In a recent survey, I asked for your top two questions about influence and growth. As with most survey’s I’ve sent, receiving negative feedback was one of the top questions.

Here was the specific question: How do I be receptive to getting constructive, but seemingly negative, feedback?

Begin with the end in mind. Do you know what your desired “end” looks like? Do you know what you’re working to achieve? If you don’t, their criticism is far more likely to push you away from receptivity (and growth) and toward defensiveness.

Defensiveness is a direct result of insecurities. Knowing the direction you’re headed will strengthen your self-confidence, and allow you to learn from the feedback.

Defensiveness turns off the flow of feedback, while openness and gratitude keeps it flowing.

If feedback is the only way to grow – to improve – then keeping the doors wide open is the key to your personal and professional growth. Having a sense of your goals will help you put all feedback in context of what matters to you.