Day 4 | IWS22 Recap: Feedback and Self-Expression

by | Mar 17, 2022 | Uncategorized

All IWS22 InDependent Daily Recaps are created via partnership with the staff and writers for It’s A Military Life. It’s a Military Life is a milso and vet networking community, dedicated to serving military families and those who serve our country past and present. Founder, Christina Etchberger, is an Army spouse on a mission to give a voice and opportunities to members of the military community by sharing their stories and providing resources.


Day 4 of the InDependent Wellness Summit began with an interview with Dr. Shanita Williams, Associate Vice President of Talent Engagement and Inclusion for Southern New Hampshire University. Dr. Williams is also a TEDx Speaker, Co-Founder of The Feedback Mentality Group, and author.


What thoughts, feelings, or emotions come to mind when you hear the word “feedback?” Furthermore, what is your relationship with feedback? 

I’ll say it–my first thoughts when I think of “feedback” are negative and what’s wild is how common that stigma is. Feedback can be intimidating. You don’t have control of what the other person is going to say! Will they talk about the things I failed at? The things I did wrong? How bad I am at doing things?

Dr. Williams nailed it when she dived into how your relationship with feedback reflects the history you’ve experienced. How you feel about feedback has everything to do with the feedback you’ve received through your childhood, relationships, etc. Did you feel that “AHA” moment? I sure did! Think of it–what is your relationship with feedback? Is it associated with insecurities or fear of failure, and does it feel overwhelming? Everyone has heard the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” except words do hurt. You then remember that hurt and wear it as a shield that protects you from any further hurt, but that shield also blocks out potential positivity, growth, and the beauty that feedback can bring.

Here’s my challenge to you–take your power back!

Pause and reflect on your relationship with feedback. Feedback doesn’t have to be negative; there’s beauty in positive feedback. What you do with the feedback you receive is where you have the power and your response and reaction to feedback is a choice. “Feedback has the power to make people feel welcome, to make people feel confident, and to make people really see themselves in a way that they never have,” said Dr. Williams. Change the narrative and take control by asking for feedback. When you ask for feedback, you step into the driver’s seat and take control of what you’re requesting feedback from, how you’re requesting it, how you receive and process it, then you filter out what you need to grow and flourish. Instead of asking, “What did I fail at?” consider rewording and morphing requests into more positive reflections like “What’s one thing I could consider?” “What’s an area I could enhance?” “What did you enjoy?” Use the positive relationships you already have in your life to open the door to receiving and changing your perspective and relationship with feedback. You need friends, partners, teachers, children, and mentors to open those doors and challenge your perspective of yourself. Feedback is an art–it doesn’t have to be just statements; it can be fulfilling dialogues and conversations with people whom you value and admire. 

Let’s use Dr. Williams’ advice on feedback and change the human experience. Feedback can be beautiful and insightful. Let’s use feedback to grow, thrive, and flourish. —Lexie Coppinger, Assistant Program Director of Veteran Pen Pal Project, IML

The next interview on Day 4 was with Elizabeth Goad. Elizabeth is a personal wardrobe stylist, style educator, and military spouse with a personal mission to help women have the courage to create the wardrobe and life they deserve. Goad believes that how you look on the outside is a reflection of how you feel about yourself on the inside and how you dress is an important self-care tool to help you build self-confidence.

Elizabeth’s interview spoke to me. I’ve struggled with finding my style for as long as I can remember. I’ve spent countless hours sitting on my closet floor frustrated, sad, exhausted, staring at my clothes and having literally no clue what to put on my body. I’m always rotating things out and switching up my style. I’ve had a closet full of pink clothes and a closet full of black. I’ve rocked Doc Martens with shorts and worn cowboy boots with sundresses. In college I joined a sorority and spent every Friday afternoon inside a Forever 21 trying to keep up with trends best suited for girls under a size eight. Since college, I’ve gained and lost forty pounds, had and left a corporate job, and moved to three countries. 

Like Elizabeth, I too am no stranger to being “Physically, fiscally, and geographically challenged in the wardrobe arena.” Elizabeth challenges you to look inward and be honest with yourself about the clothes in your closet. Be willing to remove the clothes that are no longer serving you and give space for what does. And don’t underestimate the mental power clothes from your past can have on you when they’re hanging in front of your face every day. 

“Purging your clothes can be liberating” said Elizabeth. Get rid of clothes that are no longer serving you. Apply her three second rule, “If you don’t love it within three seconds, get rid of it.” Beyond a great purging, she challenges her clients to a seven-day-selfie challenge with the goal of looking at yourself with an “objective eye.” The goal is to find patterns in the way you look and the way you want to look. She also suggests scouring Pinterest for outfits and styles you like and don’t like. Journal about what you saw, what inspired you, and what colors or patterns you keep coming back to. “Learn how to dress for what brings you joy,” said Elizabeth.

She also dives into color theory and how color can impact your mood and how you feel about yourself and can literally enhance or detract from your appearance. How do you find your color? Elizabeth suggests hiring a professional or using her hack to help you find your perfect colors on your own.

This interview is about more than just fashion. It’s about serving yourself better through the clothes you wear and dressing as the person you know you are inside. Finding the right fit and style for you is going to bring you joy, confidence, and self-love. 

“Fashion and style are about bringing you joy. And you should feel joy in what you’re wearing. It’s possible to feel joy in any size you wear,” said Elizabeth. —Tara Correia, IML

Make sure to check out the recaps for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 if you missed them.

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