Have you ever been given feedback that is different to how you perceive yourself, but it had enough of a grain of truth in it and was delivered by just the right person at just the right time that got you thinking about the possibility of change? Even though you may disagree with them?
As a career success coach, my clients are often those looking for a solution to a burning problem that was based on feedback that someone has made about them which is contrary to how they see themselves.
If this feedback is that your behaviour, thoughts or attitudes are holding you back from a dream or goal, this is often an impetus, sparking a fire for change.
I find that my clients who get the fastest, most long-lasting results are the ones who are in a painful place or have just emerged from a painful place and are prepared to do what it takes to commit and persist in order to shift their pain.
Furthermore, I find it is most often other people’s positive and negative comments that help to challenge our thinking and get us moving forward, if we are aware and awake to the opportunity their feedback brings us.
Let’s examine this more closely….
Say for example someone gives you feedback on your performance and you react without thinking by saying,
“Like you are such an expert..."
We may feel justified in what we are saying, but how has this helped either us or the relationship?
When We Get Negatively "Activated" - What is Actually Going On?
Let’s Take a Look…..
1 – You experience a situation which is outside of you which in this case is feedback experienced as being negative
2 – This situation activates a feeling / s inside of you that says you are mad/sad/disappointed/frustrated etc
3 - You have a thought about the situation and you take action and make decisions based on these feelings - and as a result these actions and decisions are at odds with the situation itself and this leads to a negative outcome.
Why Are You Feeling this Way?
- The person who has given you this feedback, or even the event itself is not what is making you mad; what's making you mad and "activating" you are your feelings and subsequent thoughts which have been triggered by the event that are making you feel “mad”.
- These feelings are usually attached to memories of a negative event that happened in the past. And, due to this negative event, you add meaning and make assumptions about the current situation which are not true. Check out the Ladder of Inference for more detail
- As a result you make decisions and take actions which are unhelpful and hinder your success. In effect, your past is holding you back from success in the present
Three Reasons to Let Go:
What are the Effects of Holding onto our Negative Thoughts and Feelings?
- We get stuck and cannot move forward, no matter how hard we consciously try to enact new habits or changes in our lives
- The longer you hold onto your negative feelings around this event, the longer you will remain stuck
- The longer you stay stuck, the deeper the feelings of "stuckness" and overwhelm will get until you cannot move forward in other areas of your life. Those negative feelings start to take over your whole life.
Three Steps: How to Shift Negativity
1. REVIEW YOUR PERSPECTIVE
Ask yourself: is it possible that the other people involved in this situation have a different perspective to mine? If the answer is yes, your story may not be true.
2. LIST THE FACTS:
It is important to identify the facts in the situation. This will help you to separate your feelings from the actual facts of the situation.
For example: I have been hurt by a colleague who told me my report was "a decent enough attempt" I spent hours on that report, how dare they say that is what I think!! And, right there in the moment, did you see it - I created a story about the situation and the person which I will now act out in my behaviour when I interact with this person in future. The result: conflict and further misunderstandings going forward. Whereas, if I take the time to step back and review the facts, they may sound like this:
- I spent hours on my report
- The feedback I got was mostly positive with one person giving me some feedback I didn’t really understand but sounded like a dig.
Given the circumstances, this is the first time I have received feedback from this person that sounds negative – perhaps I need to check with them what they meant by their comment
3. REFRAME YOUR STORY
In this instance by looking at the facts, I can start to see that perhaps I don’t have all the facts and the facts I do have are being swayed by one “seemingly negative” response.
Of course, if there was previous history of negative responses like the one given, the facts would be different and the action I take would be too. In this event, I’d recommend you read this article on how to deal with difficult people at work.
To help you work through these 3 steps, follow the 3 questions below to work through this situation are:
1. “Is it possible that the other people involved in this situation have a different perspective to mine?”
2. “How can I change my thoughts about this event so that I view this in a positive way?” and,
3. “What opportunities are there around me right now that will help me achieve what I really want in my life?”
When it’s too Hard to Re-frame Your Thoughts: Try these Two Techniques
Sometimes it can be very difficult to see the positive. I know a lot of people I coach and train, simply cannot see how to re-frame their situation into something positive. In this case, the reason may simply be because there is too much emotion present.
GET IT OUT: of your body
When we experience the feelings of negativity, our body releases hormones or chemicals that create stress. If we hold onto these, we cause inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation is the cause for most of the diseases we find in the world today.
A simple technique to help you move forward in order to re-frame positively is to give yourself permission to let your emotions out – cry, scream, yell.
Get it out.
GET IT OUT: On Paper
Or, if this idea is too extreme, simply take some time to write out how you are feeling about the situation, its impact and consequences. There is something magical that happens that even Neuroscience cannot explain fully yet when you take your thoughts and put them down onto a piece of paper. Magically, you start to see the situation objectively, a critical step in decision-making.
Allow yourself to surrender those emotions to the situation as it is – to accept your situation as it is. It is easier to surrender than to struggle against the emotions.
Learning How to Surrender and Accept
Become aware of where your past crops up. And, like clouds flitting across the sky, release the feelings, let them go
If you don’t surrender and accept: you face the danger of the same situations cropping up again and again.
You will recycle the same situations which trigger the same negative emotions until you put an end to the cycle.
Your 3 Choices:
- Take the Safe Journey: just do what it takes to survive. This is a safe option and will keep you out of trouble. It may also lead to you feeling unfulfilled and empty.
- Take the Awakened Journey: you take the information I have shared and you step into an uncertain future. You may feel uncertain but you will also feel stimulated, fulfilled and more alive than you ever have before
- Take the In Between Journey: you are sitting on a fence and are waiting. You feel pulled between your old, safe life and your new, uncertain but stimulating and fulfilling life. You are stuck by fear
What choice will you make today?
Drop me a line in the comments section below - I appreciate hearing your insights ;)
Until next time, I will
See you at the top!
Grab Your Cheat Sheet: How to Shift Negativity for Easy Implementation
In today's article I shared a number of different techniques and questions to help you let go of your negativity. Now, get the Cheat Sheet which includes all the key steps to working through and learning to shift negativity to download and work through to help you let go of any negativity that you may have in your life