Receiving Help and Feedback… Why Is It So Hard?

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Seeing this picture made me laugh really hard. Don’t worry, this is definitely not what I look like at the gym. However, I have recently been trying to increase the weights that I am lifting. I was working on my deadlifts and trying desperately to balance holding the bar with one hand and put on a weight with the other, all while trying to still look cool. Needless to say I was failing miserably, especially at the looking cool part. Luckily one of the people that I see at the gym every morning saw me desperately struggling with the weight (see image above for a similar look) and offered me help. One thing you will learn about me is that I hate accepting help but in this moment I sucked up my pride and accepted it. Thankfully I did because I was either going to drop the weight really hard or sit there for the next hour struggling (at least I would be getting my heart rate up).

Retelling this experience to my husband was also an eye opener. After he stopped rolling around on the floor from laughing at me, he commented on my inability to receive help. Specifically my inability to receive constructive feedback. He has a very good point. He tried to show me how to improve my deadlifts and I made some pathetic excuse like “Oh, well my legs are sore so I can’t do it properly now.”

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Why is it so difficult to hear feedback? I have always struggled with receiving feedback and would like to continue to work on this. Although I have set many goals for 2014 I want to add being open to receiving feedback. Growing up I was a decent athlete with good genetics. Our Dad is an incredible athlete and at one time was drafted into the CFL. He currently races outrigger canoes and is part of the Canadian National Master’s team. Needless to say we have some good athletic genes. Reflecting back on my earlier athletic career, I always wondered what kind of athlete I would have been if I would have swallowed my pride and heard what my coaches had to say to me. I went on to play college soccer and was always a good athlete but I could have been better. What other areas of my life could I improve on? My job, relationships, family, etc.?

Do you struggle with receiving help or feedback? Here are some tips:

1. Is this person trying to help me or harm me? Few people get up in the morning with the intention of making our lives miserable. Assume that people in our lives want the best for us and are trying to contribute to our overall happiness. If this person’s intention is to try and help us then we need to open our ears and our mind.

2. Be objective: Do not take the feedback personally. If someone is trying to adjust your positioning while doing a deadlift, they are NOT attacking you as a person. It is normal to be defensive when receiving feedback but try to avoid letting your emotions close your ears. Remember that you are not under attack.

3. Adjust your attitude: Attitude is the key here. Try to view feedback as an opportunity to improve as an athlete, friend, parent, coworker, etc. Welcome feedback into your life and embrace it in your relationships. When you are open to feedback you may find other people around you are more open to it too.

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne W. Dyer

I am sure many of our goals are for a healthy and happy 2014. Would being open to receiving help and feedback make it a better 2014 for you? Does anyone else struggle with receiving feedback? Do you have any tips on what you do to deal with feedback or receiving help? Share your experiences with us!

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4 thoughts on “Receiving Help and Feedback… Why Is It So Hard?

  1. julie heppner

    This is an area I could definitely work one. I once donkey-kicked Mo in the stomach when she commented on my less than awesome feet in front of my boyfriend. Tisk tisk…haha sorry bout that! We expect perfection out of ourselves and it can be devastating when we realize we’re far from it, especially in front of people that matter a lot to us.

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