyed that I was going to have to work on my vacation. I was frustrated at what was being asked because no one knows the answers.

But I just felt it all. I gave myself permission right after the “preface” to just feel whatever came. I was not going to try and justify my way through it and tell myself why the feedback was wrong. I just felt it.

In the end, I was no longer pissed or angry. I was still annoyed about working my vacation, but I came to terms with reality. I separated out the facts from all the drama. There needs to be another version of the doc. There are questions to be answered. But so what? It does not have to mean anything. I get to choose how I want to feel about it and right now I’m just going with neutral. It’s not good or bad. It just is.

So next time you get some hard feedback, just feel it. Feel the anger and hurt and pain. It so much better than resisting it.

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