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Feedback fear illustration: A poor soul goes through all sorts of internal doubts about what they might have done wrong and how they might have failed when someone gives a friendly suggestion to ask what others think

Feedback fear

Feedback is how we get better. It's how we find out what we couldn't see ourselves. But there are many reasons why it's more challenging to gather than we might hope.

You might have a design prototype, a book or article draft, a new practice you want your team to adopt, or a project you've been working on. Feedback will make it better, but it's easy to feel anxious.

You might want to avoid having to talk to people. Maybe you're worried about what others think—perhaps they won't like it. Maybe you'll have to start over. Maybe you'll hear what you know deep down. Maybe you might see that others could do it better than you, that it shouldn't be you that's doing it. Maybe you'll find out that you're a failure.

If we care about achieving the best outcome, we can dispel most of these fears with a few moments of reflection—of course, I'm not a failure for trying!—but it doesn't mean they feel any less real at the time. As is often the case, action can be the solution, and gathering feedback is, in my experience, usually energising and confidence-building—now you can see what will make your project fly.

Jane Austen was known to read her novels aloud to her family for both evening entertainment (pre-Netflix) and to help revise and hone her writing.

Some strategies to get past these fears:

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