What are your triggers?
I am reading through the book called “Thank You For Your Feed Back”, and I am going back to the first chapter because it was that good. The chapter is called, Three Triggers. I can think of more than three triggers I have when it comes to getting feedback. I am sure you can too. This book is amazing at taking the top three that I am sure all of us has in common.
I was leaping across the studio’s floor of my dance class. I was a 13-year-old girl who hated seeing herself in that leotard and tights. My dance teacher asked me to come with her to the back room. She never really addressed me or singled me out usually so I knew I was in trouble. It was embarrassing and I could feel my heart sink as she told me I was not dancing to my full potential. She asked me to start practicing at home.
What I heard was, Hannah, you can’t dance or you need help keeping up with the other girls. This is the first trigger we may experience when receiving feedback. Truth Triggers are alarms in our heads that go off saying, “NOT TRUE, NOT TRUE”. My dance teacher was trying to push me to be better, but I only heard the negative, probably because of how humiliating it was to be asked to step out of the dance class.
After experiencing that humiliation I struggled to find a way to look at my dance teacher in a positive light, mostly because I had no positive feedback from her to go back to. This leads to the second trigger, relationship trigger. You may be triggered, not by the feedback, but by the person. If your boss is hard to listen because he or she is negative, the feedback may be something you need, however, you don’t take it because of the deliverer. Another situation may be that the feedback is coming from someone who does not know the whole situation or has never worked your job. I think this is really hard in dating/married relationships. If we can separate the feedback from the person then we can decipher if its advice we should be taking.
I went home and after venting to my mom I practiced my feet off. Not because I disagreed or not with my teacher’s feedback, but because I was going to show her wrong and then quit. I did. I killed the concert. And then quit ballet altogether. How horrible. Identity triggers are the most off-putting triggers. They don’t have anything to do with the actual comment or the person, but what you believe about yourself. These feedback triggers, as the book says,
“We feel overwhelmed, threatened, ashamed, or off balance. We’re suddenly unsure what to think about ourselves, and question what we stand for. When we’re in this state, the past can look damning and the future bleak. That’s the identity trigger talking, and once it gets tripped, a nuanced discussion of our strengths and weaknesses is not in the cards. We’re just trying to survive.”
I don’t regret quitting dance, I do miss it and it will always be a part of my life. I spent so many hours at that studio growing up. And I love that I went out with an excellent performance. I don’t like that I stopped because of feedback that was supposed to help me grow. This is why it is important to take feedback as it is, without judging the deliverer, or questioning the truth of the comment or measuring your identity with the comment. What has helped me is to turn the feedback or comment into a conversation. If you are thrown off by the feedback come back to it with that person. ASK QUESTIONS. I cannot emphasize that enough. I also repeat back what the person is saying to me. Repeating what the other person is saying gives them the chance to hear what is coming out of their mouths and if it doesn’t sound like what they were actually thinking they can correct it. You will also remember the comment later without stretching or changing what was said.
Ok, That is a lot! I hope it helps though! Remember you are always going to have negative people or people who stretch you, but you can do it! Keep on creating and have a full color day!