“I receive some criticism at work and I feel discouraged about it.”
“I’d like to talk with you when you get a minute,” said the email on my computer screen.
I’d never received an email like this from this friend so I replied immediately. “Sure,” I typed, “I’ll come to your office tomorrow.”
When I arrived at my friend’s office we shut the door and I looked across his desk to see his face’s darkened countenance. He was clearly hurting. My heart went out to him; I’ve had such feelings of self doubt myself on occasion.
“I’ve never had someone complain about my work before.” He said. “They said they were only trying to help me.” He continued.
“I know how much this kind of thing hurts.” I replied.
We continued to talk for a few minutes. My mind went back to an occasion early in my career when I faced similar challenges. I remember how lost and discouraged I felt. I was doing the best I could then, but I lacked the experience to get as much growth from it as possible. I was hoping my friend could have a better outcome than mine.
“I think we can turn this to your advantage.” I said. “What if you embrace the criticism and view it as an opportunity?”
We talked more about viewing this as an opportunity for personal and professional improvement. In fact, we outlined a couple of steps he could take to turn the tide to his favor. After a few minutes we were both feeling happier and more confident. The truth is that my friend is really successful in his work. He just needed a little support during his time of personal examination.
It’s good for each of us to take some time to examine how we can improve ourselves. What I learned from my friend is that self improvement doesn’t have to be done by one’s self alone. It felt great to be a part of his success when he came to me in a couple of weeks and told me how well he was doing. He had turned his lost confidence into personal and professional victory. I knew he could do it and you can too.
Let a good friend give you some extra support when you need it. It will make your victories sweeter, your losses more bearable, and your lives more fulfilling.