Look for clues about what is important. The feedback you receive tells you what is important to others—what they value. When you know what people value, you are in a better position to increase your value to them! At the very least, you will understand how to manage their expectations in the future. In this light, even negative feedback is a win. (It won’t feel like you are winning when you receive it. Trust the process, and review items 1–6.)

A personal balance sheet will assist you in processing and managing feedback.1 Make three columns and label them: "Strengths/Abilities," "Emerging Strengths," and "Areas of Development." The balance sheet works on the premise that you have value and you have the ability to increase your personal value. It allows you to plan, mark, and promote your growth.

In the strengths column, list your abilities and areas of expertise. These are the skills and knowledge areas you own and are known for. Emerging strengths are things you are working on; for example, you are practicing and increasing your confidence; you are close to the tipping point and beginning to hit your stride. The development areas are your gaps. You need to add these to abilities in order to achieve your goals.

As you build your balance sheet, refer to the beliefs you captured and cataloged when we started. How are those reflected here? Pull out your goals, and have a conversation with a coach or mentor. In reviewing the balance sheet, here are a few things you may want to think about:

Are your strengths known to you and to others?

How are you measuring progress on the emerging strengths? Is your progress visible to others?

What is the most important area of development now?

How can you design opportunities to develop in those areas?

The balance sheet is an ongoing and dynamic process of addition. When you master an emerging strength, it shifts to the strengths column. As your goals come into focus and you process feedback, you will identify areas needing more attention or development. Each time you add an ability or strength, you increase your value. You reduce the gaps and create opportunity.


Adapted from Ready, Set... Grow! (Excel Books, 2009). Copyright 2009 by Dondi Scumaci. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Dondi Scumaci is an international speaker, author, and expert in leadership development, communication, talent management, and mentoring. She is known for high energy on the platform and for the dramatic results her presentations inspire. She is the author of Designed for Success and lives in San Antonio with her husband, Scumaci, and son, Tabor.