By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes

There’s no worse feeling than thinking you’re doing a great job, only to be told that you need to make some major improvements in your performance. While critical feedback may seem like a blindsided attack, chances are, there may be an element to your workflow that just isn’t jibing with your job.

If you’re feeling this way, take some comfort in knowing you’re not alone, the flaw may be in the performance review process itself. In fact, a study from the Society for Human Resource Management found that 90% of performance reviews are painful and ineffective. Still, if you want to get ahead in the company you work for, maybe it’s time to reflect on that feedback and improve your skillset.

Here are some ways to start 2019 off on the right foot.

  • Avoid being defensive. When it comes to individual performance, it’s hard not to get offended when someone says you need to improve. It’s important to remember, however, that you’re part of a company culture. The group needs to be in a certain groove, and it’s possible that the workflow may lean heavier on a skillset that you’re not as strong in. Take the time to listen and find out the areas you may be lacking in, and ask for some concrete methods you can use to improve upon them.
  • Enroll in some courses. Just a few years ago, if you wanted to learn a new skill, it meant enrolling in a physical course that you either had to take at night or on the weekends. Luckily, the technology of today has made learning a new skill as simple as clicking a few buttons and studying from your home. Some predictions even posit that by this year, 50% of all classes will be delivered online, so there is certainly no shortage of skills to learn!
  • Do some soul searching. Maybe this performance review is your big indicator that the company you work for just isn’t the best fit for you. That can be a hard pill to swallow, but if you’re doing the best with what you have and not being recognized for your talents, there are plenty of jobs that may be a better fit for how you operate.

I always remind my clients that growth doesn’t always appear in the ways that we imagined. Every time we receive feedback, whether it’s good or bad, it is an opportunity to become better versions of ourselves, and that is the most important aspect of any career path. The year is still very early, so be sure to take some time to yourself and reflect on your wants, needs, and motivations so that 2019 can work for you.

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  • I'm a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you're excited about and aligned with. This may look like coaching you 1:1, hosting you in one of my courses, or meeting you at one of workshops or keynote speaking engagements! I also own CAKE Media, a house of ghostwriters, copywriters, publicists and SEO whizzes that help companies and influencers expand their voice online. Before being an entrepreneur, I was an award-winning counterterrorism professional who helped the Pentagon in Washington, DC with preparing civilians to prepare for the frontlines of the war on terror.