How to Be More Introspective to Better Process Constructive Feedback was originally published on uConnect External Content.
Being introspective is key to being a better worker – but it certainly doesn’t come easy to everyone.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines introspection as “learning about one’s own currently ongoing, or perhaps very recently past, mental states or processes.”
According to the encyclopedia, “you can, of course, learn about your own mind in the same way you learn about others’ minds – by reading psychology texts, by observing facial expressions (in a mirror), by examining readouts of brain activity, by noting patterns of past behavior – but it’s generally thought that you can also learn about your mind introspectively, in a way that no one else can.”
Introspection can, therefore, help you better process constructive feedback in the workplace. After all, having a strong sense of self and understanding your weaknesses without judgment or shame allows space for you to grow comfortably.
Introspection is proven to help people develop trust, balance positives and negatives, consciously communicate, and observe without interpretation (i.e., not take things so personally). With that said, here are five ways to become more introspective to handle upcoming annual or quarterly reviews – and all sorts of feedback at work – with more grace and gratitude instead of anxieties and insecurities.
Meditation is a science-backed way of becoming more introspective.
A wealth of research suggests that meditation boasts a whole host of both physical and mental benefits. It can lead to decreased stress, less depression, and far fewer anxieties. This is a perfect amalgamation for becoming a better listener, too – especially when what you’re listening to isn’t necessarily easy to hear.
Take up journaling.
Journaling can help you process your thoughts even before you receive any feedback.
If you’re going into a review with your boss in a few days, for example, writing down your feelings about it can help you mentally prepare for the feedback.
You can also write down what you expect to hear – where you think your strengths are and where you think you can improve. This way, you better understand yourself and how you perceive your performance, so you can have a more colorful and constructive conversation about it when the time comes.
Communicate your feelings aloud.
Don’t just write about your thoughts and feelings; communicate them verbally, too.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I just need to talk it out?” That’s because, sometimes, speaking aloud your questions and concerns is all you need to do to become a little more introspective. While introspection involves inward thoughts, sharing them outwardly with the person giving you feedback is one way to help you process them.
Ask yourself more profound questions.
Ask yourself “why” more often.
Consider not just how you’re doing the work that you’re doing it but also why you’re doing it – or why you’re doing it in the ways in which you’re doing it. So, if you receive feedback that suggests you’ve been slow and falling behind lately, don’t just jump to the excuses.
Sure, you might feel tired or burnt out lately – but why?
Are you burnt out because you’re not feeling fulfilled in this work? Or are you tired not because you’re doing too much that drains your energy but because you’re not doing enough that fills you up with energy? Ask yourself questions that dig a little deeper to help you process feedback and take action accordingly.
Jot down your insights.
Writing down the feedback, you receive can help hold you accountable for taking action to create change.
When you have the feedback on hand, you can always go back to it to check in with yourself on how you’re doing. You should always be honest with yourself along the way.
Jotting down insights is also helpful because you might not be able to process all of the feedback at first. Getting told that you’re slacking in some areas can be a tough pill to swallow, and your gut reaction might be to get defensive.
But letting the feedback settle for a few days and having the ability to come back to it in your notes can help you approach and digest it at your own pace – so you can start to tackle it, too.
The bottom line
Performance reviews can be painful – but they don’t need to destroy your morale. In fact, they should do the opposite. But letting a performance review serve as a source of motivation to improve, develop your craft, strengthen your skills, and, ultimately, better yourself in and out of the workplace isn’t always easy.