I recently worked on a project for my full time gig and handed it off to our board for feedback. What I received back was a whole lot of criticism with very little useful feedback. It hurt my feelings, I have to admit. I said things it would have been fine if they had provided some useful suggestions. And i think it would have. I wasn’t there when they were ripping apart my work and I think that gave them permission to be ultra critical. there wasn’t a person sitting in front of them asking for the feedback. Now, this wasn’t a project I was asked to do, it was something I saw a need for and went ahead and put together. That made it doubly hurtful I think.
After receiving this criticism I felt a little sick, like my stomach emptied out. I felt down. I felt dejected. I felt my confidence in my work slip. Underappreciated is an understatement. Understand that I usually take feedback quite well. I always look to others for feedback, but don’t usually get bombarded by negativity when I do. Usually there’s a bit of ‘I like this bit’ or ‘maybe try this approach with this bit.’ or ‘this bit is confusing’ – you know, useful feedback.
I decided to do a little Google search for “how to deal with criticism” as I needed a little something to help me swing back out of the funk. I found this article on TinyBuddha which I found great. The writer, Lori Deschene, goes over the reasons we should embrace criticism – even the useless kind. She points out “Learning to receive false criticism—feedback that has no constructive value—without losing your confidence is a must if you want to do big things in life. The more attention your work receives, the more criticism you’ll have to field.”
I let this criticism take hold for a bit, but I’ll bounce back because that’s just who I am. Another lesson, another reminder that I’m not perfect, I’m not for everyone and that’s OK. Will I send off something to our board again for feedback? I’m not sure. But I know I won’t let this keep me down!