Apparently people are more afraid of public speaking than of death. These fears of being visible can be so detrimental to your business and to your ability to reach for your dreams.
Another stumbling block I’ve noticed amongst my entrepreneur clients is the fear of being criticized. It especially affects entrepreneurs, writers, actors or anyone else in a creative profession. If you’ve ever set up a blog, then you’ve probably experienced the fear of being criticised when you start sharing yourself publicly.
Especially in today’s society when online bullying is so rampant, any person who shares regularly on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or a blog is bound to get some ill-intentioned or even downright nasty comments directed at them. There’s gonna be haters.
It’s all so destructive and crippling.
This fear can keep you hostage and force you to give up your dreams. When I suffered with this fear, it kept me awake at night, stomach churning. I was playing small in the world. But I’ve conquered it and I want to help you do that too.
I don’t want brilliant, soulful business owners to suffer this anymore.
I want to help you break through this block
Fear of criticism can hold you back from starting a business you think is a great idea, writing that book that’s been keeping you awake at night or from making a big leap like changing careers.
I know entrepreneurs with manuscripts lurking in their bottom drawers, but several have confessed to me “If I get a rejection letter, I’ll die“.
Here’s the thing.
Criticism might suck but it will not kill you.
Yes, it might sting, but if you’re ever going to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone then you have to be able to armor yourself against some inevitable flack from other people.
Here are my top tips on softening the pain of criticism.
1) Remember That Not Everyone Will Like You
2) Lose the ‘They’re Just Jealous’ Refrain
3) Never Read Your Bad Press
4) Keep it Sweet
5) Get Excited by Criticism
When Mark and I won The Ultimate Job in the World competition (read about the luckiest year of my life right here), we were suddenly thrust into the public eye. At first we had a barrage of negativity from the other contestants, their friends and family and a load of complete strangers.
Strangely, it didn’t bother me. I was elated; I was about to leave on a six month paid holiday testing out luxury honeymoon destinations. I ignored it all.
However halfway through the trip, the Guardian did a feature about me and a few of the negative comments really upset me.
I really felt the pain, embarrassment and anger of it. I had to fight the urge to comment back and justify myself. I was called boring and superficial, then when someone called me a hypocrite, I couldn’t let it go.
I was trying to compose the perfect response, the exact words that would make them realise they were wrong and I was right. I wanted them to see that I was a nice person, dammit! I wanted them to like me.
I wanted everyone in the world, including perfect strangers to like me? Is that even possible? It required tracking down every single negative commenter and charming them until they wanted to be my friend!
I thought I was immune to criticism, but I have to admit that it stung.
But, I didn’t die. I was pissed off, but nothing physically bad happened to me. My life continued on more or less the same. Yes, there were a few more people in the world who thought badly of me, but I survived.
I realised then that I could survive criticism. Nothing bad happened to me. I just let the feelings drift away and felt so empowered. To help you do this I recommend the Forgiveness Exercise that I practice.
We shy away from putting ourselves and our work “out there” in the world because we’re afraid that people will misconstrue what we’re doing, make us feel stupid or worthless or worse – think we’re “bad people”. I call BS on that! No more!
People make nasty comments. Writing it off as jealousy from an evil person sets up a sense of better than / less than and makes you feel like people are out to get you as you become more successful.
This may be the case. Equally, they could be just letting off steam, have had a bad day, or just made a snap judgement and couldn’t help themselves from ranting.
Either way, it’s their problem – not yours.
If you can disengage from the criticism and just see it for what it is – absolute meaningless rubbish – then you can move on and achieve whatever you want to without worrying about other people’s random opinions.
Does that sound like denial? No – I call it self-preservation. Why should you let someone’s ill-informed, heated word-vomit ruin your day?
Hilariously, many friends feel it’s their duty to try and defend me online. I’ve seen many comments like “If you actually knew Denise….”. I think that’s sweet, but it’s also pointless. If someone tells me there is some negative stuff online – I just ignore it and don’t read it anymore.
The fact is – the more well-known you become, the more criticism you’ll face. The more successful you become, the more people will feel envy, jealousy, resentment or disagreement with your ideas. Big deal.
Consider it a sign of success that you’re generating buzz. Don’t obsess over it or spend hours Googling yourself – it’s not healthy and you can use that energy for living your life beautifully.
Think of it karmically. What goes around comes around. If you’re being nasty online to others, then chances are it will come back to you eventually.
I try very hard not to say anything bad or mean online, because I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of it.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, just button your lip! That doesn’t mean I don’t bitch anymore – I just say it to my husband instead of writing it online.
Get into a habit of blessing people who annoy you, or wish other people luck, even if you’re feeling jealous. Say to yourself “good things are happening to me too”… and they will!
Am I mad? How can you get excited about something that hurts so badly and makes you want to throw up?
When I was writing book proposals I remember receiving my first rejection letter. It was nicely worded and I emailed Mark and said:
My very first rejection letter! YAY! Feels good and I’m on track.
Think of every rejection as another step along the road.
Could you reframe criticism as a measure of success?
Would you be willing to get excited about every rejection as one step closer to your goal?
What if you DESERVE the criticism?!
As hard as this sounds, sometimes there can be truth to criticism. If you’re constantly being told that you miss deadlines, that you are late to meet friends, that you’re unreliable or if customers are constantly bitching about you then take a good honest look and ask yourself if there’s any truth in it.
Yes, it can hurt admitting that you’re wrong, but take it as useful feedback and acknowledge it. People will be less likely to bitch behind your back if you’re truthful about your shortcomings and say sorry if you need to.
Because it’s such a classic and we should all read it daily, please remind yourself of the beautiful words of Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson, A Course in Miracles
What could you do if you let go of the fear of criticism?
What could you do if you felt the fear and did it anyway?
Grab your journal and write down your answers.
It’s your time and you’re ready for the next step,
P.S. I’ve found that a lot of other people’s criticism comes from their own money blocks. This month in Money Bootcamp we’ve got a special coaching call on how to deal with other people’s money mindset so that their blocks don’t sabotage your progress.
If you want my help on dealing with others and keeping your mindset abundant and positive when those around you are not, then click here to message me for Bootcamp info - I’d love to see you join this month!
Learn how to grow your business and up-level your income without working harder.
Here's a helpful list of my most popular resources ...
Looking for the free resources mentioned in my books?
Watch my free Money Blocks Workshop and discover your biggest block
Join Money Bootcamp Course and Community
Join my Money Mindset Newsletter list
Buy my Books Chillpreneur, Get Rich Lucky Bitch or Lucky Bitch
Read my latest money mindset Blog post