“If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.” – Brené Brown
How many of you have ever received unwelcomed and unsolicited feedback about you or an aspect of your life? Often times the “critics” who deliver this “feedback” are typically the same people who have the most difficulty accepting feedback themselves!
Recently I had a conversation with a person who felt free to tell me (in advance of any action on my part) that I’d better not go back to an aspect of who I was or they would call me out on it!
While I am a fan of accountability partners, I am not a fan of being held accountable by a person (whom I may love) taking on this role without my consent.
OK, so for those who know me, you know that a chill slowly crawled up my spine as the fangs came down and my body started expanding far beyond the stitching of my clothes like this girl! ———————->>>>>>
Sexy? Maybe. Mad as hell… ABSOLUTELY!
I understand that the person providing the preempted feedback cares for me, but what I choose to do, or not do is completely and totally my decision. This is true whether they call me out on it or not! I am a very independent adult who claims full responsibility for my life. Besides, treating me as if their “call out” is something I should fear…I’m sorry, is just bullshit! After everything that has happened in my ARENA… all of the blood, sweat, tears, and gnashing of teeth do they really think I’m going to listen to a person wearing a clean and bloodless tee-shirt with the pointless word “Warrior” across the front? NOPE!
I thought about the conversation for a few days. I thought about what I should have said, and reviewed over and over what they meant by this or that until it came to me… the experiences in my ARENA are frankly, none of their beeswax! I also realized that although they meant well, what they were really asking me to do was to play small (I won’t get deeper into the dynamics of the relationship… that’s a whole other blog)!
Now, I am not naive enough to think I know exactly what people are thinking, but I am intuitive and I trust my intuition. In my many years of living it has yet to let me down. My intuition told me to “do you honey boo-boo!” Yeah, that pop culture colloquialism is not one I use in my daily life, but that’s what my Goddess within told me to do!
A couple of days later I read a post made by a coach on a popular business networking site. The words of the post resonated with me so I did something I never do. I started reading the feedback from other professionals. These people were HARSH! I mean… they were accusing her of plagiarizing the story, others quite disrespectfully shortened her name to sound like an overly feminized child of six as if she were a complete ditz. I was appalled! When people posted positive remarks of support reminding others of the good intentions they too were pummeled by a barrage of negative and insulting comments. I wondered if the original poster would ever post anything again. BUT…Alleluia, she did! AND she did not respond to or acknowledge the critics of the prior post!
I’ve read and studied many modern day influencers. The most successful of which do not read comments at ALL. I’m sure they have people who look for the constructive thoughts that can move the needle thematically, but they themselves are completely oblivious to the “negative noise” from their critics.
In my years of disability, I’ve received feedback from people sitting in the nose bleed section about the way I should be as a disabled person:
- “You should graciously accept help needed or not.”
- ‘You shouldn’t be disturbed when people help even after you’ve declined the offer.”
- “You should allow people to help you for their benefit!”
- “You should get up and walk, you’re just lazy!”
Step into my ARENA, roll a day on my wheels, then we’ll talk!
Let’s think about feedback from our critics. Many people have opinions about our lives whether they make us aware of them or not. When should we listen and consider taking feedback on board?
- Work or business related feedback from your boss, clients, associates, customers, etc who have a major impact on your job or business success should be considered and clearly understood. You ALWAYS have the opportunity to change jobs, or no longer do business with a person if you choose. But, if you choose to “stay and play” you may need to flex to their constructive feedback.
- If you ask for the opinion of a mentor, coach, family member, friend, etc, hang on for the ride. Asking for thoughts may open a pandora’s box of stuff that you may not agree with or might even take personally. Again, it is important that you clearly understand what they are telling you. Asking questions (“Can you tell me more about…” or “Would you mind giving me an example of….”) will provide you with clarity and will add to the credibility of the feedback.
- If the person is a part of your personal Board of Directors you will probably at least need to think seriously about their constructive criticism. By way of explanation, I view myself as the CEO of my life… as such I have a Board of Directors whose opinions of me deeply matter. The members may change but there are typically 3 but no more than 5 members. Any more than 5 (and I think 5 is a lot) and things can get rather confusing. Conflicting advice, different experiences, and expertise can lead you down a path of inaction and a feeling of not knowing what to do. Ever take a trip with more than 4 or 5 people. No one can agree on anything and everyone has to accommodate to keep the peace. That’s how it works in your life as well!
When should you ignore the feedback? Well if you must read comments or listen to the thoughts of others consider the following:
- Is it mean spirited and/or unrelated? For example, if you step out and try something risky and someone says they didn’t like your outfit…that is unrelated. If they say “you’re ugly!” that is unrelated AND mean spirited.
Is the person in the ARENA with you? Do they have skin in the game? Have they invested significant money, time, resources, etc? Do they have a true whole-hearted investment in you and/or the project. By way of example, a partner, who has risked a financial investment, quit their job, travels with you, helps create content, and/or business opportunities, and shows up with you day after day, this person is “in the ARENA!” Their feedback may be of the utmost importance as they have just as much or more to lose.
- Is the comment based on fear (usually projecting their fear or regrets into your life)?….run! This feedback typically sounds like… “If I were you, I’d…” “I would never…” You should never…” “That’s ridiculous…” or “You can’t…”
Let’s make sure we know who’s in the ARENA! Our families, well-meaning friends, strangers, and online commenters are usually YELLING from the cheap seats. They may cheer and/or shout instructions, but they ARE NOT arms reach from the incoming punch of the ass kicking.
Move forward with your life. It’s your life. You own your success or failure. Allowing negative and unhelpful feedback to seep into your psyche will restrict you, stifle you, stunt your growth, and keep you playing small.
Wanna do big things? Dream big, and take action!
Want something better? Do something different! Take advice from people who have achieved success in your area of focus. They may not be in the arena with you now, but they can certainly tell you how you might avoid being kicked in the forehead!
My ARENA is closed, and my stadium only seats about 5 and it is sold out! Yup, there’s a line of people outside trying to get in but my security is tight.
Who is in the ARENA with you? Who is on the Board of Directors in your life?
C’mon peeps the bell is dinging round 4… It’s time to go back in!
Love, Light, and Comment Boundaries!
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3 thoughts on “The ARENA”
I wouldn’t want you any other way‼️ 😘
I hope I am in a small way in your arena. Love you
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My ARENA is cake compared to yours my sister! I am here for YOU! Love you back!