Consider the source before you ask for feedback...
Feedback on your work is essential for growth...
but make sure you qualify the source of that feedback first!
The other day, while I was checking out a fellow photographers’ work, I had a very interesting realization.
He is a headshot photographer who is branching out into branded lifestyle portraiture, and was looking for some feedback on his latest session.
Since he’s my friend, and I love looking at portraits, you know I’m game!
With over 300+ photos in the library, we went through every frame, and I shared my thoughts and insights regarding each photo, exploring how the decision making behind each image can be improved upon for future sessions.
At the end of the call, he mentioned to me that he took a couple pages of notes on what I was saying. For some reason, this surprised me.
When I expressed that to him, he responded, “I can be pretty arrogant about my work, but, when it comes to learning from people who are more experienced than me, I listen and take notes.”
His response brought up an interesting point that I believe gets lost on a lot of entrepreneurs when they are building their businesses.
When we venture out and do something different that challenges us in completely new ways, that places us in a very vulnerable position, especially if we are someone who has experienced success in previous, professional endeavors.
As a result, we actively seek validation from others that yes, this idea is useful, and yes, I'm on the right track.
But, the one mistake that many of us make early on - and that certainly includes me - is that we don’t qualify the sources of this feedback, we just want an outside perspective from someone willing to share their 2 cents.
And this is problematic.
What ends up happening for many of us in this position is that once you receive feedback about your product or service, you immediately look to implement the suggestion…
...and end up falling down a gigantic, rabbit hole that takes you way off track - this ends up compounding our frustration and keeps us stagnant.
As an artist, I’ve received critiques and feedback on my work for years, and, when it comes to my personal work, I’ve placed my qualifying filter over my ears and eyes for years.
But, that’s also because I’ve been creating for all of my life.
But, when it came to embarking on an entrepreneurial endeavor, that put me at square one, so my uneasiness and vulnerability sought validation from anyone with a pulse.
And my business direction shifted and swerved all over the place for years, as a result.
Don’t make that mistake, folks.
When you ask a colleague, friend or mentor for advice on a looming business decision, consider the sources' expertise and experience in this area of their business first.
Are they someone you look up to in terms of their work? Do they have a proven track record? Are they empathetic and understand your line of thinking? Or, are they just interested in hearing themselves talk and looking to pat themselves on the back for your success?
Take the time to really think about who you want to reach out to for authentic and productive feedback.
It will save your legs from jumping down a lot of rabbit holes, :)
Have you ever been sent down a rabbit hole with some uninformed advice? What happened and how did you back out of that hole?
PS - For those of you who aren’t in the know, I mail out these blogs 3x a week, and lemme tell you, they’re a real party, so, if you’d like to get in on this, sign up for it here and I’ll throw in a free gift for you, because I care, :)