My Speckled Rear End
Remember that day in elementary school when you walked out of the bathroom with your skirt stuck in the back of your tights?
Or the day that you wore your pajamas to school and it was not pajama day?
I had one of those moments recently.
After returning to the office from a lunch meeting, one of our staff ladies discreetly asked me “Jenni, what’s on the back of your dress?” When I turned around, I discovered the back of my navy blue dress was splattered with white spots. And when I say splattered, I mean s-p-l-a-t-t-e-r-e-d! I’d been prancing around town sporting a speckled rear end. Turns out the chair I sat in at lunch had recently been wiped down with bleach water and left enough behind to ruin my dress… and my day.
Bleach. The agent I love when I’m scouring my house and satisfyingly killing every germ in it’s wake, had now become my great nemesis. A small amount of it properly diluted kills germs, cleans and sterilizes. Used in excess it can quickly destroy something good.
And bleach isn’t the only thing that works like that in my life.
My critics are a bit like bleach. In small doses critics can be very helpful and necessary to provide perspective to your leadership. But in concentrated amounts, critics can eat you alive.
If you are in any type of leadership, you are probably well aware that critics exist. (They have an uncanny way of finding you.)
I’ve observed that our tendency though is to do one of two things:
1) We either ignore critics altogether and keep ourselves calloused to their remarks, not gleaning anything that could be helpful or important for us to learn, or
2) We absorb every comment we receive from them and agonize over the criticism
Critics can have a functional purpose when we use them correctly, but if they are constantly ingested, constantly given a voice, they will paralyze you.
How can you more carefully handle your critics?
When should you let them in?
When do you need to shut them out?
How can you determine which critics are just poisonous and which ones are necessary for your growth?