If you’re going to be doing anything of real importance in this world, you’re going to come up against criticism from people who have a different point of view from you.
Learning how to deal with criticism in a positive and constructive way is important at every stage of creating a business (and it’s also a really important life skill in your personal life as well!).
In this video below I explain how to deal with criticism in a way that is healthy for you and will help you grow as a person and in your business.
When faced with criticism it’s pretty common to get thrown off balance. If you feel uncomfortable receiving criticism from others then you’re going to have 1 of 2 different reactions:
You say: ‘Screw you, you’re wrong, you’re just jealous, you don’t know what you’re talking about!’ or
You say: ‘Oh no, I’m wrong, I’m awful, I don’t know what I’m talking about!’
Do you recognise yourself in either of these reactions?
Whether criticism triggers a reaction of fight (spoken out loud or simply in your head) or retreat (stepping away from what you’re putting out into the world) in you, neither is going to serve you or your business.
Keep reading for my 3 best steps for a positive way of dealing with criticism.
First you must disregard any personal comments of criticism that come your way. Anything about your hair colour should be ignored, and so should any criticism that feels superficial or mean.
Then you need to dump the emotional load – both yours and the person delivering the criticism. Recognise that the other person’s comment might be triggering you and it is also possible that your work could be triggering them.
You need to find the real content of the criticism. Is the real content that ‘my message isn’t clear’, ‘that I talk too fast for them to understand me’ or that they simply disagree with my point of view on a topic. Even if the comment is delivered poorly (i.e. it sounds mean or harsh), there could be some useful feedback in there.
It’s important to view criticism as being connected with your work not as you as a person (or your worthiness). We often conflate our work with our worth but that’s an unhealthy position to hold. Once you separate the personal from the professional you’ll be able to see the real content of the any criticism you receive.
Remember that not everyone will like or agree with you. That’s ok. But if you’re receiving a lot of the same kind of criticism, it’s worth paying attention.
Ask yourself if this is just 1 person or does it represent a trend? Repetitive feedback should be listened. It could be a sign that there is something you need to change to keep improving.
We shouldn’t be afraid to hear how we can grow and improve. We need to take a step back to see whether the criticism is valid.
Get a trusted peer or friend who you know will be honest to help you decide how valid the criticism is. Don’t let 1 person’s opinion derail your work but do pay attention when you keep hearing the same comments.
Getting criticism is actually a very good sign. Your biggest fear should be of hearing crickets, not criticism. If people are commenting on your work, it means they are listening and your message is attracting attention. Good news!
What you need to do is look for a positive takeaway to get from the criticism. It could be advice on how you could improve your work. You might conclude: people need me to slow down in my videos.
If someone disagrees with the content of your message, it could help you get clear on your ideal audience. You might conclude that: my ideal audience isn’t 50 year old businessmen. They think I’m flaky and unprofessional.
There’s always (yes always!) a positive gift to take from criticism. You might conclude: I was so afraid of people not liking me, now I know it’s not so bad. Now I can step out with my work in a bigger and bolder way!
There’s a strength that comes from knowing how to handle criticism. It doesn’t mean it won’t ever hurt. It’s simply about knowing what to do so when it does come it won’t throw you off balance. And perhaps more importantly, the fear of criticism won’t stop you from putting your voice and your work out into the world.
Avoiding criticism by going into fight or retreat mode could mean losing out on some very useful feedback. Criticism helps us grow and improve. We shouldn’t be afraid of criticism. We just need to learn to use it wisely.
If you need help overcoming your fear of criticism or want constructive feedback before you release your project into the world, click below to jump on a free Discovery Call with me.