Not all easy days…

“Problems are to the mind what exercise is to the muscles, they toughen and make strong.”

Norman Vincent Peale

There is something exciting about having a good problem to solve. The uncertainty and unknown can be unsettling of course but I have found that to be far outweighed by the joy of a good challenge. It is through tackling tough problems that we learn and grow. I don’t want to have an easy life with no problems to solve. That would be boring and unfulfilling. Sure, at times it would be great if things were smooth and easy, but not all the time. I don’t want all easy days, for easy days don’t inspire growth. How about you?

Embrace criticism…

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”

Norman Vincent Peale

I don’t often repeat quotes within a relatively recent time period (after sending a quote for over 20 years there is bound to be some repetition…) but I was reminded of this quote after a conversation with a colleague yesterday.

“Criticism” carries with it a negative connotation in our language. The dictionary defines it as “the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.”  But I prefer to think of it differently, as positive and enhancing, not negative. If you don’t get real feedback how can you ever improve and grow?

If you play baseball and all you hear is praise you are never going to reach your full potential. If you hit a home run everyone will clap and cheer and that is great. But if you start dropping your back shoulder, and no one tells you, you won’t be hitting home runs for long.

Embrace the feedback, any feedback, regardless of the intent of the person providing it. The key for the receiver is to ensure that we have the intent to use it to grow and get better.

If you are interested here is the blog post from the last time I used this quote.

Too much of a good thing…

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”

Norman Vincent Peale

Praise feels good and at the right moment can be just the thing you need to hear to persevere in a challenging situation.  It can be the catalyst to help launch you to new heights.  Taken too far, it drives the ego and becomes the reason for doing something instead of being recognition for hard work and effort.  

Criticism doesn’t always feel good but it is the most impactful message (for me anyway) that helps one grow and develop.  I know that I have made vast improvements (with tons of opportunity for more growth) based on receiving open and honest criticism.  The key is to have trust in the messenger and know they are relaying the criticism in an effort to help, not harm you.  

When looked at through the lens of leadership it works the same way.   Praise is fun to deliver, criticism isn’t always the same way.  Here again the key is trust.  Do our team members trust that we are delivering both praise and criticism to help them grow and prosper?

As William Shakespeare wrote in “As You Like It,” there can be “too much of a good thing.”  Feedback that is all praise fuels the ego, if it is all criticism it destroys the passion.  The key is to find the right balance and not shy away from one or the other.

 

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