How To Overcome Negative Feedback Effectively

Photo by Kait Loggins on Unsplash

You will never become a project manager. Stop wasting your time”, the Executive Director of HR and Customer Services said.

I was shocked. I had done everything I knew. I had achieved two project management certifications. But the Executive Director insisted I didn’t have the capacity to be a project manager.

What do you do when someone says you will never get what you want? Do you give up or do you keep moving?

I didn’t give up. I kept moving.

Over time, other people stepped in and tried to help but nothing worked. I was stuck in the engineering department for the rest of my life or so it seemed.

I had two options — to accept the negative feedback or to learn how to overcome it effectively.

Here are a few lessons I have learned on overcoming negative feedback.

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes

Who is giving you this negative feedback? Where is this person coming from? What’s his angle? If you try to understand the other party, you would not feel hurt or defensive.

Knowing the other party gives you a better perspective. You don’t have to explain your actions. It’s okay to only understand. It gives you a sense of calm and neutralizes the effect of the feedback.

In the case of my Executive Director, he felt I could only be an engineer. I didn’t have the attributes of a project manager. It was his right to feel that way; it was my right to prove him wrong. And I did!

Consider the situation objectively

If you consider the situation objectively, you would be able to analyze the criticism. Is this what you truly want? What if the other party is right? What if your dream is a fantasy or a figment of your parents’ imagination?

When you’ve put yourself in the other party’s shoes, it helps you to be calm and assess the situation objectively. With a clear head, you can think about your decision.

Thinking about your decision would help you know if it’s what you want. This is critical to success. The more negative feedback you get, the stronger your resolve if your dream is what you want. The more my Executive Director criticized me, the more I wanted to become a project manager.

Know Yourself

You get to know yourself in the face of negative feedback. You realize what your heart’s desire is. It also helps you know what you don’t want.

I knew I didn’t want to be an engineer anymore. I love working with people and I don’t like operations (routine activities). The negative feedback helped me clarify my likes and dislikes. It also helped me understand my personality.

Who are you? Why do you want what you want? Is your desire aligned with your personality? Does your desire make you come alive or is it a wish?

Discover yourself and you will be able to overcome negative feedback. I knew I had the capacity to be a project manager. Finally, another company offered me a project management role. I left the company without hesitation.


Negative feedback is never a pleasant experience. Your first instinct is to punch the other party in the face. Don’t!

Take a deep breath and think.

Be objective.

Study yourself.

Napoleon Hill said, “whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”.

If you believe in your dreams, you can overcome any negative feedback.

It’s totally up to you.

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