I am so blessed with a wonderful mentor. He and I meet every few months, I share updates about SCVRJP and myself.
He recently gave me such an honest gift. He told me that I am intelligent, beautiful on the inside and have enormous passion. This was followed by the observation that I am not good at receiving what is or I perceive as criticism. This was his observation, offered with my permission. My mentor has known me for over 10 years, I value his perspective.
My mentor is skilled in using stories to give me wisdom. He related the experience of sharing 99 Excellent ratings, and 1 Poor rating with a consultant. The guidance was to really pay attention to the “poor” rating that is where the lesson in improving is.
So I did this recently.
Feedback on my performance review was that I should try not to get new grant money for new programs, that I should get grants for existing programs. I thought of this, and know that you get grants for new projects. I was thinking of stories to explain this. A few examples were easy, demonstrating why a few other non-profits have taken on other projects. I then thought about another non-profit that gets to stay very consistent with services and not seek out new projects. It occurred to me that this non-profit receives state funding. AH-HA . . . that is what I need to do!
I need to work on getting Restorative Justice government funding! H.R 4286, is proposed to allow schools to use funds for Restorative Justice training. As luck would have it I am going to Washington DC! I’m going to DC to train a school on using RJ. How perfect is this? I emailed my WI legislators and plan to get a visit with staff and leave a message at each office.
Had I not spent time processing about the critique regarding my grant getting attempts, I would not have realized this crucial aspect of promoting Restorative Justice in a larger context. I am nowhere near perfect now, at taking critique and not feeling offended. What I have realized is that this gift of advice, which I suspect is a Buddhist practice, “to find the gift given” means I have to find a moment of pause and neutrality and instead of reacting to the feedback, I found my outlet to get to what the person providing feedback wanted – for me to find ways to get funds for existing programs.
Next time you feel insulted, try to find the gift given. Next time you are helping prepare people for a restorative session, maybe you can relate a story about a gift you found.