In The Eye Of the Beholder

By: Detri McGhee

So, my secular topic of choice in recent years is CRITICISM MANAGEMENT. I know…strange “specialty” isn’t it! But, it has served me increasingly well through my many years of life in the business/family/Christian aspects and all their various scenarios.

What, you might ask, led me to dig deeply into this topic? Well, take a small-town Southern girl with a naturally amiable-amiable temperament, and toss her into a man’s business world of insurance sales, with all the accompanying negative feedback, difficulties of a sales career in general, and add marriage, motherhood, Christianity, and growing old. Now, you know.

At age 23, I went to work for (admittedly biased view here) THE best insurance company in the world, New York Life. I was, at the time, the only active female agent in our general office. I was so “small-townish” that taking the elevator to the 9th floor was a challenge at first. Pre-employment personality profile tests were required but were not taken into consideration for female applicants because they were recognized as being male-oriented, and thus unreliable when assessing female traits/temperament. Training and even in-office environment for agents were heavily male-oriented. And, all this while NYL was on the forefront of hiring and adjusting to more female agents!

I began collecting data, words of wisdom, thoughts, coping mechanisms early on, while trying to understand how clients and even other agents and my bosses thought and perceived things. I found Tim LeHaye’s work Spirit-Controlled Temperament to be invaluable. What began as research just to benefit me has proven to be helpful to others, both male and female. Allow me to share a few thoughts in the hope they will benefit you, too.

I have come to believe that…

Criticism is a lot like BEAUTY…It is in the EYE of the BEHOLDER.

What do I mean? When asked to define criticism I get many different answers. But, when diving deeper into what people actually FEEL is criticism, the realm expands vastly. I submit that criticism has many – what I call – “relatives.” Here are a few: Complaints, correction, envy, instruction, reproof, gripes, withholding praise, negativity, questioning, rebuke, admonishing, bullying, teaching, belittling, peer pressure — and even simply stating that one prefers a different color, size or place…

To the student, any correction can be felt as a criticism. To a subordinate, any suggestion by the boss can feel harsh and embarrassing. To a spouse, failure to note a new hairdo can feel like rejection. See where I’m heading? It is not always what is said or done that is the problem. Often it is how it feels to the recipient. What I began to understand was that if I wanted to handle life’s difficulties (criticisms) in a productive manner, it was MY responsibility to react/understand/respond in ways that benefitted me. Finally as the years wore on, and life took more and more turns, I began to take responsibility for my own reactions, and understand that, while I cannot control anyone else, I CAN control my reaction to their actions. There is much help out there for How to GIVE Constructive Criticism. And, studying/applying it is very beneficial. My research focuses on the flip side: How to PROFIT from any and

all criticism ever received. I believe it can be done. That’s what we will explore in our upcoming sessions.

So, here’s our PRINCIPLE for TODAY: I am responsible for ME!

Next visit, we will explore how “doses of criticism” are similar to “doses of medicine.”

Until then, feel free to contact me on Facebook: Criticism Management by Detri

By: Detri McGhee – Certified Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Counselor