Tao of Zero: Positive Feedback Folders


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Today we’re going to talk about positive feedback folders.

Have you ever hit a rough patch in life (personally or professionally) where you feel like nothing is going your way?

Perhaps you’ve hit a creative block, are dealing with some kind of rejection, or you’re just having a difficult time connecting with some of the things that are important to you.

And to make matters worse, perhaps you get a bit down on yourself and you start focusing on the negative. Maybe even asking yourself why you even bother.

This is where a positive feedback folder can help.

What is a positive feedback folder?

As you might guess, it’s a folder — or more likely, a document — in which you store positive feedback that you’ve received.

You know how some companies have testimonials? Positive feedback folders are a lot like that, except they’re a personal repository of positive feedback for you being you — or a repository for feedback you’ve received at work anytime outside of a standard performance review.

The idea is that anytime you receive meaningful positive feedback, you add it to your document. That way, when you hit a rough patch and are feeling down, you have this collection of comments to remind yourself of the brighter side of life and why you do what you do.

What to track in a positive feedback folder?

Track anything and everything that is meaningful to you in a positive way.

  • If someone says something nice in a txt or email, add it to your folder. (If it’s digital, you can copy & paste it to a text file or simply take a screenshot. Whatever works!)
  • If you receive an acceptance letter, meaningful greeting card, or handwritten letter, take a photo of it and add it to your folder.
  • If someone leaves you a nice comment on a social network — and it makes you smile — add it to your folder.

What about in real life?

If someone provides you with some meaningful positive feedback you on something in real liferemember it as best you can — and write it down as soon as you’re able to (with mobile devices, this is pretty easy).

You don’t have to remember anything verbatim — that’s not the point — but anything that is truly meaningful to you will be easier to remember because of how it affected you.

If you’re not much of a typer, remember that many mobile note taking apps (evernote, catch…) now have voice note recording. So simply speak your note instead of typing it.

When you record real-life feedback, remember to be specific.

  • Who said it?
  • When/where was it? (context)
  • And what did they say?

And then one day in the future, when you look back at your folder — and you see their name next to the feedback, you can complete the circle of kindness by thanking them (again) for it. “Remember that time you said [whatever it was]? Well, it really meant a lot to me.” They will be flattered that you remembered.

It may sound like this is all about you — and it is. But there’s nothing to feel guilty about.

This is not a self-promotion tool (unless you are collecting testimonials related to something you do), it’s not something you share with people. It’s for you.

It’s just a collection of all the little things that help give you a boost when you’re feeling down or defeated. And if you don’t get down, then this feedback can help provide you with the motivation (and reminders) to keep doing more of the things that have worked for you in the past.

It’s like your own anytime-you-need-it positive personal-performance review. And a reminder of the things you did that people noticed and gave you positive feedback for.

Great (and totally free) ways to collect & keep a positive feedback folder:

While keeping a simple text document will do the trick — especially if you use google docs (with mobile apps) — sites with apps that allow you to easily submit and sync feedback to all of your devices with an Internet are ideal:

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