Eric Chong, a 21 year old engineering student auditioned for the first season of Masterchef Canada. In his audition, Eric cooked a dish of duck breast with a thai curry sauce for the three judges.
The three judges watched as Eric prepared his dish with little banter in between and once finished the three of them had a taste. One of the judges, Alvin Leung, is a former engineer and a michelin star chef. After tasting Eric’s dish Alvin commented that the duck was burnt, Eric replied, “It’s not burnt I promise you that”. And with a stern gaze, Alvin looked him in the eye, “Eric, I don’t like it when people tell me I’m wrong.”
It was then time to vote on whether or not Eric moves on in the competition. One judge voted yes, the other no, and Alvin had the tie breaker. He then says to him, “Eric, if a chef tells you it’s burnt, it’s burnt. Don’t argue. Because if you argue we don’t want to teach you. Be humble. Learn. If I’m going to give you a yes, I want to see more. Can you give me more?”
“Do you know who I am?”
“You’re Alvin Leung. A Chef. An Engineer. And you’re living my dream,” Eric said with an innocent smile.
Eric got past the audition and went on to win the competition.
Watching this video today I realized that my boss and I had the same conversation. In a recent one on one, he was giving me feedback, and I argued and made excuses. He gave me similar advice, “That’s not how you take feedback James. This is not a personal attack against you. Listen. Understand. Improve. I don’t want to hear any excuses.”
Whenever I get feedback from now on, I argue, I won’t make excuses. There aren’t any excuses. I’ll take it and I’ll learn from it instead.