Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

Change. Motivate. Adapt. Improve. Perform

When should I stop listening to feedback?…

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Ellie is just about to launch her new product.  She’s been working on this behind the scenes for the last year and now and she is very excited about sharing this with the world.

She decides, reluctantly, to tell a few people close to her about what she is doing in the hope that they might give her some feedback.  She hopes it will inspire her to push on and makes some small tweaks before she releases her work to the world!


Ellie gets the feedback, buts it’s not what she’d hoped for…

‘Gosh Ellie, what do you hope to achieve doing that….have you thought about the cost as I wouldn’t be able to afford it!’

‘I don’t think that works.  I mean I already know about nutrition and I can get that all on-line if I Google it’

‘I can see what you’re trying to do, but do people really want to look at that with someone.  Can’t they do it on their own?’

‘I think you should only do 4 sessions, not 6’

‘I think this would work better in person not on-line’

‘ I think that you have to make it more accessible to people like me who can’t use a computer’

‘I think…’

‘I think…’  ‘I think’..


– Information overload – 

I hear this all the time from clients, and also friends who have been in this situation.  You share your work that has been so precious to your heart.  You’ve worked so hard on this and all people seem to do is find fault.

It feels deflating, it feels uninspiring and you worry that you are going to fail. Well, having been in this situation myself (many, many times), I’m going to share with you 3 things that I find help me to filter out the stuff that is helpful versus the stuff that makes me want to stop it all and go and work for Waitrose!


Ask the right people

So, who are you asking about your work/new product?

This makes all the difference not only to your mindset and general wellbeing but also the future success of your business.

For example I know that if I want an opinion on what new car to buy, advice on my leaking roof, or anything in general to do with property I ask my Dad. When it comes to my business however asking my Dad for his opinion/advice is like consciously giving him a cleaver and asking him to chop my arm off…basically he is that helpful!

Now, he’s a clever man and knows a lot of about running a business.  He’s done it himself for a long time, but as his daughter I’m too close for him to see clearly what I should do, for two main reasons;  One – my business is psychology and he struggles to understand properly what I do and how I make a living from it. And two – he loves me and worries that anything I do will be too risky and he wants to take care of me.  All this equals a recipe for disaster.

The ‘right’ people to ask are basically those that I have learnt will give me constructive and useful feedback and those are typically people who have ‘done it’ already.  In this case I go to my friends in business who are successful at what they do.  Not only would they have been where I am before, but they are able to give constructive critique and offer advice to help and move forward, not just point out what is wrong.

It’s constructive, it’s useful and I can use it to actually go forward. Hurrah!


Ask specific questions

Another thing you can do is to be specific in how you ask your questions.  That is instead of just saying for example ‘what do you think of this?’ or ‘do you think this is a good product/idea?’.  This gives people too much reign, and there is then a tendency to go mad on trying to say everything that they think is relevant.

I find that asking specific questions is often more helpful and often more helpful to get feedback on the things you really need/want help with.

A good way of doing this is to do your market research before you create your product using survey tools like Survey Monkey or Smart Survey.  Both are free tools and you can easily collate information to make sense of what trends there are in your sample. You could also choose to interview people, asking a series of set questions that do exactly the same thing.

Doing this also allows you to ask questions at different stages of your design which you can incorporate on-goingly.  It also allows you to be really specific for example you may want help with pricing, so questions from people about ‘willingness to spend’ might be useful?

It’s also a really great method for you if you don’t want to get direct feedback from people you know and you want feedback to remain anonymous or be sent to people outside of your friendship groups or family.

# 3

Know when to stop listening

The last thing is simply to listen when you need to and to stop listening when you don’t want to hear anymore.

It is good to have feedback.  It is good to do your market research.  It is nice to hear the good stuff as well as areas of improvement as these will all help you in creating your product, however the truth is, as you are well aware, is that you will NEVER please everyone!

You are not making your product or putting together a service that is for every man and his dog, so we have to know that not everyone will have helpful advice, possibly just through not understanding what you do.  Also, people like to feel important sometimes and maybe in the process of giving you feedback, they actually start to try and twist your product to something that THEY would do….guess what?  If you did that, it wouldn’t be YOUR product anymore!

On that basis, similar to last weeks post on feeling tired of inspirational blogs, books and social media messages, you have to just know when to walk away from feedback and trust that this is your product that has come out of your vision and you are gonna big, fat do it anyway.

For more information and amusing video about feedback particularly on writing, click on the lick to Jenna Moreci‘s YouTube video about ‘haters’ in the writing process.  It’s again a good reminder, even if you are not a writer, that you have to stick to your path and your own vision of what you want this to be!


So, I hope you’ve found this helpful.

I’d love to hear from you if you have ever encountered ‘unhelpful’ or even strange feedback?

What did you do and did you make any changes to your product as a result?

Remember you can also come over to my Facebook page where much of the discussion happens and please do also sign up to my newsletter by signing up in the below box.  Those that get my newsletter also get first dibs on Early Bird tickets to talks and events and some exciting things I’ll be doing before Christmas and in the New Year.

Til next week!


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