Feedback frightens me. It probably frightens you, too. When we pour intense energy into a project, we don't want blunt opinions of our (supposedly) finished work. We crave pure praise from bosses, colleagues or customers. Even minor criticisms can be hard to take. Harsher responses feel like a kick in the gut.
So how can we sidestep those anxieties? How can we embrace what's valuable in other people's comments while still keeping our self-esteem intact? In the first decade of my career, I didn't have a clue. The breakthrough came in my mid-30s, when several dozen people helped me repair a book draft that once seemed unprintable -- and ultimately became "Merchants of Debt," a much-praised bestseller. Those interactions left me with a whole new approach toward soliciting and using feedback.