Hey guys! I know it’s been a while, buuuut… I recently traveled to Australia!!! I did a week-long program that united other scholars from different countries with a common interest in business and entrepreneurship! It was an amazing experience and I hope that in the coming posts I can share with you some very important things that I have learned from this whole excursion.
The week consisted of waking up early, getting on the bus on time, taking notes from various speakers, seeing new things and meeting new people, as well as learning from these people.
The one thing that I gained from this program has got to be the willingness to accept criticism. Not destructive, but constructive criticism. One day, we were in Melbourne at RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) and we were doing an exercise– as directed by a professor of that University– that was called an “elevator pitch”. For those wondering what an elevator pitch is, it’s basically a hypothetical (but possible) situation where you try to get a potential employer of a company that you have a strong desire to work for them, to look your way and consider you as a candidate for a job at their company. All while you’re in the elevator with them. It’s really fascinating! Here’s the prompt:
the challenge was: we had to keep this short, sweet and to the point. All under 2 minutes. Starting off, I did something simple.. which was follow the exact skeleton of this flow chart:
The Professor then asked for 3 people to come on up to the front of the room. I raised my hand because, well, why the fuck not? I wanted to learn how to craft a good pitch that didn’t sound too wordy.
So I go first, but before I started, the professor asks me what job am I going for and what type of company: both of which were already answered on this little piece of paper I had. I basically read off of my constructed flow chart and I trip up a bit, and as a result, I ran out of time.
It was time for people to critique me and give me their honest opinion of my elevator pitch. I’m not going to lie to you, but I felt like I was being attacked. People left and right were critiquing me really hard and I really was resisting the urge to talk back to them. But then in that same moment, I realized that I was taking it way too personal. I chose to do this because I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone.
So I listened intently to the people who were giving me feedback, I let them ‘roast’ me. Because I’m always looking to grow as a person. Further, I noticed that we, as humans, are so quick to judge/critique someone else, yet fail to look at ourselves and see where we fall short. We neglect to see it in ourselves, but choose to see it in other people.
Accepting criticism has been one of my toughest feats. I get it on a daily basis from some friends and a good bit of my family. I’ve never been good at accepting it, because well, I thought that if its something that I’m doing wrong, I should be able to learn it by myself. My thought process was, No one really likes being told what to do. Anytime someone critiqued me, I would get on the defensive with a lame excuse. But thankfully, all those excuses ended the day I decided to accept criticism.
I decided that in order to grow, to learn, I had to learn how to accept criticism of others who may have more experience than me. What if I land a job that requires me to learn new things and to accept constructive criticism on the daily? How is getting mad at each critique going to help me out in the long run? It won’t.
Getting mad at critiques from people who expect better, isn’t a reflection on the person giving them, it’s a reflection of the person who takes it. I mean, picture this, you’re doing your work (whether it be in college, at an internship, etc) and your superior comes up to you to give you feedback on some work. If you get angry and storm off, then it just shows that you can’t accept criticism. What person is going to hire someone who cannot take open and honest feedback?
So Back to the story… with all the constructive criticism that I received from the audience, I was then able to re position my stance a bit:
And I made it with enough time to spare! What followed after I gave this pitch another try, were less critiques. A lot of people clapped for me, while others still critiqued by saying that I sounded ‘too desperate’. Nevertheless, I learned something new that day and it gave me more of a motivation to grow and to get out of my comfort zone.