Whether you like it or not, one thing that happens once you start multiplying your business is that you become a target for criticism. I’m not talking about criticism from your family or friends, because you may get that too, but I’m referring to criticism in your industry.
Every time that I have stepped out of my comfort zone, taken a risk and have done something much bigger in my business, inevitably there are going to be some haters—people who will criticize just to take pot shots. (Click here to tweet this.)
Today I want to talk to you about how to deal with this type of criticism. First and foremost, you have to realize that the bigger you play, the more you will invite criticism. I’ve experienced this just recently in my own business. You can give good value and you can give above and beyond and you can just be so loving and yummy, there will always be somebody who gets a greater sense of self-esteem by tearing other people down. Do you ever experience that?
It can be really shocking at first. Sometimes it could be a disgruntled client who just decides to rip into you. There are a couple of ways that you can deal with that. The first, if you feel like it, go ahead and have a good cry. That’s what I did recently. Just have a big ol’ cry and let it out.
Then realize that it’s usually not your issue; it’s usually theirs. Usually it’s the person who is criticizing who gets this greater sense of self-value when they tear other people down. So, know that is the case most of the time, and tell yourself, “That’s not my problem. That’s theirs. They’re projecting something false onto me.” You could say that they’re jealous or they resent you or they’re angry at you because you’ve made it, you’re playing a bigger game and they’re not.
After a few days of thinking about it, you can look at the criticism and say, “Which part of this can I own?” Even if their criticism is inflammatory, is there one percent of it that you can own and say, “If I’m going to be in integrity with how I do things, is a tiny bit of it true?” Usually there is a tiny bit of it that’s true.
So you can look at it after the dust has settled and say, “What can I learn from this experience? What can I change about how I do things?” It may be just a little bit of change in the energy of how you do something. Sometimes you can make very tiny changes that will have a big effect in reducing the criticism.
With that said, the thing that I want you to get is that I do not want you to dilute who you are. You must stay in integrity. Oftentimes these people who are criticizing are angels. They’re serving us a lesson—yes, in a bitter pill—but sometimes those lessons are the things that help you multiply your business even more. So, own up to what you can.
Now it’s ok to listen and learn from criticism, but you don’t have to immerse yourself in negative comments either. It’s ok to shield yourself. Many years ago I was watching the ‘unsubscribes’ to my email. Every time somebody would unsubscribe to my ezine on a Friday, I allow it to get to me. Then one day I decided I’m not going to read those emails anymore and instead I redirected them into a folder and after a while they went to my assistant. I found that every time I saw one of those ‘unsubscribes’ or some of the nasty grams that people sometimes feel entitled to write, it would affect my self-esteem and my mojo would take a hit. I would allow it to stop me from playing big. So it’s ok to shield yourself.
A good example is an actress who gives interviews to magazines all the time but doesn’t actually read the articles. So you could just decide, “I’m no longer going to read that. I’m no longer going to make myself available. They can do what they want to do. If I’m here doing my work with authenticity, integrity and love, and giving the most value I can give, then I can be comfortable with who I am and I don’t need to hear what they have to say.”
Finally, understand that you are being prepared. You are being prepared for the next big level. You’re being roughened up and toughened up a bit so your skin gets a little thicker. If you want to look at this as a spiritual journey, because I believe that entrepreneurship is a spiritual journey, you are simply being prepared for the next level because the higher you get, the more criticism there will be by people who really don’t know you and don’t know the good that you are doing in this world.
Entrepreneurship is a full contact sport. It’s the best place for personal growth and development. Understand that there is a reason for all of this and do what you can to fix the things that are out of integrity and then stay in the knowledge that if you’re doing a good thing and you’re changing people’s lives, then you don’t need to listen to the naysayers.
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Take this advice the next time you encounter criticism. Realize it’s likely their issue, not yours. Learn what you can from the comments. Shield yourself when necessary. Remember you’re being prepared for bigger and better things. And above all, stay in integrity.