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  • Writer's pictureDillan Taylor

Throw Your Baby in the Fire

One of the most crucial life skills to master is the art of receiving feedback.

Again, this is a skill: something which can be developed and improved with intentional practice.

It is understandable why most of us are so bad at taking criticism. We’ve created something. We took time and vulnerable energy out of our day or week to put something together. We love this thing.

Then we hand it off to someone who wasn’t here to see how hard we worked on it. We say, “Please, any and all feedback would be great.”

But it isn’t great. It stings. We question our relationship with this person immediately after their first utterance of suggestions.

How dare they impartially give me exactly what I asked for? How dare they not take one look at it, confirm that it’s perfect, and disprove each and every one of my insecurities??

No, silly. This is supposed to be an uncomfortable experience.

You’ve just created something out of thin air. Your very essence is identified with it. It’s your baby.

But you only see it from one perspective: that of unconditional love and acceptance.

If you genuinely care to improve this thing–to make it as good as it can possibly be, you need to give it to someone who will respectfully tear it to shreds. You need someone who loves you to make you cry.

Last week, I put together my new Superhero coaching page. The first thing I did (the first thing I always do) was send what I built to a select few who are much more talented than I am. One of whom was a writer. One of whom, a web designer.

I had not planned for this, but they each responded with a full page of notes. The writer dissected every nook and cranny for punctuation and grammatical errors. The web designer broke the page down visually from the eye of a viewer being marketed to. There was not one bit of feedback that was repeated by the other.

This couldn’t have been more helpful, but as I was making my adjustments, it didn’t take long for my defensive walls to raise.

Moving down the page, as I read the note “You wouldn’t use a semicolon here,” I found myself mocking the edit in my head with the voice of a child.

No. Stop it. I had to restrain my emotions.

After applying all the feedback given by my two confidants, the page–which I was already incredibly happy with–looked 20 times cleaner.

My advice: If you actually care about what you’re creating, you have to allow people you trust to destroy it.

We need objective, non-attached eyes to chuck our babies into the fire. Then, out of the ash, we can grow and guide them to become stronger than we could ever imagine.

Find your team. Use them. They care about your improvement.

It will ache. But it will also give you wings.

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