When I submit a book manuscript to my editor, I hope she uses up an entire red Sharpie marking up my draft.
Because I want to know what sucks.
Sure, it hurts. But I’ll take hurting over sucking any day.
Also, notice I said to find out ‘what’ sucks, not ‘who sucks.’
Don’t take it personally.
It’s not the author who sucks; it’s the writing that sucks.
It’s not the speaker who sucks; it’s the delivery that sucks.
Therefore, it’s not about you. It’s about the work.
So, plain and simple: you need to find out what sucks.
Take it as free advice to help you improve. Sure, it’s harder to ask people to point out the negatives. But this is the only way you’re going to get better.
HOW TO FIND OUT WHAT SUCKS
1. Pick the right person. Not everyone possesses the candor to tell you what sucks, i.e., family members. Be careful who you select.
2. Set ground rules first. Tell your friend, colleague, etc., that you’re looking to improve in certain areas. Ask that they be completely honest and direct with you. Promise there are no hard feelings and that nobody gets defensive.
3. Take it slow, take it small. If you saturate yourself with too many “suck points” all at once, eventually it will start to wear on you. So, agree to accept feedback in small doses.
4. Apply and Reply. Don’t expect to put everything to use. Apply several of the ideas you feel are valid, throw out the ones that don’t work.
5. Gratitude. Thank your partner for helping you find out what sucks. Show him how your work has improved by applying his feedback.
6. Offer to reciprocate. Be willing to help your friend find out what sucks with his work too. Offer to follow the same guidelines as discussed previously.
Ultimately, I think Jerry Seinfeld said it best, ‘There are only two types of feedback in life: ‘That’s great!’ and ‘That sucks!’
If you want to make a name for yourself, you better ask for both.
(Oh, and if you think there’s something I’ve done that sucks, super! Email me. Thanks in advance.)
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who’s your go-to person that tells you where you suck?