How’s your week been? I’ve found it a little easier as lockdown has eased and maybe there’s nothing like a proper haircut to raise your spirits. What about you, what have you noticed this week?

And maybe it’s the energy that comes with seeing spring flowers and buds swelling on most of my garden plants, that I too am thinking about bringing forth new things.

Over the winter I created a number of short videos that I called “Resources for Resilience” on topics I thought would help people create some sense of order and control in their lives in the midst of a winter where overwhelm and burnout were scarily close for many and a deep reality for some. Did you find those helpful?

I’d love to know what might help or inspire you going forwards? If I was to turn my years of experience into something that you could watch, where would I start, what would you most want to see?

Possibilities include “The Out of Overwhelm Route Map”, my approach to time and energy management.

Or perhaps you’d love to learn how to overcome procrastination, to make new habits stick or learn how to step out of lockdown into the “new normal” with a greater sense of confidence and direction?

I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts with me – what would help you reset for the fullness of spring and launch you into summer feeling well prepared for whatever the year might bring?

Thank you so much!

So let me get to the subject of this email – can you care too much?

This question was posed by a client this week in the context of evaluating feedback. She was describing that situation I suspect we all know personally: you receive feedback most of which is positive and encouraging but you’re waiting for and find yourself focussed on the elements that we might describe as “could do better.”.

My client shared that her Inner Critic was really focussed on the “See you shoulda done…” message and she felt she couldn’t let it go. We discussed that your Inner Critic is actually only trying to help, yes it has a funny way of going about it but it’s reminding you of what you could improve. And when we focus on the negative side of the message “See what you didn’t do…” it can certainly feel like you care too much.

I shared that when I started teaching and training I might have 20 participants in a group and get feedback from 19 people that they’d enjoyed the session, found activity X particularly engaging and they’d learned something new. A 20th feedback form might say they felt it wasn’t worth it, activity X had been particularly boring and they’d only found the session marginally helpful. How do you not end up ruminating on feedback form 20?!

I asked my client what she thought I should do.

So we agreed you can rarely please all the people all the time.

Different individuals bring different perspectives and different prior experiences.

An honestly held opinion might not be universally true: 19 people can find activity X engaging while 1 person can genuinely not engage.

I could re-visit activity X to see how I might encourage engagement and take pride in the fact that I was already doing pretty well.

Mostly she told me I should focus on the 19 good reports and not dwell on the one “could do better”… Isn’t it strange how we can find it so much easier to advise a friend or colleague than see our own way past our own Inner Critic?

So I asked my client to consider what she could learn from her Inner Critic’s appraisal of her feedback. What was the positive intent, the take away message, the thing she could learn about and do differently next time?

I find that when we turn negative feedback into a discrete message to learn for next time it’s no longer about caring too much. We have an actionable learning agenda – or we decide it’s something we don’t want to change. Either way, we are less likely to ruminate.

So what lesson do you want to learn – from feedback received maybe, or going forward into spring and on to summer?

Please do take a moment to let me know what you’d like to learn – and remember to turn the clocks forward tomorrow if they don’t do so automatically.

Enjoy your weekend!