I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught. ~Winston Churchill
Last week I received some feedback that set reeling and questioning my own abilities. While the feedback was kind of, but not surprising, it still caught me off guard and ended up resetting my tone for the remainder of the day. I went from being happy and productive to being critical and non-productive. On top of that, I had a scheduled meeting at school with my younger son’s teacher to discuss his progress.
When I arrived at the school office, my son was waiting for me; he could tell something was up by the look on my face.
“What’s wrong, Mom?” he asked me.
“I’m a little disappointed about some feedback I received today” I replied, without going into any details.
My son looked in my eyes and said, “It’s not the end of the world, Mom.”
“I am disappointed in myself, not the actual feedback,” I clarified.
“I know, but it’s not the end of the world. Get over it.” He said.
Hearing my son’s words and seeing the look on his face changed my attitude and got me back on track for our meeting.
After the meeting, I thanked my son for setting me straight with him telling me it’s not the end of the world.
“What made you say that to me?” I asked.
“You tell me that when I get frustrated” he replied matter-of-factly.
I guess my kid listens.
Later, that evening, a friend I hadn’t talked to in a while texted me; I apologized, telling her I was a bit off and had been berating myself earlier in the day.
“Everyone has an off day. All a learning experience; what do you think it taught you? See, now I’m the coach,” she said with a smiling emoji.
I love that my friends listen.
After dinner, I propped my feet up and settled into my comfy chair in the corner of my office. I thought about how hard I had been on myself, how I let some not-so-great feedback bring me down. I had been critical, admonishing myself, wondering what I could have done differently.
I closed my eyes and thought about the feedback; it had not been meant to be harsh or critical, it was just feedback and rightly so: I could see how I had missed an opportunity to expand, a chance to more effective, and efficient, but rather than pausing to regroup, I ignored the cues.
I had not listened to my gut instinct; that was a mistake, not a failure. To me, making a mistake means you can learn from it and fix it, so it doesn’t happen again. Instead, I had failed: I had allowed my Inner Critic to berate me; it was a failure because I had taken the wrong action, berating, rather than recognizing what it was: just a mistake.
I pondered a bit more, breathed a sigh of relief, and then let it go. My son was right, it was not the end of the world, just a learnable moment.