Improving Your Response To The Opinions Of Others

by | Mar 12, 2018 | Blog

My friends. Yesterday I sent out a long, personal email to my VIP email list and I got hundreds of responses. Many people asked if there was a link to it they could share so I decided to let it live here on the blog. I have no doubt that it resonated with so many people because receiving feedback can be a really hard thing. It’s easy to take it personally, but that is only one option of many. If you aren’t on the free VIP email list, just click here to hop on it.)

If you’d like to listen to this blog instead of reading it, click play. Otherwise, keep reading below.

Hello hello!!

I hope you hare a having a fantastic day! I’m going to be super real & honest with you guys today. That’s not easy to do, but I like to do hard things. It makes me better. Hopefully it makes all of us better. I want to talk to you about what I learned from some feedback I received.

I am grateful for ALL feedback, even when I don’t agree with it, because it’s a really important opportunity for me to practice receiving it well, not making it about the other person, and looking at what I can do better.

Here’s the mistake I used to make with feedback:

I made it all about the person giving it. I made it about how and why they were wrong or how and why their approach sucked. I made it about what they didn’t know and how they should have done it differently. I poked holes in their logic because, as is always the case, their perception of my reality didn’t match my actual reality. But of course, it can’t. That’s not even possible.

Guys, feedback is NOT about the person giving it.

Yes, you can choose to make it about them, but you’ll be unhappy, you’ll lack emotional control and you’ll miss massive opportunities for growth.

Yes, we could choose to call someone judgemental or out of their lane, but that is arguing with reality. They shared their opinion. Choose to be coached by it, even if the only thing you learn is that they don’t have all the facts & their opinion is based on their perception. Their perception is real to them, whether you agree with it or not.

I’m challenging all of us to make feedback exclusively about what you can learn from it. 

You don’t have to believe, accept or agree with all or any of it, but understand there’s something you can learn from ALL feedback, even if it’s just serving as a reminder that you would be better served to stay in your own lane and focus on your own work before YOU give feedback next time.

I can be coached by ANYONE. Every single one of you are my coaches. Every single email is a chance for me to do better, be better, communicate more clearly and know myself more honestly.

Instead of tearing someone down (in my head or in my response) because I don’t like what they said or how they said it, I will learn from them. That’s a choice.

We can all make the giver of feedback the villain, but that would not help.

The feedback I got is not about how the giver of it chooses to see me (that’s entirely their choice). It’s not about the facts omitted or the experiences this person passed up that could have drastically altered their opinion. It’s not about the giver at all. It’s about how I can grow not just from the feedback itself, but also from how I choose to respond to it process it.

Here’s why I’m sharing this with you:

  1. I think we all need to practice improving how we receive feedback as well as how (and when) we give it.
  2. The feedback brought up some things that are actually very relevant to changes I’m making within Primal Potential. In fact, some of the changes suggested are things I’ve already announced on the podcast within the last couple episodes!
  3. I want to encourage everyone who reads this to not place your goals or standards on another person and to not let anyone else place their standards on YOU. 

I’ll start with the easy part.

I wholeheartedly agree with one of the suggestions and had actually already announced it on a couple podcast episodes recently. Essentially, the suggestion was that I should do more video. Yes! You might have heard me share that we are, as of a week ago, moving from 3 podcast episodes a week to 2. There were a couple reasons I shared for this change including:

  • Spending more time with my clients
  • Creating more video

As I mentioned on the podcast, there’s so much I want to do, but sometimes to make time for it, something has to go. In this case, it’s the Saturday episode of the podcast. The new podcast schedule is Monday/Thursday.

Last week I asked on my Instagram story what topics you’d like to see me tackling on video.

The actual words of feedback were that I need to stop hiding. Again guys, I don’t have to agree or disagree. If this person followed me on Instagram, went to ASCEND in Boston, knew how often people stop me & say, “Are you Elizabeth from Primal Potential?” or was coming to my upcoming Masters Club retreat (aka, if the perception more closely matched my reality), the perception would be quite different. But remember guys, feedback isn’t about the person giving it. It’s about the person recieving it. I don’t have to submit to someone’s interpretation of my life or my visibility.

This person is missing a lot of facts and the facts that are missing explain the perception. That’s all. I choose to not tell myself it’s personal.

Someone’s perception can’t possibly match our reality. It’s not fair to expect that of them when getting feedback. A person giving you feedback can’t possibly know or see everything you want them to know or see. You’ll make yourself crazy by holding people to that standard.

(Side note – I make conscious decisions about where things get shared. Instagram stories is where I’ve chosen to share the look inside my own life because my business decision is that Primal Potential is NOT Elizabeth Benton and Elizabeth Benton is not Primal Potential. So if you want to see more of me personally, what I eat, what my days look like, that does exist to the extent I wish to share it with the world and it exists on Instagram stories.)

Then, the feedback suggested that I practice what I preach and lose more weight.

Remember, this is about me, it is not about the giver of the feedback.

I am the only one who gets to decide how much weight I should lose, when I’m happy with my body or the pace of my progress.

No one can decide for me when I’m small enough, lean enough, healthy enough or not.

Anyone is welcome to give their opinion if that’s what they want to do, but I don’t have to take it on as my own.

(Addition: after this email went out, I noticed that CrossFit Games elite athlete Kara Webb addressed this very thing on Instagram yesterday. She’s very lean, incredibly strong and chose to address judgements about her body. No matter what size you are, someone will tell you it’s wrong. Personally, I refuse to submit to that and I hope you will too. I’m going to share her words here because though my body is different from hers, her sentiment perfectly reflects how I feel about my body. The only difference is, she’s 28 and I’m 34.)

This body is 28 years old. Was grown by & is a branch of my sweet, beautiful mum. Cuddles my loved ones. Represents years of commitment and dedication. Will carry my future babies. Is healthy & strong as a result of hard work & good nutrition. Is resilient. Was fortified with persistence. Is not limited to any of the above qualities. I am proud of everything it has done, can do and will do in the future. This is not a byproduct of anything other than what is listed above. If you question it, gawk at it, or need to find another excuse as to why I am this way, I assure you this makes you weak & foolish. If in your eyes, true grit seems so far fetched than you will never get to experience that satisfying feeling of pure accomplishment as a result of my favourite phrase right now…Relentless Persistence.

Obviously our bodies are different but if you’re here, you know where I started and I couldn’t agree more. What got me here was relentless persistence. What keeps me going is relentless persistence. And that relentless persistence is me practicing what I preach. I wouldn’t personally call someone weak & foolish but her point reinforces mine:

no one gets to set goals and standards for my body other than me.

I am BEYOND proud of where I am in my journey and I can respect that someone might feel my pace & priorites should be different.

However, as for the giver of any feedback, I cannot expect anyone to know, understand or respect what it has taken for me to get here and what I’ve been through along the way. That’s not a fair or reasonable expectation.

Someone’s perception of my body is just that. It’s shaped by their beliefs which may or may not have anything to do with my reality.

This is why I’ll never make judgements about someone else’s body or suggest that they practice what they preach because, quite frankly, there’s just too much I can’t know and too many judgements that would require I make. 

Someone telling me that I don’t practice what I preach is kinda like telling me I have green hair & purple eyes. It’s more a reflection of their view than my reality.

That one doesn’t ruffle my feathers there because I’m solid and confident in my choices and my DAILY application of what I talk about on the podcast. In fact, I share that application with my clients every single day. I am human & I apply the principles I talk about

I should practice what I preach? I agree. And I do. The end.

I care much more about what I think about my choices than what someone who isn’t in my life thinks about my choices.

I know for sure that some people think, “Well, you have a podcast. You put yourself in the position of being a leader and leaders are judged.”

I agree about the leader part. The judgement part is up to the individual. I do, however, need to clear something up.

My leadership is NOT based on the principle that everyone NEEDS to be in a mad dash to weight loss and that they aren’t done until they just can’t possibly lose anymore.

This makes me more determined than ever to be super clear about what Primal Potential stands for and what it doesn’t. What I, Elizabeth Benton, stand for and what I don’t.

I stand for every one of us pursuing our best life and our highest potential.

That will have different shapes. Different sizes. Different paces & different priorities.

I won’t rush you or myself. I won’t judge you. I want you to know that this space and this community is above placing priorities on others and I do not have the view that there is one acceptable size or shape and everything else reflects incompleteness.

I will fight for that for every one of you and I will stand for that in my own life.

If you want to hear more about my perspective on maintenance and shame around not losing weight faster, please listen to episode 463.

To anyone who is wondering: I am not ashamed. When I first got divorced, I was. I felt like a failure. Thank God my mindset has improved since then through hard work and maturity. I won’t take on anyone’s pace for my progress. I am proud. Immensely proud. I am not doing something wrong. What I am doing is right for me.

THAT’S what my leadership is about.

I’m not here to do it the way you think I should. And I’m not here to tell you my way is the right way.

But as long as I’m learning, growing, improving every day, taking great care of myself and being honest, I feel good.

That’s not defensiveness, it’s confidence.

If you don’t believe in my approach, that’s 100% okay. Simply stop following me. There are so many amazing voices with different opinions. Find one that resonates with you. Don’t invite noise into your life that you disagree with. Zero hard feelings. I don’t want you here if it’s not right for you.

If you don’t trust me, we have two options: reach out to let me know how we can work together to build that trust. Alternatively, find someone you connect with.

If this is your tribe and you trust me and my approach feels right for your world, I am so glad you’re here and I respect your pace, your goals and where you’re at right now.

To all of you who provide your feedback in any form, thanks for helping me be a better version of myself and for making Primal Potential a better community.

Regardless of your values, priorities or delivery, I respect and honor your opinions.

The Primal Potential Podcast

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