Candid Feedback – How Do You React? AKA Pushing Reset

Photo credit: Luis Villasmil, Unsplash

A good friend and I were talking the other day about the fact that ever since I’ve returned from my 4-month cross-country travels that I just haven’t been the same. I feel distracted, disoriented, “off” my game, a little aimless, and not able to manage my time the way I know I can. I mean people think I’m a rock star with my “multi-tasking” skills, but the truth is, I’m not always a rock star. Sometimes I can barely play chopsticks.

My friend was gracious. She said, “Ginger, perhaps you just need to realize it’s ok to be in this space for now. Take the rest of December and feel the feels, be “off,” whatever – but then start preparing now – that in January – you get to press the reset button and have a fresh start. I love New Years, because psychologically it feels like another chance.” I couldn’t agree more.

Today I received candid feedback from my apprenticeship for school. For the most part the feedback was what everyone wants to hear – great to work with, brings fresh perspectives to the team, ya know – all the feel good things.

But what happens when you hear part of your work was “unacceptable?”

– Do you become defensive so you can justify why?

– Do you ask more questions to see why they said that?

– Do you fully own it and try to learn from it?

For me, I always try to learn from it. My time management skills this semester have been way less than stellar. I suppose I’ve always struggled with time management, but this summer and fall I’ve been unusually “off my game.” And they noticed. And they said something. And I appreciate it.
I don’t have any excuses. I have reasons, but they aren’t important because my reasons should not impact others in a way that could prove to be somewhat detrimental. I’m thankful this was a learning opportunity on both of our parts and that they were able (and willing) to find work that challenged me, yet also aligned with my skill set. We’ve all grown as a result of our working relationship, and the good news is the team values no BS and candid conversations, so I wasn’t offended in the least when I saw the “unacceptable” on that specific line of evaluation. The rest of the feedback was “exemplary” and “accomplished,” so it makes me happy to see I contributed in positive ways.

So what do you do when you get feedback that stings a little – that might even hurt your ego? Do you argue and justify and start a gossip train about how you feel so misunderstood and how could they even say such a thing about you?


Do you just own it, figure out what went wrong, and then make a goal to improve? I choose to own it. I choose to say, yes, I’ve been distracted, I haven’t managed my time well, and I need to address this for the future (and then do it).

The great news is, these evaluations are opportunities for growth in both directions. They give us an opportunity to own our stuff and be held accountable, while still contributing in some very positive ways. They help us be better at what we do.

So here’s to “unacceptable.” It’s not such a dirty word – it’s an opportunity to press the reset button and do better next time.

What do you think?