Recently I received an email criticizing me for a particular course we were offering in our community. This person evidently is on our mailing list. It felt great. Not the criticism, no, I do NOT like to be criticized but it turns out I have other feelings as well about criticism and THAT is what felt great.
In Brene’ Brown’s book Braving the Wilderness she opens up about her fears and uncertainties. In particular, when her research teaches her that she will “challenge long-held beliefs or ideas” (p.3), she confesses to self-doubt and fear. Her plan of action, an antidote really, for this kind of personal freakout, is to
“search for inspiration from the brave innovators and disrupters whose courage feels contagious. I read and watch everything by them or about them that I can get my hands on…I do this so that when I need them, when I’m living in my fear, they come to sit with me and cheer me on.” (p.3)
For me, Brene is one of MY go-to peeps for times like these.
So it was GREAT when I received the email while I was studying Braving the Wilderness. Brene has all sorts of amazing vocabulary and stories to help us figure out how to be brave —especially in the midst of criticism. Read her book. It is so good! What I love the most about her work is that she teaches me that brave does NOT equal fearlessness. It doesn’t have to mean we are instantly calm and kind and cool in the face of criticism.
Brave as illustrated by Brown means that we keep plugging away; we learn stuff; we develop strategies that allow us to practice bravery even when we feel like a chicken. She harps, quite eloquently, on this thing called vulnerability and it is working for her. So I will continue to follow her lead.
Along the way I have a couple phrases of my own that I have incorporated; in my next post I will talk about one of them.
In the meantime, let me ask you: how do you feel when a stranger criticizes you, your work, and/or your character?
PS. Here’s hoping you totally cannot relate to criticism from strangers!!