Invite the criticism... and then "lean into it"!

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

You know those times when someone just has something to say?

A couple of days ago I found myself in a "professional discussion" where someone felt it was very important to offer me a perspective regarding what I was doing - He didn't understand or see the utility of LinkedIn (or beBee), didn't see any reason for all of my blogging, questioned my range of topics and ability to have much to say, and finally questioned how I could "monetize" my efforts. In the end, he said he was "sorry to offer all this contrary perspective"; all with a slight air of conviction that he was right and I was wrong I might add.

To that I said, "I really appreciate the discussion; it's important". And I truly meant it! 

"I'm arrogant enough to think I know everything and smart enough to know I don't" is a self-reflective reminder I came up with a long time ago to ensure I, "shut up, listen and consider that maybe I'll learn something". It has served me well over the years but if truth be told, I sometimes forget. I didn't forget a couple of nights ago though; instead I listened, considered, thoughtfully engaged, and appreciated every word.  

"I agree with myself 99 out of 100 times" is another self-reflection that reminds me it's important to get feedback, council, advice, criticism and even the "odd hater"(for good measure). It's a recognition I am not always right, and I need to get other perspectives, thoughts and insights that differ from my own. I Invite the criticism and the differing opinion; I want to hear something I have not heard before to help support better decision making.

"Lean into the criticism" is the most recent self-reflective reminder that I've adopted and probably should have adopted a while back but hey, I'm still a work in progress. As I look at it, "Lean into the criticism" is an important reminder in the following ways:

  1. Criticism, although by definition is considered negative, needs to be stripped of any emotion. It needs to be looked at intellectually and not considered irrelevant just because you "don't like it" - Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's wrong.
  2. Meet criticism head on - Don't evade criticism, don't shy away from it and don't diminish its value. Criticism will let you pressure test your thinking, validate your conviction, and will ensure a better chance of success. If what you are doing can't stand up to a little criticism, how can you expend it to succeed in the "BIG, BAD WORLD"
  3. It allows you to validate the critic's credibility for next time - In the end, you are inviting the critics, not the haters.

Any and all critics welcome... and the odd hater for good measure.