Shades of feedback

“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.”
~Frank A. Clark

It takes courage to take to the stage, bring a new dream forth, and/or be vulnerable.

For myself, and many of my clients who are rising up to new levels of success or integrating new versions of themselves, we are embracing all three forms of that courage in our unique ways.

As I ready for a major TV appearance soon, I am learning to accept both the excitement and tenderness of the moments before me with humility and gratitude.

An expanded public persona is a vessel that can allow me to serve in greater ways, and I surely want to shine as brightly as possible. We are not here to dim our light, but rather to express our innate greatness.

Yet, the external image is only a small part of the fuller expression of who I have become as I prepared internally for this moment to shine.


Intentionally spending uncomfortably long stretches of time in solitude listening to inner guidance, I gently released limits of the past to make room for new ways of living with more self-compassion, fearlessness and discernment.

This rebirth—a sensitive period of explosive, inner growth—entailed two key components:

  1. The first, of course, is celebration of decades of hard work—mentally, emotionally and spiritually—to receive national recognition.

I am choosing tulips, my favorite flower, as a joyful symbol of this milestone of shining my light in expanded ways. This quote by Marianne Williamson says it best.

“A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different than a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different. And there’s room in the garden for every flower. You didn’t have to struggle to make your face different than anyone else’s on earth. It just is. You are unique because you were created that way. Look at little children in kindergarten. They’re all different without trying to be. As long as they’re unselfconsciously being themselves, they can’t help but shine. It’s only later, when children are taught to compete, to strive to be better than others, that their natural light becomes distorted.”

  1. The second part of this significant time has been developing a fiercer protection of myself, and staying empowered from within. I now have an imaginary sword handy to stop unwanted naysayers from sabotaging the moment.

For all the love and support I have received, a few people have given some unsolicited, harsh or critical feedback at what felt like inappropriate timing during a moment of joy.

As noted in many success books, positive changes can ignite fears and insecurities in others, especially those closest to us.

Encouragement, and a sense of being embraced and belonging, is especially helpful to the dream pursuer before a big leap, as one of the key underlying subconscious limiting beliefs around fear of success is the fear of being alone.

I often suggest to my clients who make the brave choice to step out of their comfort zones, and follow their passions, that they recognize dreams are like seedlings that need to be nurtured and held sacred.

Not everyone will welcome our new dreams or ways of being. It is part of the loss when we step forward. The gains in freedom of living authentically far outweigh the losses.

I love this related quote by Brené Brown, professor, researcher and lecturer: “If you think dealing with issues like worthiness and authenticity and vulnerability are not worthwhile because there are more pressing issues, like the bottom line or attendance or standardized test scores, you are sadly, sadly mistaken. It underpins everything.”

Rejection, unsolicited commentary or attacks can still sting, no matter how hard we try not to take things personally—especially when we are going for a big dream.

It helps to first build a strong team of those who will champion us.

Constructive feedback can come later, after the big shining moment. As Charles Schwab has said:

“I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”

Feedback is also better received if one first asks permission to give it, to prepare the listener time to get ready to hear it with an open mind.


Going forward, I will continue listening more carefully to what feedback inspires me to grow and learn, and when to let go of negative comments.

I intend to remain open-hearted and open-minded, yet discerning about whom I trust in this new, unfamiliar territory of a much larger audience.


These are some of the questions I will now ask:

1. Does this person really have my back?

  1. Is someone projecting his or her “stuff” onto me? And if so, can they accept responsibility for that?
  1. What part of what they said is true and helpful?
  1. Were their messages delivered from love and support or fear from their own insecurities? I recall this line a therapist friend once shared: “Those who are insecure scratch; those who are secure support.”
  1. Do I feel championed for my uniqueness?
  1. Has this person earned my trust over time, or shown in some way that he or she has the wisdom to share his or her insights in a helpful, growth-oriented manner that I can respect?


Having championed others for decades as their coach, I have found that love and compassion propel growth as much, if not more so, as constructive feedback.

At the very least, appropriate timing, tone, and the manner in which “help” is respectfully delivered matter a lot.

“When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical.”~Author Unknown

For now, I am CHOOSING TO ENJOY letting my shade of light shine brightly, as I continue to support others in expressing their uniqueness.

In the words of author Elizabeth von Arnim, in her book Elizabeth and Her German Garden, tulips keep the energy high:

“I love tulips better than any other spring flower; they are the embodiment of alert cheerfulness and tidy grace, and next to a hyacinth look like a wholesome, freshly tubbed young girl beside a stout lady whose every movement weighs down the air with patchouli. Their faint, delicate scent is refinement itself; and is there anything in the world more charming than the sprightly way they hold up their little faces to the sun. I have heard them called bold and flaunting, but to me they seem modest grace itself, only always on the alert to enjoy life as much as they can and not be afraid of looking at the sun or anything else above them in the face.”

STAY TUNED: I will post the scheduled time and channels of my TV debut in next week’s blog, which I am publishing Saturday, Dec. 5th.  (The network advised I wait until then to share show times, given there can be last minute schedule changes.)

In joyful and tender anticipation,


Special thanks to my client, Maria Tropp, a talented jewelry designer, for sharing her beautiful tulip photo with us. Maria is also launching her own dream next month.  

Check her out on Instagram @LunarShineDesigns. Always creative, Maria has been passionate about making jewelry and dancing since she can remember herself. She hopes her unique jewelry designs empower each client to look and feel beautiful while dancing, or achieving their life goals.  



I am offering “Gift Certificates of Self-Care” for individual phone or Zoom coaching sessions (in addition to my six-session packages), per request of my clients who have enjoyed purchasing these for their family, friends and colleagues.


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  • See my latest media interviews about claiming your worthiness on my Press Page.
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  • Maria TRopp says:

    Hi Gail,
    I would like to thank you for this incredibly insightful and powerful blog entry that arose from a moment of vulnerability. Vulnerability is our natural companion when we try to propel to a new stage, break away from our comfort zone and dare to follow our dreams, because trying something new and different is always scary.

    Speaking from personal experience, we are not only uneasy about potential criticism, but we are also uncomfortable with accepting that it is OK to want to shine, because somehow it may be perceived by others as less then modest. However, what is wrong with trying to be the best version of oneself?

    I share Gail’s love for tulips, because I love how tulips continue to grow even after they have been cut and for their unapologetic, understated and unique beauty. I am very honored and grateful to be included in this blog entry as I am trying to follow my dreams, and like tulips despite challenges that I have had to face, continue to grow. Thank you, Gail!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Maria: As a dancer (among many of your other talents), you surely know what it’s like to move through vulnerability to shine on a stage, no less! Thanks for sharing your own wisdom and insights.

      And your jewelry is so very brilliant. I’m excited to wear some of your pieces in a future video. I was thrilled you sent some of your tulip photos when I shared how this imagery is so important to me for this stage of growth. Many blessings and much success to you. I hope blog readers go check you out on Instagram!!! With joy and gratitude, Gail

  • Lisa May says:

    Beautiful post, Gail. I love the questions you shared……especially that feedback from a place of love is truly a gift. Keep shining brightly!!!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thank you, Lisa: Going within, and getting centered in love, is where we getting our greatest insights. Glad you enjoyed the questions! Blessings, Gail

  • Joyce mcdonough says:

    Gail, awesome message. In the four years I have known you, you have given everything you’ve got to get your loving message out there, in every way that you can. Your tenacity has been remarkable. You certainly deserve this moment, and many more. I’m so excited for you. Some people will get it, some won’t. All that matters is who does. Thanks for the reminder that protecting my worthiness is just as important as claiming it. There’s a tough crowd out there. I don’t need everyone to love me….just those who deserve me. Thank you for your love and friendship. Go Shine!! Can’t wait to see you in my living room 🙂

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Aw, Joyce: Thanks for consistently believing in me and my message. You’ll get to see me on TV before I do, as it airs in Arizona at 9 am. and not until 2 p.m. in North Carolina on the scheduled day, streaming at various other times throughout the country. Then it goes to YouTube, I believe. You will have to fill me in! Lots of love, Gail

  • Cynde Denson says:

    As always, well stated Gail. We live in a culture where people sometimes offer their “feedback” which can be thinly veiled criticism that comes from their own story without any sensitivity about how it lands. As you eloquently stated, when you put yourself out there in the world, it opens up a very vulnerable place. Encouragement can go such a long way in feeding one on the path. I personally love the Buddhist practice of sympathetic joy, intentionally opening to feeling of joy and happiness at the success of another. When you have a victory, it truly opens up more space for us all. On that note, I wish you bundles of success on your upcoming interview. You will be awesome. Sending lots of love.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thanks, Cynde, for sharing that Buddhist practice of “sympathetic joy.” Beautifully said-opening space for others to have a victory too. I would love to see the new model of success include more unity consciousness, that we’re all in this together. I know I enjoy the collective power of collaborating when the right people are aligned. Appreciate your good wishes…I’m excited, and grateful. Blessings, Gail

  • Gail, I won’t look at tulips the same way again! “The sprightly way they hold up their little faces to the sun.” Thank you for modeling, tenderly protecting the seeds, and your tenacity and passion to keep your face to the light, no matter what. And …lots of people will soon see your beautiful, bright face and hear your worthiness message on TV. I sense it will resonate with many.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Sharon–Your sweet and insightful words brought a tender tear to my eye, and I felt a heart-opening: to be seen, heard, valued and acknowledged in the ways I have championed clients for decades. Such a HUGE gift to receive in this moment. There’s a word from my Finnish heritage: SISU. Wikipedia describes it this way: “Sisu is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character.” I am honored to be recognized for that, and to be given the opportunity to teach what I learned from the mountain climb, meeting obstacle after obstacle, and realizing as I near the top of this big moment, it’s all about love and compassion–for others AND SELF. Can’t serve from an empty cup…resting now a bit for whatever is next. Grateful you are in my circle of nurturance. Blessings, Gail

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