Feedback, criticism, critiques, whatever guise it is when someone provides their opinion on something about you, what you do and create. I have been taking ‘advice’ and ‘feedback’ from clients for over 20 years, and it’s a skillset I have realized. We aren’t necessarily educated in our early years how to deal with being told what we screwed up on. I mentioned during my CreativeMornings talk on COURAGE, that during our early years growing up, we are taught to be wary of doing things ‘wrong’. In fact, if you did anything to displeasure an adult, we were usually disciplined. So of course anytime provides feedback, we have an insane, inane desire to curl up and hide.
I think the question we need to start asking ourselves is “How do we create a desire to be excited and want feedback.” When you are creating a product, running a business and serving your clients, criticism is all part of the process. Not everyone is skilled at being ‘sensitive’ to our human weaknesses of self-doubt and imposter syndrome. And I think knowing that helps me to take a mental note to shut the door to my inner child’s resentment and fear of getting into trouble. We need our customers, audience, and clients, to be completely honest about both ours and their insufficiencies. It is not their job to make sure we feel good. It’s ours to make sure we are providing them what they need.
I have been stepping up my game to dig into my dream of offering my unique planners as a legit option in an industry that can seem saturated. Tie that in with a mindset of digital versus print, and many have suggested I’m ridiculous for even trying. I honestly believe in my product, and I am good with that, but I am human and tend to avoid criticism. Filtering is an important listening skill to have when requesting honest feedback from customers. I'm open to their perspective but also make sure that I don’t allow theirs to undermine my own. Everyone has legit feedback, and I have been getting some good thoughts and suggestions. But if there is one thing I have learned over the years, you cannot please everyone.
This point came up during a meeting with a videographer. We were discussing my business and how we could collaborate to create video content that helped to outline my offerings and connect with my ideal audience. As we talked, we both realized that she was one of my ideal customers. A busy self-employed creative who struggles to balance the pile of responsibilities associated with owning a business, parenting and being a human who just wants to live life well. She sees the value of scheduling on a digital calendar, but when it comes to managing tasks in a day, writing things down on paper is the only thing that works. Between her and the other feedback, I was reading through today - suggestions that related to altering the structure of my systems I had to hear, but I also have to stand up for my views.
Suggestion to make the myWeek one two-page spread is not what I created. In fact, there are plenty of systems out there that offer this structure. And I am not them. I based the system on a physical size that is manageable to carry around but also provides enough space to write. As well, I value my weekends. In my opinion, they require a focused, quiet area not affected by the work week. I want my weekends to be the space and time to catch up on what needs to be done, but also a place to dream up and plan fun things to do with my family and friends.
I am not the answer for everyone, in fact, no one thing is, and that is okay. Out of billions of people on the planet, if I connect with even just 0.00001% of that planet - that is a potential pool of one million excellent people just like me. Not bad right?
If you find yourself in a similar situation and are avoiding asking the tough questions because you are afraid of what you might hear. I challenge you not to be surprised by contrary or opposing views and take suggestions seriously when the ideas do align with your core values and concept. All feedback will give you perspective and a potential to view things a new way. Sometimes they work out better.