Failure and Feedback

Try New Things Concept

Failure is NOT bad. It means you’re trying new things–which is great!

I’m thinking about feedback this morning. I always ask event organizers for feedback–honest feedback that will help me make my presentations stronger. I’m a really good presenter, but I change my presentations frequently, so feedback is always helpful! I just got feedback that indicated teachers would have liked a template-style handout at my last speaking gig, where I talked about mentor texts in the classroom. I pride myself on presenting useful, practical info for teachers, so I’m kicking myself that I didn’t do that. But…next time!

I love failure. OK, I don’t love it, but I’m a big believer in it. If you’re not failing, you’re not stretching, learning, growing. I truly feel that. So failure (once you move past the disappointment) is something to congratulate yourself on. My lack of including a template and a couple of other practical aspects in my mentor text presentation was a failure. That doesn’t mean I’m a failure or a bad person. It means that every presentation goes through a process of getting stronger, especially the first few times I present it. It hurts that a few teachers left feeling like they wanted more. That’s never what I aim for. But I know the feedback offered is a gift for me and my future attendees, who will benefit from that feedback.

This morning, I listened to a podcast host compare getting feedback to being punched in the gut. But it’s a punch you ask for, so you tighten your abs and prepare for it. And then you don’t whine. Because if you ask for feedback and then you reject it all–making excuses or saying you already knew that or denying the truth of it–then why ask for the feedback at all?

We’ve had a lot of writer clients at Mentors for Rent lately who are at the very beginning of their writing journey. They have a lot to learn about writing for kids. And here’s what’s great. They WANT to learn. They take the feedback. They ask questions. They dig deeper.

I have a lot more hope for those writers than the ones who might be further in their journey or who have more natural writing skill but who are unwilling to take feedback. Occasionally, after a session, I’ll wonder why someone paid good money to get feedback–only to reject it all!

So, before you ask for feedback, whether it’s on a speaking gig, a manuscript, an outfit, a life decision, ask yourself if you’re really READY for feedback. And if you are, tighten your abs and get ready :>)

PLEASE NOTE: No Mentors for Rent clients are harmed in the making of our sessions. We are kind and encouraging, but we do offer honest feedback based on the level of bluntness the client indicates she/he is ready for.


About Laura Purdie Salas

children's writer, poet, reader, visiting author, speaker/teacher, mentor, copyeditor, freelance writer
This entry was posted in Networking, Writing Advice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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