For many, the excitement that comes from getting a gift is almost indescribable.  There is great anticipation as we unwrap and open the special package - removing all the excess, to uncover something for which you longed or simply desired. Gifts bring so much joy!

So, why would anyone compare receiving feedback to a gift? Getting feedback can be uncomfortable and sometimes it’s simply scary. It causes us to look at a practice or problem that we might rather ignore. Feedback (unless only positive) is typically an unwanted gift. The kind you wish you could re-gift or return! This is especially true when the person providing the feedback may not be the most eloquent or tactful person we know.

As we go into the holidays, I challenge you to shift your mindset about feedback regardless of the delivery style (that’s their problem, not yours). In this season of giving “thanks” or “counting our blessings,” allow yourself to be grateful for the feedback you have been provided. To embrace this mindset shift, allow your heart and mind to Receive, Recall, Reflect, and Relate the feedback you have been given as a gift for your personal and/or professional growth. Below are a few steps to put these four R’s in action.


It is important that you are in a position to receive feedback. If you are not open to receive feedback you will shut down or shut out the opportunity for growth. To receive feedback, you must check yourself. Although feedback is personal, it is typically not a personal attack. Let your guard down and open your mind and choose to see the positive learning opportunities. For example, is the glass half empty or half full?


Take a moment to review any written or verbal feedback. After you have done your best to let it “sink in” - go back to the source who provided the feedback and seek clarity in a non-confrontational manner. When seeking clarity ask questions and be prepared to write responses down. Remember when you are recalling something you don’t provide an explanation, you only ask questions and take notes.


Reflect on the natural responses to feedback and determine where you fall. This will help you with being honest with yourself so you can truly make the most of the opportunity and utilize the feedback for growth. Consider reflecting on natural responses to feedback found in the SARAH model: Shock, Anger, Resistance, Acceptance, and Honest Effort. Your personal knowledge of where you fall, will assist with you moving into the direction of application of feedback.


Take a moment to relate the feedback to your growth. This can be done by asking questions like, how can this impact my personal and professional outcomes? Is this something I have tried before? Did I really try it or just give it a half-hearted effort? How can I try it in a different way? How will I monitor and assess success or lack of? After asking questions, it is important that you create a plan of action to apply the feedback and determine its success so you make changes where needed. Remember a plan that does not have an assessment component is not beneficial to growth and ultimately useless.

No matter how you perceive feedback, it is a gift. A gift of growth for all professionals. Never isolate yourself from accepting it or restrain yourself from giving it. These are my thoughts. Let me hear from you! How have you been able to capitalize on the feedback when it has been given to you even under uncomfortable circumstances? Feel free to communicate with me at If you are interesting in attending a training session on "Effective Feedback," please contact us at

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