Nothing kills your momentum faster than succumbing to criticism…and if you put yourself out there, it WILL happen. You will hear people saying, writing, or even tweeting that you are too this or too that, that your such-and-such is not enough like so-and-so’s, or that your latest book, blog or keynote could have been better.
Taking the opinions of others too seriously can crush your creative spirit IF you let it. The hardest lesson every entrepreneur must learn is that you cannot control the criticism – only how you react to the criticism. It’s sometimes easier said than done when the criticism cuts to the core.
How to NOT Be Crushed by Random (Unsolicited) Criticism
Learning to take criticism instead of internalizing it isn’t easy. A few (unsolicited) tips when you are the victim of random, unsolicited feedback:
Get Mad. Then Get Tough – Give yourself 60 seconds to be crazy mad about it – yell and scream if you think it won’t scare the kids or the neighbors – and then get your tough face on. Chin up and keep on smiling. Remember, the worst thing you can do is let the criticism get to you.
Examine the Source – Who is doing the criticizing? Is this someone whose opinion should matter to you or just some random person who happened to cross your path? Does this critic even have the authority to criticize? If it doesn’t matter, ignore it. If it does matter, look for the gem of wisdom and learn from it.
Question the Intent – Know that some people criticize to be helpful (like the people who graciously point out typos) while others do it maliciously or because they have nothing better to do. Remember the golden rule of social media (and life, if you think about it): Don’t feed the trolls.
Separate Yourself – This is a difficult one for creative types, but you must separate yourself from your creative works and know that a criticism of them isn’t a criticism of you. A simple exercise to get over the connectedness is to look back at your earliest efforts and realize that even you have criticisms of them. Chances are they don’t reflect you now just as your current work doesn’t reflect the future you.
Go to Your Happy Place – If you don’t keep a file of Nice Notes, you should for this very reason. Take a moment to read through all the wonderful comments and feedback you have received over the years. Now compare that to the one snide remark from some random person.
Dear Readers, know you aren’t alone. No one is immune to criticism. Listen to the people who matter the most: the ones who truly know you and not the ones who think they do based on their outside observations!