How Do You Respond to Feedback?

In this episode JJ and Melissa discuss how feedback affects the mind. They also share stories of their reactions to various feedback.

September 29, 2020
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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness journey podcast. This little banter is about a car ride long and features your hosts JJ Parker, and Melissa Albers. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years. So, JJ, did you get the email I sent you?

JJ Parker  0:23  
I sure did.

Melissa Albers  0:27  
So, we have a loyal listener who sent us some feedback and some suggestions for our podcast.

JJ Parker  0:40  

Melissa Albers  0:41  
And, and, and two things before we even talked about the feedback. Two things. The first, probably the most important is I recognized I had kind of a strong reaction feedback

JJ Parker  1:00  
Yeah, well, I got that email and started to read in it. It was like, what's this? And then I started going through the well laid out bullet points.

Melissa Albers  1:14  
There were many on

JJ Parker  1:16  
the critique of the podcasts and I just found myself getting a little irritated.

Melissa Albers  1:23  
Yeah, I actually felt You're so I felt really hurt. My first reaction was hurt. Like I felt exposed. I felt like oh my gosh, wait, someone's really actually listening to

JJ Parker  1:42  
someone's listening and, you know, and it's like, they don't like it. You know, my reaction was, Oh, yeah, she's listen to all of them. Like any evidence all.

Melissa Albers  1:55  
Oh, by the way, we should also say this part of the story that this is a person who knows us both and loves us both, and always assumes goodwill.

JJ Parker  2:08  
So absolutely sorry. Absolutely. Yeah. So what's interesting about receiving feedback, right is oftentimes, our initial reaction, it's like, you have a really strong physical reaction to as you're as you're reading it as you're hearing it. Yeah. And even as you're maybe even waiting for it,

Melissa Albers  2:30  
yes, yes. Waiting for like, what's gonna be at the bottom, like, I'm only at the top two bullet points, and I see there's a few what's going to be at the bottom. It's so true. I had an immediate stomachache. I got an immediate stomachache when I started when I started to read it.

JJ Parker  2:46  
And then, and then you read it, and then you just start, like looping over it. Again, read it and thinking about it, right? It becomes May you get amazingly obsessed. Yeah. With feedback. Yeah,

Melissa Albers  3:05  
yeah. Well, and what's interesting is, and and, and again, this has nothing to do with the person or the feedback because it was amazing. And this person spent a lot of time and thoughtful energy with the feedback. So it has really nothing to do with that side of the house. It has everything to do with how I perceived it, how you perceived it, and the lens we were looking through and the emotions that we were having because of it. Yeah. And, and to the point where one of the things that she had put in the bullet point is, this would be a really interesting topic is dealing with critics. Yes.

JJ Parker  3:45  
And here we are doing the podcast just for her

Melissa Albers  3:51  
and ourselves.

JJ Parker  3:52  
Yeah. Well, the other thing I thought was interesting is, of course, as soon as you sent that email over Like you called me three seconds later,

Melissa Albers  4:03  
right? Maybe three, maybe three. And

JJ Parker  4:05  
I'm and I'm, like we're talking about it and you're like, Why are you so calm about this?

Melissa Albers  4:16  
I did, right or no, I didn't say that. What I said is, I feel like you're taking this song better than I. That's what I said. Well,

JJ Parker  4:27  
and I was just putting up a better front than

Melissa Albers  4:30  
yours there. Yeah. Okay. Well, yes. And you did respond that way. But I was like, wow, I don't know.

JJ Parker  4:35  
What's interesting. So, you know, I, I went to art school, like, in college I was in I went to art school and, and we would have class once a week, like, whatever it was drawing class design class, right. And every week, it was like almost the same format. We would, we'd meet for class would get some lesson And then maybe we would just sit there the rest of the time for maybe like three or four hours and draw. And then maybe we complete that piece of that work through the week. And then the next class, everyone would hang up their artwork on the wall. And we would one by one critique every single one of them.

Melissa Albers  5:25  
That's terrible. That sounds terrible.

JJ Parker  5:30  
So, not only is your artwork just hanging out there for everyone, systematically in line for mass feedback, right? So almost going first was more humane than waiting until the end.

Melissa Albers  5:52  
I feel like that in a lot of times of my life.

JJ Parker  5:55  
But I guess that is That style that or that experience for me was really, you know, I got to spend a lot of time in that anticipation and really feeling that, that waiting for feedback or and receiving feedback response. Yeah, like probably more than nor anyone else would, right? That's like not a normal situation that people are in. It's kind of like a heightened feedback situation. And for good reason I think it's as like that's like literally professional training for the artist.

Melissa Albers  6:38  
Yes, well, and I i can i can be right there with you because I took a bootcamp of speaking with Les Brown, who is one of the country's top speakers, motivational speakers, and has been for decades and it was the same thing. We had 26 of us in a room and I was standing on a stage looking it eyeball to eyeball at less. And he said, speak Melissa. And it's the same thing. It's like when you create something and you're putting yourself out there, there's and like, even with this self awareness journey, I mean, you and I are both professed students. You know, we're not masters experts or gurus in self awareness, we are students. And I think that when you put yourself out there in any sort of capacity, that really means something to you. It's exposing, it feels very exposing, even if you have experience, even if you've done it 100 times. It's still scary. So I think that there's a component regardless of who the feedbacks coming from, what the feedback is, it's very real. Because it feels exposing like our feelings are so real and present and pushing out. You know how we're gonna respond.

JJ Parker  7:56  
Yeah, it feels vulnerable, right like, you don't even know like to feel vulnerable. But that's, yeah, that's just out there, right?

Melissa Albers  8:04  
Yeah. Yeah. As I was thinking about this topic a little bit this morning, I started to parse out, you know, there's actually like different people that I respond to differently as they give me feedback. Like, I feel like some people, it's way easier for me to take feedback from, even if it's critical, even if it's straight up critical. And and it's really interesting, like in my life, how I can separate those people out. Like, I started thinking, like, if people give me feedback, like if this individual, for example, gives me feedback, I trust her and love her, and I know where it's coming from. And so even though I had an initial emotional reaction, it was like, wow, this is really, really helpful and really good. And very quickly, I was able to kind of come back around and start being well, no, it wasn't very quickly. It took me a day. It took me a day, but I could be more objective than you know, because they came through the lens of I know this person. Doing so out of caring and love. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker  9:02  

Melissa Albers  9:04  
And my my best friend, I've got some best friends that would whatever they would tell me, I would know that it was coming from a place of love. Yet there's different people in my life that they could give me the exact same feedback with the exact same intention. And I would feel straight up like they were being critical.

JJ Parker  9:19  
Yeah. Yeah. And no one wants to feel judged, right. No one wants to feel like, like that. The one thing I think is super interesting, a lot of times is that like you said, in my like, in my experience, feedback, when I get critical feedback, I have a strong initial reaction. But then almost every single time that feedback makes my art better. Yeah, right. So yeah, the, the result is, is almost always better after the feedback then before but you go through this cycle where you're like, you know, angry and upset and questioning and vulnerable and all these emotions like rush in. And if you get over that part, and it doesn't, because sometimes you just can't. On the other end, I think it usually ends up better.

Melissa Albers  10:21  
So, yes, yes. 100% agree with you and I just started to think about something. What if, though? What if what the person is saying to you is not meant with good intent? What if you have people that are being critical of you? And they aren't, they aren't doing it for your benefit? That's really interesting. And how do you discern the difference? Like, to me, that's a really interesting thing to think about.

JJ Parker  10:51  
Well, if they're not doing it for your benefit, whose benefit are they doing it for? Yes, their benefit, right? It's making them feel better, right? Yeah, yeah. And you know, I had an unexperienced where I went to this is quite feed feedback in this way. But I had someone really close to me. I basically say, like, hey, JJ, you're, you're you should stop doing this project, because you're not very creative. Right. And like, to me, like, creativity is like one of my very core thing. Yeah. And, um, wow. And I did not take that well. No, it was mean it was downright mean. Right? And and I was really upset about that comment, like for a really long time. Until I actually realized like, that was not a comment even for me are really easy. About me. No, that was a comment about them. And then yeah, and then feeling insecure about who they were and how they were and how their bodies and their entire world, right. Just nothing to do with me. Yeah. But it took a while to actually just figure that out. Yeah,

Melissa Albers  12:19  
yeah. To me, this is such a good awareness piece. Again, like we talked about self awareness, we talked about being able to learn how to validate ourselves, and not worry about only feeling good if other people are validating us. Yeah. And this is right in there. It's from a different angle. But it's the same thing if we, yeah, if we are unaware of our own feelings or what makes us feel good if we don't fight for, maybe a fight for is not the right term, but if we do not uphold the standards that we create for ourselves to feel good. If we don't uphold those standards, we become a lot more flimsy in the wind. I think and I think we become a lot more easily pushed over, easily pushed out of center. Mm hmm. Because again, we jump into that, well, I'm not making you happy. So I need to change something to make you happy. Mm hmm.

JJ Parker  13:18  
Yeah. And it also dovetails into just like the thinking that, like, when you get feedback, it's someone else saying that, like, you're not good enough. Right? You don't you don't have enough you're not good enough. It's not, you know? Yeah. And that's hard. That's hard to deal with, especially if you're not generating that kind of self confidence or self assurance from within. If you're seeking it externally. That's, it's really hard. You know, I think we've talked before about people over identifying with their vocation, like yeah, whatever it is, yeah. You know, what, what their job is what they hobby is what, you know, their family commitment is. And when you over identify with that, when you say, you know, I, I play basketball, I am a basketball player, if someone challenges your skill in basketball, you take that personally, right? Because you are a basketball player.

Melissa Albers  14:24  
Right? Right.

JJ Parker  14:26  
And we see that all the time where I mean, I see all the time where just people are just way too attached to that. And any feedback is feedback directly to that against them as a person. Yep. Yeah. And that's really also damaging, but it's, it's really hard to, you know, for me to see. Yeah, and it's really hard for them to deal with.

Melissa Albers  14:54  
Yeah, and I don't think that a lot of people even recognize how much they do that but typically when people are looking for sternal labels are they're looking to make themselves look a certain way on the outside. Again, we know that they're feeling insecure or they're feeling like they need to be there act yourself again, they don't feel like they're safe to be authentic. And I think it really would be worth thinking through this a little bit like when we receive feedback when we're interacting with people. How do we take that feedback and why? So like in in what I learned from all of this is that again, I validated that I am so comfortable being a student still, like I'm still learning more and more about myself, even though I've been in self development and I've had multiple coaches and you know, all sorts of stuff. I still have so much further to go. But I do know now that I trust myself, like I trust myself to know that I will make really good choices for me. I trust myself now to know that I I will have a strong reaction My goal when I first get feedback that's favorable, like, that's intended well intended. I, my goal is to be able to take it without being very defensive. Hmm. And the reason that's my goal is because in my past, I was always very defensive first, like, that was my go to. So like, even in just as I'm trying to move through the self awareness journey myself, like, recognizing that that was my go to, I wonder if I can just move a little more to, okay, I'm having this feeling and that's okay. Like, it's okay. But I have this initial feeling. I always have this initial feeling at first, you know,

JJ Parker  16:40  
yeah, it's, it's natural.

Melissa Albers  16:42  
It's natural. It's natural.

JJ Parker  16:45  
Let's talk about a thing that I struggle with in the realm of feedback, and it's in one way, it's just almost opposite of what we've been talking about. I struggle mostly with positive feedback. Mm hmm. Yeah. Which is really weird, right? Like, I would rather have someone say, you know, that that work is crap. And here's why I think it's terrible. Then have someone actually complement my work. Isn't that weird? I don't know if that's weird, but I think maybe other people call maybe other people out there. Well, like, like, relate to that one. But if I get a compliment, I just like literally don't know what to do with it. I'm like, I had a colleague and this is a really minor story, but I had a colleague, and when it's when when we were at work, I'd passed her in the hallway. And like, every time I got a haircut, she'd be like, oh, JJ, nice haircut, and I'd be like, uh, I like look at my feet and I just like scramble away. Like, I couldn't even Take a like, like, I don't even know, that was like feedback or compliment that was more just like an observation. But when I've even actually talked to you about this, like, yeah, in the realm of this like, like, when my parents would give me positive feedback, I, I just I have such a hard time even just saying thank you and moving on like I don't it's, it's interesting. So not only can we have a strong reaction to what we might perceive as negative feedback, we can also have a strong reaction to positive feedback.

Melissa Albers  18:39  
Yeah, yeah, I think that there. Yeah, I think that's really true. And I would say that in my experience, I've noticed that oftentimes, when you see situations like this, where it's hard for you to accept a compliment or accept positive feedback, it's usually around that realm of being very humble and Feeling almost like a humility. And just just for the listeners JJ sizer straight down right now he's not like a me. But it is I think I had the very best coach who once said to the team that we were all working together he said, when you receive a compliment, simply say thank you for noticing. Thank you for noticing but he was serious. Thank you for noticing.

JJ Parker  19:28  
That's exactly what my work colleagues said. She actually pulled me aside one day says, Hey, JJ, when I give you a compliment, just say thank you. I was like, Oh, yeah, pretty easy.

Melissa Albers  19:40  
I do feel that a lot of times too, like self esteem and self awareness is very much tied to our ability to be in partnership with other people. And as we move through our levels of awareness and move through our self esteem issues, you know, taking our own inventories, what makes us feel good, what doesn't make us feel good. We're our own worst critic. And That level of critique that we do inside of us absolutely spills out, and then our ability to accept relations with other people on the outside whether they be optimistic or not.

JJ Parker  20:10  
Yeah, well, inner critic is definitely an entire podcast on its own. Yes, that that will, that we will do shortly, I'm sure.

Melissa Albers  20:19  
Yeah. I just think like, you know, as we sort of wrap this up, I think that, you know, we did talk a lot about when people give us feedback, and it's well intentioned, we just touched a little bit on if people give us feedback, and it is not well intended, and how do you handle things like that either side of that. And to me, there's a continuum, right? Like, if you're receiving feedback that is favorable, allow yourself that first responder actions right like my first responder is going to be this I'm gonna act I'm I'm I'm embarrassed. I'm shy. I feel and and recognize those feelings, right behind those feelings. How do you want to be with the feedback that I think the really important thing is how do you want to be with the feedback. And if you're receiving feedback from those that you don't respect, you don't have a relationship with you are not in partnership with. And they give you feedback that is clearly meant to be critical and not helpful. I think, again, recognize you're going to have your first responder again. And it may feel the exact same as the positive side. Yet, through a moment of self awareness and discernment. If you recognize you know what, that's not for me. That's not me. And that really isn't about me, and I'm okay letting that go. So just taking that moment to sort of discern after your initial response, taking that moment to discern, is this for me or not?

JJ Parker  21:46  
Yeah, and a lot of the ways I'll contextualize that one is just think like, well, if they don't like what I'm putting out, it's not for them. Exactly. This is this This project is not for them. Right? And that's okay. Because, like, my work is not for everybody. Not everyone gets it. It's okay. There's no way everyone could get it right now. So making sure that we're using good rationality in those moments, right? Because the fact is, is certain things resonate with certain people. And exactly, yeah, yeah, I can please everybody

Melissa Albers  22:27  
know, like, like they like they always say you can't please everyone, you're not a pizza.

JJ Parker  22:34  
So most of this is a super fun conversation. I really like talking about feedback. One thing I really want all of our listeners to take away is just the idea that you are not your art. Oh, yeah. Like when you get feedback. You know, you're the things you do the work you put out there. Oftentimes, you know, like, it's our best effort. It feels valued. ball to get feed. You know, when we get feedback, it it really evokes a response. But we just got to remember like, not everything we do is going to please everybody it's not it doesn't resonate sometimes. And yeah, and you are not your art. So don't over identify with your your work, you know your vocation, your hobby your family, don't over identify with it.

Melissa Albers  23:22  
And that's so interesting because like, for me, what I'm thinking of in this moment as sort of we're wrapping up this conversation is this is why I like because we're so opposite. The thing to like, I love that piece. And the other piece that I would add to that is, and don't be so wrapped up in your immediate emotional reaction, that you lose the benefit of the rest of your feelings as you process through. Yeah, I think it's a combination of those two things.

JJ Parker  23:52  
And you don't lose the benefit of that feedback. Because the fact is, is the feedback that we got, we went through that entire emotional process and they are thinking process. And at the end, we are putting that feedback into action right now. It's great. It's going to make our art better. Yeah. And I really, really appreciate the feedback.

Melissa Albers  24:14  
Yes, yes. And I do as well.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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