What feedback really gives you

Originally posted on 15th July 2015

Phew, isn’t it lovely when you work out stuff, it makes sense and finally sinks in …. you “get it”, what a relief!

I have been thinking all about feedback, how it feels and what you do with the information.

For me feedback has always been a double-edged sword, at times I respond with serenity, accepting the thoughts, thanking the giver and using their insights.

At other times seemingly well-intentioned feedback can send me off on an emotional roller-coaster and leave me reeling or being super defensive.

In her book, Playing Big, Tara Mohr, asserts that feedback is information that tells you more about the person giving it than it does about yourself.


(Thank you Jo Casey for leading me to this book).

Feedback is not really about you at all, Tara says.

The feedback giver is supplying you information from their point of view, you gain clues and insights into the things they care about and how they think.

That’s super valuable data if the feedback-er is someone you need to influence like your boss, your clients or your financial backers.  Data will help you know which projects need to be prioritised, where you will get support from, which products to sell, who to promote, where to go next ….. and so on.

Good data helps you make better decisions and like other forms of analysis you get to choose what is relevant and supportive of your goal.

“You can choose” is really important, you do not have to act upon every single bit of feedback.

With loads of new input you are building a picture to help you understand how people will respond to the thing you are presenting.
I truly think it is really that simple.


Remember right at the beginning of this I said at times I felt serene about feedback, yet I notice that I used all of the data and input given to me.


On reflection this is crazy, it served my need to please everyone but at times it resulted in me going off piste, disengaging and feeling that “it wasn’t mine”, and worse it was noticeable that I had stepped back from my own passions. It felt inauthentic – yuck!


I’m harping on – the point is you choose choice, you select the feedback you want to listen to and act upon.


The penny has dropped, I can use feedback to learn loads of things that other people think but it is not a statement of my ability, my values, my ideas, my skills, my personality, my worthiness or anything about me.


This kinder, smarter, proactive way of thinking about feedback is a gift, it allows me to analyse, rationalise, explain and plan more effectively


Wow, what if you understood feedback the same way?

  • When can you convert feedback to data that you can usefully use?
  • When does feedback hurt?  – I’d like to talk about this more next time.
  • How many times do you choose what feedback is not useful?



Let’s put the shoe on the other foot too, have a think about how you give feedback, 

  • What messages are you giving about yourself?
  • How might you follow up if your insights were not acted upon?
  • What clues are you getting about the person receiving the feedback?


Lovely to chat.   Sue x


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