Aviation for Women

SEP-OCT 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

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44 AviationforWomen S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 Ouch! That Hurts My Feelings P A T R I C I A L U E B K E I haven't always taken criticism well. I wish I did, but I don't. But I've gotten a whole lot better at it over the years. People used to tell me not to take everything so personal- ly, and I wondered how could you not take criti- cism personally. Here's a good example: I have a personal Twitter account. I don't do anything in particular to garner new followers, but I am aware of how my number of followers has grown bit by bit. I know the number. I don't obsess about it, but I'm aware of it. The other day, I noticed I had one fewer follow- er. And my first reaction was, "What did I do to make that [anonymous] person no longer want to read my tweets? Was I not engaging enough? Not clever enough? Too political? Too much about air- planes? Not enough about airplanes?" I let go of it after a few minutes, but the fact that I can relate this story two weeks after it happened tells me I'm still a work in progress. As for self-criticism, I have two bits of advice to pass along that have worked for me. The first is something I learned years ago. When you hear that self-critical voice in your brain, ask yourself, "Whose voice is that? " And even though it may sound like your voice, it's likely to be the voice of a parent, an ex, a long-ago demanding teacher, or a bad boss. The second bit is to ask yourself if you'd al- low anyone else to talk to you the way you talk to yourself. I wouldn't, but I backslide from time to time. For example, I'll be in bed going to sleep and my mind is racing about what work I have to do tomorrow and how I should have done this or I should have done that. Can you imagine living with someone who, as you were trying to get to sleep, kept shaking your shoulder reminding you of the work you have yet to accomplish? Only a human doormat would allow that to happen, so stop doing it to yourself. But then there's the criticism that comes our way from other people. After you hear it, con- sider whether it's constructive criticism or non- constructive. If you decide it's nonconstructive, shrug it off. A favorite saying of mine is, "This is a story about you, not about me." We don't know what pain or strife or motivation people have for saying crummy things to us, so let it go and wish them well. We're narrowing the field, and we're left with constructive criticism from someone to whom you need to listen: your boss, a friend, and a co- worker. Then what? We've got to find the truth in what we're being told. Years ago, I was meeting a friend on a street corner and I arrived five minutes late. He was annoyed and snapped, "I always have to wait for you." I hated to admit he was right. I wasn't taking our appointed meeting time serious- ly enough. His words were harsh, if only for a few moments, but I was never late meeting him again. To this day, a pet peeve of mine is people who arrive late for meetings while the rest of us sit there. Then the latecomer breathlessly ar- rives claiming how busy he (or she) is and how swamped with work—yeah, as if the rest of us are lounging around sipping margaritas and having mani-pedis. So if you're told you're frequently late for meet- ings, miss deadlines, don't pull your weight, mess up everyone else's schedule because you're be- ing inconsiderate of others—think it over. Then make a plan. A lesson I had to learn is to be realis- tic about how much time things take. With the ex- ample of being late to meet my friend, my thought pattern would go like this—it's only three blocks away so I'll leave 10 minutes before. But 10 min- utes easily becomes eight minutes and then I'd stop to comb my hair, use the bathroom, check I had everything in my purse, maybe the phone would ring and I'd think I could quickly answer it, put on my coat, look for my gloves, see if my phone was charged—and the next thing I know I'm five minutes late. Make a plan and set some realistic goals. Rather than say, "I'm never going to be late for a meeting again," plan to be five minutes early for your next three meetings. When your boss and co-workers (or friends) see you are making the effort, it will go a long way in blunting their criticism. We have so many life lessons and course corrections to make while we're here—think of this as just one more. It's tough to take criticism, but with practice we can take whatever nugget of useful advice there may be to become a better person. Along the way, though, make sure you always have someone in your life to remind you of your missteps. ✈ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Patricia Luebke, WAI 1954, is a New York City- based freelance writer, editor, and marketing consultant. If you're told you're frequently late for meetings, miss deadlines, don't pull your weight, mess up everyone else's schedule because you're being inconsiderate of others— think it over. P E R S O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T

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