feedback is a gift

give it responsibly

shelby spees's photo
shelby spees
·Sep 19, 2020·

2 min read

(Copied from my original twitter thread and edited for readability.)

Feedback is a gift. People criticize because they want things to be better. Criticism != being a hater.

That does not mean that the critic isn't responsible for how they deliver the feedback. Don't be a jerk. The goal should be getting everyone on the same page, in agreement. This is not a novel idea and navigating it requires nuance. And as always, impact > intent.

I have rejection-sensitive dysphoria (not as bad as some people in my life, but it's definitely there oof). If I'm poked in the vulnerabilities it'll take me out for hours. I cry, it's a physiological response. I'm not as embarrassed about it as I used to be, but it still sucks.

I'm also nitpicky as fuck. I've gone overboard critiquing and revising other people's work, beyond what's reasonable. I've pissed people off before, or otherwise negatively impacted them.

You think I'd be more sensitive to people's feelings, considering how sensitive I am.

I think I naively assumed that "successful" people wouldn't be affected by criticism the way I am. I'm a wimpy loser so of course they should cushion things, but they're experienced professionals, they're leaders. It won't even faze them.

I think it was when I was talking to Corey Quinn yesterday and I said something about how I'm objectively successful according to my goals from ~5 years ago. And I realized like damn, you can reach success and still feel like a loser all the time? Literally nobody* has ever discussed such a thing before.

(*I'm kidding)

So anyway my brain is going off on a million threads on the topic of criticism, but I think I'm having a realization about the relative power I hold now, and the responsibility it comes with. By most standards I'm still a nobody, but in the places I'm not, I need to be mindful. And more importantly: I need to start acting like my words and actions carry more weight than I think they do.

Leadership has a way of sneaking up on people, I think. (Those who aren't sociopaths obviously, I can't speak to that experience.)

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