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The Works

“I’ve got some feedback for you…”

By August 23, 2022September 21st, 2022No Comments

Kendra, my editor, shortly before she plunges her red pen through my heart

“I’ve got some feedback for you…”


I’ve got a new book coming out in June next year, so all the dirty-sweaty-grind-and-toil work that is writing is happening right now. Even as we speak, I’m awaiting comments on my first draft from Kendra, my editor.

And the other day, I got an email from Audra (producer of the 2 Pages with MBS podcast), subject line: Feedback and Other.

The nervous anticipation of what’s going to be said, the bias we all have that it’s probably going to be bad, the catastrophization that sometimes happens when it becomes clear that this is A Disaster and The End … I mean, I know and like Kendra and Audra and they are literally and metaphorically on my side, and nonetheless, it’s all there.

I’ve got three ways I calm my self-created storm.

First, remember it’s feedback for you not about you. Not only do I not have to take it personally, I don’t have to take it at all if I don’t want to. 

Second, assume positive intent. A lot of the time, people are trying to be helpful and they’re trying to make me and what I’m doing better. Treat them as allies, not opponents.

Finally, remember feedback is rarely the truth, but mostly just an opinion. Sometimes it’s helpful to figure out the facts the opinion is based upon (“what’s the data for that?”). But in the end, take what’s useful, and ignore the rest.

And you’ll see right below your own chance to give me feedback on this newsletter. (And thank you for that.)

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Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.