“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember – the only taste of success some people get is to take a bite out of you.” – Zig Ziglar
Here’s one thing I’m pretty sure of:
I’m pretty sure you don’t want to learn “How to Deal with Criticism.”
In fact, you’d probably prefer a post called: “How to Avoid Criticism and Ensure that Everybody Loves You Unequivocally til the Day You Die.”
Unfortunately, that guide would also be called: “How to Have a Totally Boring Life.”
Face it. When you play a bigger game, or step into your power – you’ll most likely make some people uncomfortable. Unfortunately, in the face of discomfort, most people don’t look within to find the source of it. They choose, instead, to lash out, criticize, or get cynical. All of us – myself included – have played this game!
That’s because very few of us are taught Personal Responsibility. We are taught, instead, to blame other people for our results, our thoughts, and our emotions. We are taught to react.
The true moment of liberation in anyone’s life is when she takes Personal Responsibility for it. When she starts to ask, “What is it in me that created this, or attracted it? How can I learn from it or turn it around?”
Let’s assume, however, that 90% of the world doesn’t practice this level of empowerment. That means that, most likely, someone will criticize you at some point in your life. And I’m not talking about constructive advice. I mean the harsh stuff. The stuff that hurts – because that’s exactly what it’s designed to do!
So, how do you handle it?
Well, I wish I could be with you the moment it happens. Cuz I’ve “Been-There-Done-That” and gotten the t-shirt! Instead, I’ll send you a virtual hug and give you 7 practices that have worked for me.
1 – Make a decision.
Marla came to my women’s retreat because she was “sick of playing small.” I asked her what Playing Big looks like. A determined look crossed her face, and she said, “…to finally stop caring about what other people think of me.”
If this is you, then it’s time to make a decision. Decide right now that you will no longer live your life contorting your soul in an attempt to prevent criticism or judgment. Start with that one decision.
2 – SWSWSWSW.
Remember this: Some will. Some won’t. So what? Someone’s waiting.
After one of my big teleseminars, I received an email from someone who didn’t like it. She sent a list of things that was wrong with it. (And me!)
I also received an email from a woman who was literally on her way to end her own life – and upon listening to that same teleseminar in her car, turned around and chose to start over again because of what I said.
This is classic SWSWSWSW. Apply it to your own gifts!
3 – Give yourself space to grieve.
Criticism is designed to hurt. And it often does. If you need some time to cry, then give yourself that gift. Call a friend who will listen.
Do yourself a favor, however, and set a limit. Give yourself til “Tuesday at 5pm.” Or set the timer for 55 minutes. Then, choose to move on. Otherwise, it’s easy to let it eat away at you indefinitely.
4 – Coach yourself.
A great technique that heals the effects of criticism is Brooke Castillo’s Self-Coaching. In her book Self-Coaching 101, she provides fantastic techniques to heal any negative thought pattern. I’ve had great success using her work. You have to actually DO the work though. Get out your journal and write it all down!
(Exciting Note: Brooke is going to be a special guest at my Wide Awake Weekend Event in Asheville, NC the first weekend in November. Tickets go on sale THIS THURSDAY!!!)
5 – It’s not about you.
Criticism is never about you. It’s always about the person doing the criticizing. That might not help when you’re hurting. But it’s nice to be reminded!
6 – Protect yourself.
A friend of mine who is a university professor told me that there are student websites devoted solely to trashing teachers. Some of his colleagues check these sites everyday.
Don’t do this! Don’t seek out criticism. There are way too many places for victims and snarky people to congregate on the web.
Also, you can hire someone to filter your website email. My team filters all my email now, so that I can stay focused on my writing, my clients and on the good stuff that comes in!
7 – Decide again.
In the face of criticism, the only option is to decide again. Decide to keep shining and living life fully engaged.
Studies have shown that the most common regret among older Americans is of not having taken more risks. Don’t let this be you!
In the awesome words of Marianne Williamson:
“Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”