Stop Letting People’s Judgments Hold You Back

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    127 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?

    Two things for you to think about

    Do the thing you have been avoiding. If you succeed, you will achieve something great. If you fail, you will learn something great. Either way, something great happens.

    Never let yourself be held back by other people’s fears. People criticize what they are afraid to do themselves. Because bold action reminds them of their own inaction.

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    Two things for you to ask yourself

    If you’re afraid to be criticized: why do you care about the opinions of those who are too timid to do it themselves?

    If you are the criticizer: does tearing down someone who has the courage you lack make you better?

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    Three things for you to try this week

    Stop criticizing. Stop being held back by criticism. Do something this week that you have let the fear of criticism hold you back from doing.

    Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.

    New This Week

    The Hidden Benefits of Working Weird and Awful Jobs (ft. Derek Sivers) – What if I told you that the worst job you’ve ever had might actually be the secret to achieving the success you’ve always dreamed of? That’s a crazy idea I explored on the latest podcast episode with author/entrepreneur/circus clown/all-around badass/great friend of mine Derek Sivers.

    We break down all of the weirdest and worst jobs we’ve ever had—from telemarketing to being a rockstar in Japan—and the important life lessons we gained along the way. Check it out.

    Last week’s breakthroughs (and a question answered)

    In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to give and ask for honest feedback, then see what happens.

    Doug has been asking for more feedback at work:

    In the company I work for, feedback is something that is actively encouraged to be requested/given and is done through our performance review platform. Historically I have been terrible at asking for feedback because I felt cheap and needy.

    This year I have made a point of asking people to document their feedback in the system when they thank me for something (this also elicits more in-depth feedback). Next step for me is asking them to not just put the ‘what went well’ but also the ‘even better if’ side of feedback.

    In the past I’ve not been good at receiving negative feedback (particularly face to face) but I’ve been working hard on my emotional intelligence so I need to test how far I have come and what lessons I still have to learn.

    Annelize is learning to give feedback to the most important person of all, herself:

    For 28 years I neither asked, nor gave, feedback from and to myself.

    I never thought to ask myself: Does this life work for you? Are you happy and fulfilled? And I sure as shit never looked myself in the eyes and admitted/acknowledged that my life was not working for me.

    The result? A morbidly obese body and a spectacular disconnect from living beyond work and home.

    Fast forward to my most recent relationship with an alcoholic: he did one great thing—he taught me to value myself. (Not an easy lesson, but the valuable ones never are.)

    For the first time I looked myself in the eyes and asked the questions I never asked, gave myself the feedback I was too scared to give before. Yikes!

    It is an ever-evolving process and is going to take some time. But I feel empowered, not condemned, and the feedback loop has become my greatest ally as it keeps me heading in the right direction. It also reminds me that I will never again live invisible to myself.

    I genuinely like and enjoy the person I am becoming, and I can’t wait to see where the journey takes me.

    Last but not least, a question from a reader who wants to hone their skill of inviting honest feedback:

    I feel most people feel extremely uncomfortable saying what they really think because of the fear of coming across as rude, offensive, or insensitive.

    What’s your advice for when asking for feedback? What words do I use? How do I approach the subject? Are there any steps one can take to let the other person know that we are willing and able to receive honest feedback or hard truths?

    I find it’s all about framing. You are right that most people are afraid to be rude or hurt your feelings. But if you frame it in such a way that makes them feel like they’re being nice to you, then it makes it easier for them.

    For example, instead of asking, “What am I doing wrong?” ask, “What could I be doing better?” Or instead of asking, “What am I terrible at?” ask them, “Where do I have the most potential to improve?”

    There’s also the classic, “What would you do in my shoes?” or “How do you think it should be done?” which is basically a veiled way of saying, “tell me all of the things you think I’m wrong about.”

    If you’re really looking for the gritty honest truth, then I think that requires a bit more warming up and expectation-setting. It’s also something that I think you have to have enough intimacy with someone for them to do it. Saying things like, “Don’t hold back,” or “You’re not going to hurt my feelings,” or “If I need to hear it, then please tell me,” etc. can help get people there.

    As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

    Until next week,

    Mark Manson

    #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
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