When you’re off line or off the beam (for you), you’re going to get hit with anxiety or tension. You’re supposed to get hit with this “negative” feedback because it causes you to correct course, to correct back to your idea of how things are supposed to be.

Don’t be afraid of getting negative feedback. Learn to see the feedback as healthy as you go after the goal. When you are off the beam or off track as a leader, parent, or advisor, feedback is essential. Sometimes you don’t want to hurt feelings or sound negative, but objectivity isn’t the same as being negative.

Getting this anxiety, this tension in your system is necessary to keep yourself moving forward on beam. Your feedback mechanism tells you how you’re doing and how to correct to get back on beam, the image of what you’re trying to create. But feedback shouldn’t stop when you’re back on the beam. It goes past the beam to the next goal or milestone. Otherwise, you won’t want feedback when you’re on beam, because you’re in your comfort zone. You don’t get much comfort zone feedback.

This negative tension or anxiety feedback comes when you’re out of your comfort zone, whenever your environment or your behavior doesn’t match your internal idea of how things are supposed to be and how you’re supposed to be and feel.

When you feel that you’re out of line or out of place, in a new position or location, making changes or having change thrust upon you, you say to yourself, “My gosh, this can’t be right.” This tension or anxiety can cause a loss of memory; it can shut down your recall of the skills, knowledge, names of people, what you were going to say and so you act as if you don’t know what is happening to you. For example, you might know what you want to say, but when you get in front of a large group of people to talk, you can’t get the words out. Or, you might attend an important social event where you know very few people, and you can’t think of what to say. The information is inside of you, but you can’t retrieve it when you feel that you’re off beam from where you belong from your idea of how the world is.

tension management

Not only does that feeling of being off beam or out of place limit your recall, it also blocks input. So somebody could be giving you directions on how to get somewhere or could be trying to give you instructions, but if you feel out of place for you, you block the input of information. You don’t let it get in.

And sadly, you will mistake your inability to receive and recall information as a lack of potential or ability. You’ll say, “Oh I must be dumb at this.” You’ll say, “Oh, I don’t have the aptitude for this.” But you’re probably just out of place for you, and so you make the wrong conclusion about the use and development of your talent and potential.

Knowing how to receive and use feedback to make course corrections will give you a whole new appreciation of your talent and potential, and allow you to set bigger goals, to try new things, to venture out from your current situation. For example, you may think, “I didn’t do well in that subject in school, so I can’t learn it now.” But perhaps you didn’t learn it in school because you didn’t control the anxiety arousal and couldn’t release your potential to learn. Anxiety, pressure, or tension come when you detect that you are environmentally, personally, morally, socially, or financially acting outside of your comfort zone. You’re off beam for you at the present moment. And so you not only block recall, you block input.

Many teachers program the wrong idea into the minds of children when they teach kids who are new or different that they’re “not as bright as most kids” when the kids are just feeling out of place. Whenever people are outside their comfort zone, their ability to receive and recall information is limited.

When you perceive yourself being off beam, negative tension hits you and tightens your upper body; your breathing becomes difficult, and you say, “I’ve been feeling uptight lately.” Tightening up impedes the use of your skills, and so you make more mistakes. You flub, make a fool of yourself, or become more “accident-prone.” And you tell yourself, “It isn’t natural to live with all this pressure and stress. So, don’t be stupid. Go back to the familiar. Go back to where you’re good. Go back to where you’re comfortable. Stay with who and what you know.” Your subconscious stimulates creativity to guide you back to the old neighborhood, to the old job, to old friends, to “where you belong.” It creates reasons why you shouldn’t take the step or go to the next level. You then misinterpret “negative” feedback, thinking ”negative” is bad.

When you’re off beam in relation to your goals and ideals, “negative” (objective) feedback isn’t bad; in fact, the feedback that is most harmful is the truly negative thinking that tells you to avoid, retreat, move away from. It tells you why it won’t work, why you shouldn’t go, why you shouldn’t invest, why you shouldn’t grow the business, why you shouldn’t get married and have children.

When you feel that you are off beam morally, financially, socially, racially, religiously, or environmentally, you say, “This is unfamiliar.”

Your knees get shaky, you lose balance, your blood pressure increases, your pulse goes up, you perspire, you feel nauseated. “I’ve got a gut feeling about this.” “This makes me sick to my stomach.” All this feedback strikes when you’re off beam.

So why set goals? Why seek feedback? Why cause a problem for yourself by creating a new vision, a desired ideal, and by looking at how you are now (the current reality) in relation to your ideal? Because the difference creates the drive. If you set a goal to lose weight, don’t refuse to step on the scale. Don’t deny yourself the feedback. Envision yourself at a new weight and step on the scale. Sure, every time you step on the scale, you feel terrible. I know. You’re supposed to feel terrible. If you don’t, you won’t change.