Accepting criticism.

My son is exactly like me. My oldest son, that is. My youngest is his father made over (which, though we’re divorced, I don’t consider a bad thing because he’s quite charming and very engaging).  My oldest son, though? He is his mother’s son. I look at him and shake my head in wonder because I’m realizing, as he gets older, how very fortunate I was to have so many patient adults in my life through the years.

Our common fault, the one thing that makes my brain throb more than anything, is that we’re both not ready to accept criticism. When I was 12 years old, it would have been a cold day in Hell before I accepted anyone telling me I was doing something wrong.  Even when I was 25 years old, I wasn’t ready to accept that I needed coaching on certain things. I couldn’t separate the criticism for what it was and what it wasn’t. It WASN’T a personal attack. It WAS an observation meant to make me better at what I was doing. I always thought that if someone was critiquing what I was doing, it meant I personally was wrong…

Not the case, and because of my inability to be coached, I missed the opportunity to grow as an athlete (though I was damn good at what I did, I could have been better) through the years. I see the same thing in my son and, since I recognize it, I work hard to head it off, so he can get better. That’s part of growing up, and I didn’t realize that until only very recently.

Because of that realization, as an adult,I’m working daily to be receptive to criticism and coaching. It’s a HARD thing to give your all on something and have someone say “That was good. It could have been better though…” or to have that person say “I don’t know what you just thought you were doing but…uh…lets…start from the beginning here because wow that was bad…”.  I’m definitely working on it and definitely want to be receptive to the feedback offered.

Feedback is important for growth. Feedback is how we learn what’s working and what isn’t working and tailor our behavior to continue to better the situation.

I post this for two reasons:

First, talk to me. Email me. Text me. Whatever it is, give me feedback. If there’s something you want to see more of, or less of, TELL ME, so I can address it. If we’re doing something and you don’t really get why, ask. If your concerns are legitimate, or bring to light something I haven’t considered, by all means, we’ll discuss them.  At least open the door for the discussion. Not every comment will elicit a change, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth talking about.  If you want programming tweaked, or if you have questions, or if class times are a concern, talk with me. I may not like hearing what you have to say, but I’m emotionally and intellectually honest enough that I will consider it.

Second, don’t take the criticism or coaching personally. You’re not being singled out and you’re not a bad member if you get corrected on form. It’s not an attack. It’s your coach wanting you to move in the best and most efficient method possible…and sometimes even though it FEELS right, it’s still being done WRONG.

 

Growth is, by nature, uncomfortable. One must be challenged in order to grow and develop. Development is not a pain free process. Pain can be physical in the form of DOMs or fatigue, or mental in the form of pushing across the threshold of our comfort zone. Either way, growth can’t come without feedback and critique.

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