A  few months after I launched my podcast, Resist Average Academy—I got an interesting message.

“Your intro music sucks, man.”

I laughed and brushed it off. Reason being, in the past, I knew small, irrelevant details had thrown me off and stopped me from consistently creating content.

In life and business, it’s important to distinguish between the types of feedback we receive and the feedback we actively seek it out from the right people.

In this post, I’ll share how you can easily identify if the feedback you’re receiving is valuable, how to quickly discard what isn’t and what to do with what’s remaining. I’ll also reveal the common misconceptions around feedback and how to use it to level up your business and achieve your outcomes in record time.

Haters, Trolls and Useless Feedback

The first and easiest identifiable type of feedback isn’t much of it at all, but oddly enough, it can throw us off course in a heartbeat. These are the comments that come from haters and trolls—it serves no purpose and is usually a reflection of something missing in their life.

These are the blanket comments that attack you personally or your material and are the ones you should avoid buying into at all costs. Furthermore, if you’re committed to growing your brand, product or service, you need to get comfortable not letting these derail you.

If you look at your favorite book in the world on Amazon, you’ll find plenty of 1-star reviews. These aren’t offering any value, but usually are a personal attack on the author with very little substance on how to improve the material or where it may have fallen short.

When you come across it,  ignore it or delete it and move on.

Inner Circle Feedback

The next type of feedback comes from our inner circle, specifically our relationships such as close friends, and family.

We have to be careful here because of the emotional connection we have in these relationships. When you’re explaining your big business idea and your family shoots it down, take it with a grain of salt. Sometimes, the people closest to us want to keep us safe in a way where they stop us in our tracks and provide feedback that doesn’t help at all.

However, if you’ve built a powerful inner circle and tribe, this can be a great place to get real world feedback.

Mentorship and Coaching Feedback

The next level of feedback is usually one where you’re invested in some way. Think of a coaching, mentorship or a mastermind experience.

These are essential for long term growth and perspective and is why I am involved in two at any time, and why I run my own intensive 12-week experiences.

Without a doubt, this is the most valuable and important feedback to listen to for a few reasons:

  • There’s no emotional cloud hanging over. Because of this, people are most likely to be radically honest with you and not worry about hurting your feelings.
  • You’ve bought in and invested. Once you’re invested, you join a group of people who are there to grow and understand growth happens when we’re challenged.
  • They have deep experience and results. The purpose of hiring a mentor or coach is to tap into their wealth of knowledge, expertise, and experience because they have a result we’d like to replicate.

The Right Way to Ask

No matter what level of the feedback curve you’re operating from, it’s important to set the context and pre-frame the conversation. This means creating a safe space and agreement between you and the other person, or people.

Here’s an example:

Chris, I really respect you and that’s why I’m coming to you right now. I want to make sure what you say is authentic. Don’t hold back to protect my feelings or our relationship, does that make sense?

Once they agree, then you ask for the feedback you want. Consultant Keith Ferrazzi has a practice where on his birthday, he requests what he calls compassionate criticism from the 20 people closest to him.

“Compassionate criticism happens when you know you can trust the other person to have your back. They’re not working from a hidden agenda and their advice comes from a place of caring and empathy.” – Keith Ferrazzi

You Won’t Always Love It

Lastly, remember you’re not always going to love what you hear. No matter how much of a growth mindset you have, feedback can be hard on the ego.

I’ve taken feedback from people who I didn’t necessarily like. But we both respected each other, and I knew it came from a good place.

It’s important to take in the feedback, digest it and ultimately make a decision based on it. At the end of the day, it’s on you to ensure it feels right, and is in alignment with both who you are and what you’re creating.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Tommy Baker

Tommy Baker is a writer, speaker, coach and host of the Resist Average Academy, a top-rated iTunes podcast designed to give you the knowledge, inspiration, and action steps to live a life by design—never by default. Tommy lives for the moment someone gets the spark of what’s possible and then crafting a plan to bring that vision to life through his mastermind groups, podcasts, books, courses and more.