Does My Butt Look Big In These Jeans?
People say ‘gimme feedback,’ but when you ‘give ‘em what they want,’ which is honest feedback, it comes off as harsh or whatever. It isn’t feedback that’s sought, but approbation, adulation & affirmation. People truly don’t want your negative ideas, they want your good feedback. They want you to say that their but does indeed rival Megan Fox’s, and that what they’ve created is perfect.
I have a confession: I used to be the same way. I used to get really prickly, really hostile when people would have the temerity to say that an idea that I created wasn’t a little better than Seth Godin’s, and when my writing–if not the equal of F. Scott Fitzgerald–was certainly close. I’d use lash out responses: what have you done, can you do better, who the f–k are you? And then what happened? I stopped getting free advice. I even got some feedback that was unsolicited a few times, and again, I’d vet the person and not the idea. I’d be in Ad Hominem city.
But do you know what happened?
I stopped getting useful feedback.
I stopped getting people that wanted to help me, and instead, I got ‘hey great work,’ all the time. I was left with nothing to think about, and I was left with nothing to do really. I couldn’t trust the feedback because I made it so costly to give it to me. I did this because I was insecure, and I did this because I was needy enough to seek the chorus of yes men. And what I made suffered.
So, now, with thanks to Teri, thanks even to Scott, and others…for ideas that are like this. I really don’t need a lot of ‘attaboys.’ While I crave more inlinks, I don’t work at it hard enough to make it happen.
And so, slather on the venom. I want to hear the bad things, the things I can improve on. My ego strength can withstand it, and I won’t even try and get testy or argue.
What kind of feedback do you seek? What do you do to make sure it’s rewarding for others to point out your inevitable mistakes?