Entering the arena, sharing and taking feedback with grace


This week I shared with you all the overview of the first chapter of my fledgling book.

I copied and pasted it from google docs, put it in italics so you could tell which bit was the exposition. I added a picture than hovered over the publish button, asked myself, ‘should I, or shouldn’t I’, then I closed my eyes and sent it into the ether. It felt good, a lot better than I expected. I was prepared for people not to like it, I wanted people to tell me what needed adding or changing. I have got feedback, maybe not as much as I wanted if I am honest.So if you have read it and would like to give me some feedback, then please message me. The feedback I have had, has been very useful and heartening so thank you to all those who have given me feedback. That was my first entry into the arena this week and I came out unscathed.

I have entered the arena on 3 other occasions this week, twice delivering Human Factors training to new registrants and yesterday I co-delivered Compassionate Clinical Supervision with Janis. Every time I deliver a course, it always feel like I am entering the arena. I never know how I will perform or how I will be received. This is more exaggerated when delivering solo. You have nowhere to hide when you are up there by yourself. When I am delivering solo I always go through a routine, of preparing my space and my materials. I like to be there an hour before, so I can set the chairs how I like them and write-up my flip charts ready for the day ahead. When I am co-delivering with Janis it is different. There is still the vulnerability of how I will be received as well as learning to work with someone else (learning to dance with each other without stepping on each other toes). This week it worked really well, I felt confident to speak when I wanted to and we just worked in harmony. When I deliver programmes I am always acutely aware that I may get my arse handed to me at any point, and I am okay with that. It will hurt but I will get over it. I have been in the arena and felt that, so I know I can recover, I know it does not mean I am less of a person. Because I make the arena my own everyday I feel at home.

When it comes to feedback whether that is about my writing, coaching or delivering training I am learning to take it with grace. I am practicing not taking it personally, whether it is positive, constructive, or negative. Feedback does not make me a better person, it should make me better at doing and that is all. It is really hard not attach it to my self-esteem. When people give me positive feedback it is hard not to feel a little awkward and proud. Then when someone gives me feedback where I need to improve I feel crest fallen. What I am practicing is to take feedback with grace and use it to improve performance. All feedback is good as it gives me the opportunity to improve my performance. (Can you tell I am still practicing this, hence the little pep talk via the blog).

All I can say is, entering the arena and accepting feedback with grace is still a work in progress.

Keep daring.


Published by Matt Smith Personal and Professional Coach

Performance and Life Coach

2 thoughts on “Entering the arena, sharing and taking feedback with grace

  1. Nice post there and feedback is so useful – I have to say though sometimes reactions are because of the material / content rather than you

    I too deliver human factors sessions and often see some negative responses / defensiveness in participants – I’ve come to realise this is just a manefestation of the culture in healthcare and actually people’s reactions to comments and points I’m discussing around error and harm now is also a point of discussion in its own right – I normall win them round !


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