Dismantle the Distortions

One of the biggest blocks to receiving feedback well is that we exaggerate it…
In order to understand and assess the feedback, we first have to dismantle the distortions. This doesn’t mean pretending that negative feedback is positive or adopting untethered optimism. It means finding ways to turn down the volume on the ominous soundtrack playing in our minds so that we can hear the dialogue more clearly.

Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen, Thanks for the Feedback

When we fail a lift or complete a workout slower than we thought we would, most of us don’t take it personally. We don’t get defensive with the barbell. We don’t feel like the whiteboard is judging us. We don’t give the rower the cold shoulder for a week.

We often don’t think of those instances as moments of feedback, but that’s what they are. A failed lift is a piece of feedback on our technique or focus or recovery. A poor workout is a piece of feedback on our sleep or nutrition or pacing.

Most of us are capable of receiving that kind of feedback in stride.

But something else happens when we get feedback about our business.

When somebody criticizes our policies or programming or approach, we take it personally. When we do that, we amplify it. We tell ourselves a truly unhelpful story, one that settles itself deep inside the ancient part of our brain that fears being judged by & ostracized from the tribe.

But a critique, a canceled membership, or a hastily-asked question aren’t that much different than a failed lift or a bad workout. Each is an instance of feedback from which we can learn something about what’s not quite working (yet).

If we ignore the feedback on the platform, we’ll stop making the gains we’re looking to make. Same for the input your members are giving you.

The trick is to learn how to listen - both to the feedback itself & to the voice in your head that never seems to know how to regulate its volume correctly.

Patrick Cummings