Nope, we aren’t talking about giving criticism here. We’re talking about getting it? Here’s what we mean:
by Tara Sophia Mohr
It’s happened to all of us: feedback on our creative work has, at one time or another, caused us to get stuck. Maybe a client hated your designs, and your confidence was shaken for the months that followed. Or a client hated your designs, and you wasted hours arguing with them in your head. Or maybe it’s the quieter criticism of no response at all—to blog posts or a new offering in your business—that has you feeling demoralized.
All of these are ways we get “hooked” by criticism – caught by it in ways that limit us. What we want instead, of course, is to be able to hear and incorporate useful feedback, without the personal wounding or creative blocks that so often come with it.
Over the past several years, I’ve had the privilege of working with creatives, entrepreneurs, and leaders to help them unhook from criticism, so they can have more impact and feel a greater sense of freedom in their work. I’ve also abandoned creative pursuits I’m passionate about—writing, dance, performance—because I got so hurt by feedback that I could no longer keep creating. I had to find my way back to creating consistently, in spite of the ups and downs of audience receptions to my work. And now, as a working writer and entrepreneur, again and again, I have to unhook from praise and criticism all the time.
Through all of that work I discovered there are a few tools and practices we can use in our daily lives to completely change our relationship to criticism for the better. These key concepts are a core part of what I teach and what I’ve written about in my book, Playing Big.…