Episode 6: Criticism
A few reasons we (yes, we) don’t go and pursue our dreams: 1. fear of not getting it right 2. timing and 3. concerned we are going to make a mistake and people are going to judge us. Well I have news.
We will make mistakes and people will judge.
Now that we’ve acknowledged that, how can we fail and then move forward?
You will learn from the mistake and the judgement. The criticism will help you be better. I want to share a story with you. The day I dreaded the most in college was Wednesday. Wednesday was the day in my creative writing class in which we were forced to share our assignments to the class. As a sophomore, taking this class with mostly juniors and seniors, I was intimidated by my talented classmates. These same talented people whose work I admired would be providing me feedback on my work. All the feedback made my pieces better for sure. Still the day before critique days would keep me up at night. My professor suggested I attend and participate in the local open mic night. Her theory was to build stronger tolerance to feedback and judgement. The additional element of judgement from strangers instead of my classmates was unnerving. I went from participating in open mic night my sophomore year, to hosting open mic night my junior year. The process made me not only comfortable receiving criticism, but craving the feedback to get better. Sure, there were harsh comments and times I felt misunderstood. Those feelings were significantly outweighed by the times I got so much help and support. Thinking back, I was such a stronger writer in college thanks to the repetition of writing and then facing the regular critique of my work. Its a process I am trying to reproduce here to rebuild that muscle. Publicly learning a new skill set like podcasting and blogging surely will attract judgement and criticism.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that bright 19 year old girl in college and how I’m a bit different today. I’ve allowed some setbacks and failures over the last 20 years to dim that light just a bit. I’ve lost some of that 19 year old bravery that propels you to be risky without regard of failure and then the rewards that come from that. I think about how many times I’ve hesitated to try something out of fear of making a mistake and the judgement that will follow. Going forward I will draw from 19 year old me. The 19 year old that was fearless. I want to be the kind of person and writer that would amaze her.
What’s holding you back from what you need to do today?