How does good feedback push you toward your goals? Where should you go to seek feedback?
According to How Champions Think by Bob Rotella, you should look for supportive people who genuinely want you to succeed for advice. They won’t try to tear you down, but they’ll also give you honest and constructive feedback that you need.
Find out how to get the feedback you need to hear.
Find Support in Others
Another way you can grow from challenges and setbacks is by finding people who can give you advice and support you with your goals, Rotella writes. However, you must also be selective with whom you seek feedback from and learn to distinguish helpful feedback from unhelpful feedback. If you take everyone’s advice, you’ll end up experimenting with different and often contradictory approaches that will only leave you confused, distracted, and frustrated.
To determine who to listen to, Rotella suggests you first find the right people to support you. They should be optimistic and encouraging, yet willing to give you honest and constructive feedback. They should also share your vision and values. He then advises that when you find people you trust, you should treat them with respect and listen to their advice.
(Shortform note: In Who Will Cry When You Die, Robin Sharma suggests assembling a support group of three to four people. He adds that these people shouldn’t just be there to offer you advice and feedback that you can trust, but you should also have something to offer them. Consider arranging weekly meetings where you can support one another with your challenges.)
Even when you trust someone’s opinions, though, you still shouldn’t take their advice without thought, Rotella writes. He suggests you listen to them, but know your strengths and stick with the techniques that suit you best. Their advice may be sound and their techniques may work for others, but they may not match your natural strengths.
Listening to the opinions of people you trust ensures you get constructive feedback that helps you improve rather than unhelpful feedback that damages your self-confidence. Thus, Rotella advises that once you’ve identified people you trust who can give you feedback, you tune out feedback from everyone else. This includes other experts who want to offer you tips, as well as negative and unhelpful people who may try to discourage you. Rotella advises you to ignore these people and not let them affect your confidence or performance.
How to Recognize Helpful Feedback
Many experts agree on the importance of learning how to receive feedback well and provide additional tips you can consider alongside Rotella’s.
In Think Big, Grace Lordan writes that one way to distinguish helpful from unhelpful feedback is to decide, before you seek feedback, what kind of feedback you won’t accept. For example, if you’re a musician, you may decide not to take advice about changing the genre of your music. By deciding this ahead of time, you can ensure you stay true to your identity. This can also help you identify advice that goes against your natural strengths.
While Rotella advises you to only listen to the advice of those you trust and ignore the rest, other experts propose a more nuanced approach. In Ultralearning, Scott Young suggests you accept feedback differently depending not on the person who’s giving it, but the type of feedback they’re giving: Outcome, informational, or corrective. Young suggests you only seek corrective feedback—which identifies your weaknesses and suggests ways to improve—from reliable authorities. But for outcome feedback (which evaluates your results) and informational feedback (which points out your mistakes), you can accept them from a wider range of sources.