Personal note

For several years, I have been calling myself, with some embarrassment,
“The Stress Solutions Expert Who Had a Heart Attack.” 

I learned a lot from the event that I would not have learned otherwise, and now I can share it with the world.

In the past two weeks, the circumstances surrounding that 2006 heart attack have all repeated themselves, yet I’m OK.  Personnel that I needed to support the opening of the little museum I direct have all fallen by the wayside, leaving me to deal with everything from cleaning for the Memorial Day opening, to scheduling, designing promotional materials, and even making refreshments. A loved one in assisted living who didn’t take her meds ended up being taken to the hospital in restraints, which I found out from a barrage of phone messages when I returned from responding to a false security alarm at the museum…   And my 1888 house… well, I could go on, but I won’t. (There is a lot more.)

Friends and family ask me anxiously if I am taking care of myself; yes, indeed, I am.

The point is this:  the circumstances are the same, but my reaction is totally different. It’s as if I am in the eye of a hurricane; while chaos swirls around me, I am walking through my life, enjoying the beauty I still see around me, somehow finding the time, despite the pressure, to have a joyous social and aesthetic life.

These are the skills I teach now, and I have packaged them in a program for busy and overwhelmed people called

Expand Your Time, Tame Your Tension …

I am delivering a ½ day seminar on this topic on
Saturday, June 9,
from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

in Bloomington, Minnesota.

I didn’t want you to miss out on this content-rich, life-saving session. For more details, just click on this link:  www.CreativeLifeChanges.com/expandyourtime.
Space is limited, so be sure to sign up now.

Handling criticism from other people:
Go for the gain and not the pain

(In my previous article, I talked about the difference between feedback and criticism, and how we can handle our own inner voices more constructively. But what about those outer voices? That’s the topic of this article)

Into each life a little rain must fall.  Into each life a little – or sometimes a lot – of criticism will intrude.

Getting criticism from others isn’t fun, even when we know it will help us improve our performance.   Sometimes it doesn’t; sometimes we become so rattled that our performance deteriorates.

We all know we’re not perfect, but somehow it’s scary to be told that by someone else.

When you get criticism from another person, what can you do?  What if that person doesn’t understand feedback, and just gives you a list of what you did wrong?

There are several things you can do,   The first one is:

Ask for feedback
A while back I watched a contestant on one of these reality shows where one of the judges was well known for making glib, harsh comments to contestants.  Most people on the receiving end of his comments just ducked their heads and looked uncomfortable.  This young woman finished her act; he made his sharp comment.  Then she faced him and said, “What does that mean?  What should I change, or do more of, or less of?”  Startled, he looked at her with new respect and did give her a little feedback.

She was on the right track.  Sometimes you need to ask questions to elicit the information you need.   One of my clients had a manager who frequently told her she was so “aggressive”.  So she asked , “what specifically did I do that makes you feel I am aggressive? How would you have handled that situation or worded it differently?

A helpful critic will be able to tell you.  If he or she can’t, question more deeply:

“When you say I’m “aggressive”, do you mean you think I take charge too much, or that I say things that are hurtful to others, or that my voice is too powerful?”
“Do you feel I’m that way all of the time or just some of the time?”  “Are there some things you feel I have done right?  If so, what are they?”  If you can’t get useful information from this person, discount what they are saying and look for help elsewhere in improving.

Choose your critics:
Insecure people often ask too many people,  “ How did I do?” What do you think?
They get varying comments that simply confuses them and doesn’t help direct them into a better path.
When you want to advance in any field, find someone who is obviously an expert in what you are trying to accomplish; Then make sure that person is capable of giving feedback, not just criticism and that the person is genuinely interested in helping you improve.

Into each life a little criticism must fall, but like rain, you can either let it drown you or you can use it to nourish your growth.

(Next week:  giving feedback to other people in a way that helps the relationship grow.)