31 Grace-full Days: Day 27 – Being teachable

This is a 31 day challenge. I’m about at the end, and I’ve kept up pretty well. I’ve only missed a couple of days, and honestly, that’s dang good given all that we’ve been through over the past two weeks.

I’ve been mulling over what I have learned in the process of writing every day for a whole month. (Why couldn’t it be February with only 28 days anyway?) I’ll write about that later this week I suppose. Except that I’m off to Seattle for some cousin time on the 31st, so maybe it will have to wait a week. Don’t hold your breath people!

What I want to do is write meaningful, deep, thought-provoking pieces. Instead, I find that I’m scrambling at the end of the day to come up with something of value to serve up to you here. That feels just a tad lame. So instead, here are my thoughts, raw and unedited, today.

Sometimes when I receive constructive criticism I am tempted to just give up. A perfectionist by nature, my default response is to label myself a failure, unable to make it (whatever “it” is anyway!).

Instead, I am trying to rewire my default response  so that I stop, take a breath, and approach it as a teachable moment. Meaning, I accept constructive criticism, give it thought and ask for understanding, and then learn from it. That’s a much more difficult response in my opinion, because it requires a whole lot of humility. And given the nature of Corporate America where I spend a good portion of my life, I think humility is rare, teachability (is that a word?) is rare. Yet, that’s what I believe God wants me to be.

Teachable.

Another word that goes along with that is

Intentional.

Both words require thoughtful action. Both require thinking before acting… something I am not always so good at. Impulsive by nature (which sometimes feels the opposite of perfectionism), I tend to throw some things out to the universe and forget that thoughtful intention is really more productive.

Perhaps, before opening my mouth, or setting my hands to keys on a computer, I should think first about what I have learned, want to learn or how I want others to perceive what I say or write.

On the other hand, perhaps teachability means that I give myself some grace. I recognize that I do not know it all. Others have constructive criticism to offer me and I get to choose between accepting it or rejecting it. Instead of taking it in as something negative, I can choose to take it in as intentional teaching. Someone is taking the time to help me be a better me. And after all, isn’t that a really good thing? I can accept it, and as Brennan Manning says, “Laugh at my humanity.” I am human. I am faulty by nature. And perhaps, I get the opportunity to not only be teachable, but to teach.

How do you handle criticism, constructive or otherwise? Next time you’re tempted to label yourself a failure, or label your critic a jerk, take a step back and see if you can be intentionally teachable. It might make a world of difference.

This post is installment #27 of a 31 day writing challenge.  You can read the rest of my posts here:

Day oneDay twoDay three, Day four, Day five, Day sixDay sevenDay eightDay nineDay tenDay 11Day 12Day 13Day 14Day 15Days 16/17Days 18/19, Day 20Day 21Day 22Day 23Day 24, (I skipped day 25), Day 25

Tell me what you think

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