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Using Criticism to Grow Professionally

Have you ever felt devastated after receiving unexpected negative feedback? Learning to take criticism professionally–not personally–is a skill that most can learn to do better. Here are some helpful ways to accept criticism effectively, even when it stings.

Criticism Is an Opportunity to Grow

Hearing our performance critiqued can be uncomfortable. Believe it or not, this discomfort is not bad; it is often a sign of growth. Consider the words you hear and look for truths. If the feedback is fair, challenge yourself to improve. Professionals take criticism seriously, not personally.

Don’t Fixate

Our minds tend to exaggerate criticism. Next time you receive a piece of demoralizing feedback, pause and reflect. Don’t let a critique cause unhealthy thoughts about not being liked or appreciated. Instead, make a habit of detaching yourself from the personal feelings that arise. Retrain your brain to take criticism differently. It takes practice, but will lead to better self-esteem and healthier professional relationships.

Be Humble

In competitive environments, it is not easy to exercise humility. Taking full accountability for mistakes is important and leads to personal growth. Instead of playing blame games, commit to development and acknowledge shortcomings. Being humble and expressing thanks for constructive feedback will serve you better than getting defensive.

We All Have Bad Days

We live complicated lives. You might not realize that your boss has a dying mother, or that your co-worker is going through a divorce. When people snap at you, make rude remarks, or offer destructive criticism, it is often a reflection of that person’s emotions — not how they feel about you. While you have no control over someone else’s bad day, you can recognize they are having one, and do your best to be respectful of their feelings.

Log Your Feedback

Take a moment to record notes about feedback you receive, followed by a simple game plan about how to improve. 


When we accept that constructive criticism is meant to help — not hurt — us, we can have healthier professional relationships and improve our work. I encourage you to retrain your brain to view criticism holistically, not personally, in order to further your personal growth and development.

Call to action

Do you think my tips were helpful using criticism to grow professionally? Read the full text on Medium. Please share the article and shout out to me on Twitter!

You can also check out my firm LexION Capital for more tips on how to grow your wealth and become financially secure. Elle Kaplan is the founder and CEO of LexION Capital, a fiduciary wealth management firm in New York City, serving high-net-worth individuals.

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