Conquering Chaos

Ep 3: Craving Criticism - Adopting a Self Growth Mentality

April 16, 2019 Season 1 Episode 3
Conquering Chaos
Ep 3: Craving Criticism - Adopting a Self Growth Mentality
Chapters
Conquering Chaos
Ep 3: Craving Criticism - Adopting a Self Growth Mentality
Apr 16, 2019 Season 1 Episode 3
Erin E Hooley
Show Notes Transcript

Successful entrepreneurs are always seeking for ways to learn and grow. They learn to appreciate and even crave the criticism that has the potential to propel them to the next level. 

"What am I doing that’s working that I can improve upon, and what am I doing that’s not working but I can change?"

Those who struggle the most are the ones who are unwilling to learn. If you are only willing to listen to and consume information that validates what you already know, progress will not happen. Innovation will not happen. If we are not teachable, we are stuck!

In this episode, join Erin as she shares 8 simple steps to provide perspective and help you fall in love with criticism.

Speaker 1:
0:01
Welcome to the conquering chaos podcast. I'm your host, Aaron [inaudible], president and founder of multimillion dollar ecommerce children's clothing line, Bailey's blossoms. So it turns out I'm pretty good at business, but what really lights my salon fire is providing other entrepreneurs and mompreneurs with the tools they need to truly succeed. So if you have a business or have one on your heart, you're in good company, pull up a chair or drop in some ear buds and let's conquer some chaos today.
Speaker 2:
0:29
Today's episode is on learning to accept and even appreciate criticism. Now, this is a hot topic for me and it's a hot topic because I have done it so wrong for so long within my business. Now, there have been lots of opportunities throughout my career where I could have chosen to grow or dug my heels in the sand out of the insistence that I'm right. And unfortunately the latter was true. More often than not, I'm talking specific to receiving feedback, but not just any kind of feedback, negative feedback or criticism. In this episode we'll be diving deep and exploring criticism and how our ability to receive it and learn from it has a direct impact on our ability to grow as an individual and grow as a company, as an authoritative figure in business or in your home and family criticism from your peers or your direct reports or your spouse or your children can be shocking.
Speaker 2:
1:28
Human nature is to automatically go on the defense. And while not all criticism is constructively given, can we make all criticism be constructively received? How might that change the atmosphere and the overall culture in the places we lead? And how does our mindset need to change in order to make that happen? Now, I don't know about you, but being praised feels pretty good. Having people speak into and validate your hard work and your efforts can be incredibly rewarding. Now consider a scenario where you are constantly standing under a shower of perpetual praise. What motivates you to step forward? If I'm standing under a shower of perpetual praise, it feels pretty good. I don't want to leave that shower. I want to stay exactly where I am. Absolutely nothing is going to want to make me step forward and move beyond that place. So perpetual praise can be so dangerous because it pacifies us to be complacent with where we are currently.
Speaker 2:
2:33
There's no forward movement or desire to have forward movement in comparison. When we have the opportunity to be criticized, we have the opportunity to progress as long as we don't allow our own ego to get in the way. Our natural reaction when somebody says something critical of us is to get defensive and to take up arms and get ready for war. But what would happen if we were to invite more information so we could receive clarity on their feedback? Adam Grant calls this proving mode versus improving mode, stating that the best way to prove yourself is to show that you're willing to improve yourself. Oftentimes as leaders, we have the misguided notion that in order to lead well, we need to have all the answers, but that's simply not true. In fact, studies show that leaders gain more trust when they are willing to admit when they don't have the answers and even more when a leader offers up a problem but not a solution in empowers other team members to rise up and collaboratively take ownership in seeking out a resolution.
Speaker 2:
3:42
Likewise, when we establish this within our organizations and within our homes, we become more approachable. I have made the mistake of trying to run the one woman show where everybody only steps, right? If Erin says this step right in everyone only steps forward if Erin says to step forward, but what happens is Aaron gets perfectly burnt out and we're not acting as a team, but as a bunch of individual employees. How far can we go as an organization when everyone is waiting to have their day dictated for them before making any movements? The difference between a boss and a leader is that a leader empowers their team to become leaders as well, and the more leaders we have working towards a common goal, the quicker we can get to achieving that goal. Successful entrepreneurs are always seeking for ways to learn and grow, always seeking for ways to improve.
Speaker 2:
4:36
They learn to appreciate and even crave the criticism that has the potential to propel them to the next level. This journey that we're on, this journey of constant self improvement and progress is not one that we can go on loan. It's the ultimate growth mindset. A mindset like this takes as many perspectives in as many eyes as possible to be able to achieve. Compare it to your own eyes. Ability to construct three d images and proper depth perception with one of your eyes closed. Playing a simple game of tennis or soccer becomes incredibly difficult, but when we use both eyes, our perception is broadened and our accuracy is improved. Similarly, when we are willing to take on the perspectives of those around us, our blind spots are decreased as our perception is increased. Just last week we had a management meeting for Bailey's blossoms where we were discussing our company's core values and one of the things that was stated was that we are an intensely customer centric company and I completely agreed but then I challenged and I said, well yeah, but aren't we also an employee centric company?
Speaker 2:
5:53
And the answer came back no. And that while we care deeply for our employees, we definitely had set a precedence forward that our customer is king and that our employees would always come secondary to our customer. And while I love that we're a customer centric company, there was something about that that just didn't feel right. I had to fight the urge to get defensive and start to ask questions so that I could understand clearly the perspective and the feedback that they were giving me. And the reality is they were right then I had to decide if I was okay with that reality and I really resolved that I wasn't. I want us to be people centric regardless of customer or employee. I want to ensure my team knows that they are valued to the same extent that my customers are. The reality is these conversations are rarely, if ever easy, but I want them to happen because I want to see my blind spots so I can become a better driver.
Speaker 2:
6:53
I love the fact that I'm a driver, but I also understand that there are dangers on the road around me and if I don't have people in my car who are willing to point them out, we're all in danger of potential catastrophic circumstances. Consider this if all the passengers in your car are in constant agreement with you, is it truly because you're always right or is it possibly because you haven't yet fostered a safe space in which people can openly disagree with you? This is true for our relationships with family and with friends, colleagues, and even with our children. Our natural ability is to want to discredit the source. The person who said the hurtful thing, the person who hurt our ego or bruised our feelings. If we can make them seem less credible, then we have a leg to stand on to say that we don't need to listen to that feedback or that criticism or advice, but if we have the wherewithal to remove the emotion in order to decipher fact from fiction, then we can really determine if we have a growth opportunity on our hands.
Speaker 2:
7:58
We can't control how the information is given and not all criticism is going to be given in a constructive way, but we can control how we choose to receive it. When we negatively react to criticism, we give much of our power and our energy away in that moment where if we can control it and channel it, we have the ability to enact change and progress. What am I doing that's working that I can improve upon and what am I doing that's not working, but I can change? Big growth often comes right after big change. I've shared the story in previous episodes, but when Bailey's blossoms separated from Etsy, we had not been doing the things that we knew we should be doing because we were coasting. We were complacent and it was easy, but when we were forced to reevaluate and to make those changes that we knew always needed to make but never prioritize them because life was just too easy.
Speaker 2:
9:01
We experienced 233% growth that year. 233% growth. Ask Yourself, do I have a coasting mindset or a growth mindset? Am I doing with easy or am I anxiously seeking for untapped potential in myself and in my company? Here's the kicker. As entrepreneurs, our businesses are often a reflection of us. If we are growing as individuals, our companies are growing as well. If we are coasting, our companies are likely coasting as well. Success is not a destination and as cliche as that may sound, do we really actually understand that? Do we really believe it? Do we really understand the entrepreneurship and business and self improvement on all of these things? Do not have a final destination, nor would we really want them to have a final destination. I don't ever want to lose out on the feelings of joy and accomplishment and even the feelings of frustration and those really crappy days that make the Greeley great days, that much better for a life of coasting and complacency.
Speaker 2:
10:11
This stems from my firm belief and the fact that this life has given to us as a gift to attempt to reach our potential and those who are anxiously engaged in seeking to reach their potential are the happiest people I know. Have you ever seen a man or a woman when they don't have a purpose or a goal or something that they're trying to seek after a reach, they end up wasting away all their time. Just wasting it away and understanding that time is the one commodity that we have that we cannot get more of and that we cannot get back once we've given it away. Why would I ever want to waste any of it if I say yes to something I'm saying no to something else. If I say no to something, it gives me the opportunity to say yes to something else and hopefully that something is higher up on my priority list.
Speaker 2:
10:59
These learning opportunities and experiences that were given through the feedback that we choose to receive in a constructive manner allow us to say yes to the most important things. Understanding that we can't possibly say yes to everything. If growth is happening, we're headed in the right direction. It is impossible to stand still in this world. The world is moving all around us and where we think we may be coasting. In reality, we are being left behind. I don't want to be left behind. I want to be a trailblazer and to do that I rely on the people around me who are going to challenge me to be better than what I am today. They're going to challenge me to be more than I am in this very moment. To think bigger, to dream bigger, to do bigger and better things than I could ever do if I was left alone.
Speaker 2:
11:50
Those who struggle the most are the ones who are unwilling. Learn. The ones who think that they've got it all figured out and they don't need that feedback and they don't need that growth and they don't need that learning. And then we sit back and we wonder why bigger and better things aren't happening to us. If you are only willing to listen and to consume information that validates what you already know and where you're already at, progress will not happen. Innovation will not happen. If you want something more than what you have right now, you need to try something different. If you consistently do the same thing that you are doing currently, you will consistently remain in the same space that you currently reside in to get a different outcome. You must be willing to try a new recipe and what better way to be able to test and learn than to listen to the people around you who see the blind spots that you're prone to have and regardless of the way that they deliver that message, we have the ability, you have the ability to receive it in a productive and positive manner that will benefit you and propel you forward.
Speaker 2:
13:06
If we are not teachable, we are stuck. No matter how often I am called upon to be a teacher, I never want to stop being a student. I will never stop seeking to learn something new. I want to consistently be looking for what's next for myself. We've all heard the old notion, if it isn't broken, don't fix it, but why do we feel like we need to wait until something is broken to act at all? Can we not continually seek out improvements? Innovation and grand ideas come from those who are actively engaged in learning something new. So regardless of whether there is an emergency telling them it's necessary or not, we should always be seeking for opportunities to improve and to do life and business and ourselves better. I have identified eight steps that will help us not only accept criticism but begin to truly crave it as we see it in a new light, as a constant growth propellant, as we actively seek for ways we can improve, the first step is to listen.
Speaker 2:
14:11
Sometimes that's the hardest step because of our natural inclination is to get up and to defend ourselves. Stop and just listen. Number two is to regroup. If you feel like you've gotten a sucker, punch into the stomach or slap in the face, take a moment and choose not to respond. Breathe. Let it sink in and settle down and then number three, seek to understand, ask questions, ask questions that will help you to see from a different perspective. Number four, write it down. The reality is we have such short term memories and if you are looking and truly committed to improving upon something, you need to write it down so that you can look back in those moments where you think you haven't gotten very far and you can look back and realize just how far you've come after all. Number five, identify the truth. Once you have it written down and it's in black and white where you cannot deny it, you can go through and you can decipher fact from fiction.
Speaker 2:
15:23
You can start to look at the patterns in your life and you can start to be aware of the behaviors and the tendencies that you have that might speak truth into the feedback that you have received. Number six, prioritize the opportunity. There will always be more opportunities than there is time to tackle them. So our ability to prioritize each of those items is vital in order for us to effectively manage our time in the most efficient and productive way. Then comes number seven and that is to act. In order to enact change, we have to move, we have to move on that new knowledge with great knowledge comes great responsibility and as you identify these opportunities for change, enact change, Pi, consistent, small and steady steps that will ultimately get you to the end goal where you want to be. And number eight, record and repeat.
Speaker 2:
16:27
Take notes on your progress. Write down what's working, what's not working so that you can go back and you can see your progress. You can see how far you've come and you can analyze your data to see what's working for you and what's not. Now these eight steps are great actionable takeaways that you can use to help you properly process negative feedback and turn it into a truly positive growth opportunity. But what if your culture does not yet allow for people to be so bold? How do you create a culture shift that enables people to feel both safe and comfortable? To be completely honest with you, when my husband and I were newlyweds, we used to do what we call the companionship inventory where we would set aside time to provide one another with constructive feedback, positive and negative, and it would allow us to have this perfectly open communication with nothing off the table to discuss.
Speaker 2:
17:24
As time went on, we establish a deeper sense of trust with one another, understanding that we could talk about anything regardless of how hard or uncomfortable it made us with the ultimate goal of strengthening our relationship through honest and open communication. Now similarly, we can do this exact same thing with our team members and our colleagues. When we foster an environment to give and take honest and open communication, holding back and holding nothing over one another's heads coming out of it, we establish a deep sense of trust and understanding that even harsh topics are shared with the intent to help one another on our success journeys. In order to succeed, we must be willing to surround ourselves with a network of challengers, challengers who care enough to hold us accountable and challengers who see our potential and we'll provide feedback when they see us falling short of it. Criticism and choosing to receive it well to the point of craving. It isn't choosing negativity but choosing perspective. The clearer we see ourselves and our situations, the clear we will view the opportunities in front of us. As you provide criticism from a genuine place of caring and model what that looks like, those around you will feel enabled and empowered to do the same for you and when that is your culture and your deeply rooted desire, growth will always
Speaker 1:
18:52
follow. Thank you for taking the time to connect with me here on the conquering chaos podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, will you please take a moment to leave a review? It's the fuel to my fire and lets me know that my efforts to enact change and broaden your perspective of what's possible. Natter thank you so much for your support. If you want more content like this, don't forget to subscribe and connect with me on social media at Aaron e or at Erin [inaudible] dot com have a fantastic day. Get out there and conquer some chaos.
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