Let down your defenses

Picture yourself in a physical defensive crouch. You’re huddled close to the ground, eyes closed, hands clutched by your head. You’ve given up trying to move. Instead, you’re preparing for a beating, or to strike back.

Emotional defensiveness is just the same. The mental “crouch” paralyzes you. It keeps you from moving forward or growing.

Defensiveness often comes from a place of low self-esteem, which in turn creates a self-reinforcing downward spiral. Everyone around the defensive person walks on eggshells, including those who might otherwise try to help. Worst of all, the defensive person is fatally uncoachable, and therefore unpromotable.

So why are people defensive? People hear things through their filters. Based on their life experiences, if they feel unworthy, you can mention to them that the moon is beautiful last night and they’ll likely hear it as, “You were expecting the sun instead.” They hear it as yet another way you’re telling them they are inadequate.

If you become defensive in the face of criticism, it’s time to get a handle on it. Realize that someone offering advice is not attacking you, but critiquing your work in order to help you. Instead of pushing back with a “tone,” ask questions to get more information.

Let down that drawbridge, blow the doors off with your coachability, and there is NOTHING you can’t achieve.

One Response to “Let down your defenses”

  1. I do enjoy the way you have framed this specific matter and it really does present me a lot of fodder for consideration. On the other hand, because of everything that I have witnessed, I really hope as the actual feedback pile on that people today continue to be on point and don’t start on a tirade of some other news du jour. All the same, thank you for this excellent point and whilst I do not necessarily agree with this in totality, I respect your viewpoint.

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