dealing with criticism

one of the reasons i was ready to make a big change in my business, to close one biz down and create a new brand and online home, was to shake things up.

i had been feeling like i had hit a ceiling in my biz, like i wasn’t making much of an impact, and like the new stuff i was into didn’t really fit with the old.

making a change was a great way to shake things up – to push myself out of my comfort zone, to look at ways that i could be more cohesive and more impactful, to ignite my spark again and start with a clean slate.

i knew that it was the absolute right thing to do.

and i knew some people wouldn’t get it. some people wouldn’t like it. and some people would go so far as to tell me why.

it’s just a fact of being human. some people feel the need to tell you why they don’t like you! some people feel the need to tell you all of the things you are doing wrong. but…

what other people think of you is none of your business. 

often times the criticism we receive isn’t even about us – it is about whatever is going on with that other person. 

i love the phrase “hold up a mirror” – it reminds me that whatever someone has said is reflected back on them, and your reaction to it is reflected back on you.

because how you react to stuff can be a clue for you!

things that bug you, annoy you, have you feeling defensive, guilty, or jealous… anything really that gets under your skin or triggers you... 

that stuff can be a sign of something you need to work through in order to keep going on your path.

for instance, when i announced that i was closing down build a little biz, i received amazing words of support and encouragement. i also received a few comments of criticism. some stuff i was easily able to brush off, but the stuff that got under my skin was a clue for me… a clue to what i had deal with myself if i was going to make my plans a success!

you can also use criticism to make you stronger.

a few months ago i received some comments about “building a lighthouse” that didn’t at all fit in with what it means to me or the message i want to share with the world. the comments felt really negative and dark, and critical of the story i had been sharing.

at first i had a moment of wondering if i had chosen the right symbol, the right path for my next steps. then i got really defensive! i wanted to argue with this person, i wanted to show her all of the ways she was wrong!

i realized that i could let those comments set me back or i could use them to make me stronger in my belief, more determined to continue my path, even more powerful in sharing a message of positivity and light!

here is a little exercise you can try…

the next time you are working on something or are trying to make a decision about something share your options and ideas with your community. this could be a name for a new package, a new product or service idea, ideas for a tagline, choices of photos… anything really.

share your ideas and ask people to vote or let you know what they think.

now this is the really important part: your reaction to the votes or comments is much more important than the votes and comments themselves. 

notice how you feel. notice what makes you feel a little defensive or outraged. notice when you feel “well i don’t care what you think am going to do that anyways!” notice what makes you feel a little afraid, or worried, or overwhelmed, or excited, or right on track!

that is the stuff you can really learn from!

another really important lesson from this exercise is that if you share your options or ideas with your community (say on facebook or insty or whatever) not everyone who responds is your ideal customer. some may be from family and friends, some may be from random likers who don’t really get you or your biz.

this is true for your biz in general: not every bit of advice or information or criticism you receive is something for you to pay attention to!

(i will add that if i actually do want opinions on something i will only share it in a group of people who are actually my ideal customers!)

the last thing to get out of this exercise is to build up some resilience. not everyone will love what you do. not everyone will need what you do. some people will tell you straight out that they don’t like it (or you!). 

building up some thick skin, and learning to deal with criticism and negativity, will allow you to be even stronger at sharing what you do with the people who do love and need it.

those people are your business.

so concentrate on them.

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