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Navigating Feedback and Self-Reflection in a Hematology Career

As academic physicians in hematology, we often receive feedback from peers, mentors, and even patients about our performance. This feedback can range from glowing praise to harsh criticism, leaving us to wonder how to process and use it effectively. Understanding how to navigate feedback and self-reflection is crucial for personal growth and career development.

People Will Always Have Opinions

Whether you are giving a presentation, conducting research, or interacting with patients, people will form opinions about your performance. Some will be enthusiastic in their praise, while others may express strong disapproval. It's important to recognize that these opinions are often driven by the individual's personal preferences, biases, or expectations. In academic medicine, feedback can be particularly subjective. A positive comment from one person may be based on their appreciation for your calm and composed speaking style during a presentation. At the same time, a negative comment from another may be influenced by their belief that presentations should always cite certain seminal papers.

Feedback Reflects the Speaker More Than You

When receiving feedback, remember that it reveals more about the person providing it than it does about your true abilities. Positive feedback highlights aspects of your work that resonate positively with the speaker's preferences, while negative feedback may reveal areas where they find dissonance with their own expectations. For example, a colleague might praise your presentation for being engaging and well-organized, reflecting their admiration for clear communication. On the other hand, someone who criticizes your talk for not citing specific papers may be particularly concerned with thorough academic rigor.

Don't Let Feedback Define You

It's important to have a strong sense of self and not allow others' assessments to alter your self-perception. Embrace your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses without tying them directly to external judgments. Feedback, whether positive or negative, only represents a fraction of who you are and what you are capable of achieving. By understanding your core values, skills, and aspirations independently, you can evaluate feedback with a discerning eye. Resist internalizing judgments that do not align with your authentic self.

Seek Actionable Feedback for Growth

Feedback should be constructive and offer actionable insights that foster growth and development. Rather than accepting judgments as definitive, ask for specific suggestions for improvement. This empowers you to consider which aspects of the feedback resonate with your goals and how you can implement changes. For example, if someone praises your calm demeanor during presentations, consider incorporating more engaging techniques while maintaining your composure. If criticism revolves around a lack of citations, diligently research and integrate the relevant literature to enhance your future talks.

Sort Useful Feedback from Unhelpful Judgment

As you receive feedback, carefully sift through comments to determine what is truly helpful and relevant. Useful feedback should offer practical steps for improvement, while unhelpful judgment merely categorizes you as "good" or "bad" without providing any actionable guidance. By acknowledging the value of constructive feedback and discarding judgmental comments, you can maintain a healthy and growth-oriented mindset in your hematology career.

Feedback is an inevitable part of a career in hematology. As academic physicians, we must learn to interpret and use feedback effectively for personal growth and development. Remember that people's opinions are often colored by their own preferences and biases, and they do not define your worth or abilities.

Developing a strong sense of self and understanding your strengths and weaknesses independently is crucial in navigating feedback. Seek constructive feedback that offers actionable insights to improve your skills and performance.

By sorting useful feedback from unhelpful judgment, you can maintain a growth-oriented mindset and continue to excel in your hematology career. Embrace the journey of continuous improvement and remain focused on delivering the best care and contributions to your patients and the field of hematology.

Do you want to work with a coach to help you separate feedback from judgement? Why not work with me? Sign up for a coaching discovery call today.

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Feedback is essential

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