No matter what you do, someone somewhere won’t like it.
It could be a step along your professional path or a choice you’ve made about something in your personal life. It could be expressing your opinion or a choice of action.
How you handle these folks says a lot about you.
You can take this to the bank: Feedback not asked for is rarely taken well. But even feedback that IS asked for, can be hard to take when it feels like you are being bashed. There is data out there that reveals that not only do we remember the negative events in our lives and the things that people say to us — we need at least 5 times as many positive things to make up for that one piece of negative feedback, also referred to as constructive criticism. Frankly, I don’t think it’s all that constructive.
Taylor Swift’s new song Shake It Off suggests that since the ‘players gonna play and the haters gonna hate,’ we should just shake it off. If only it were that easy.
When I worry too much about everyone else, I think about my mom, Max Titlebaum. She never took a referendum or a survey to do what she thought was right: for her, for her family, for the life she built. She was thoughtful and rarely impulsive. She might have been hurt by the actions or inaction of others, but she focused on where she was going. Once she looked within, she simply looked ahead.
Some suggestions about how to do that when you find it a challenge:
- Don’t be like them. Use some grown up, hard won discipline – don’t talk and don’t post. Don’t be a Hater – or even Hater-like.
- Support people who show courage. You don’t have to make a big show of it – sometimes a thumbs up or a smile is all that’s needed.
- Focus on what you want to do and don’t let the critics distract you. I’m not talking about those people who truly care about you and suggest that you reflect. Asking someone to reflect or explain is not the same thing as condemnation. Don’t confuse the two.
- Say ‘Thank You.” All feedback is a gift – it’s information. Sometimes, it’s information about the person giving the feedback – but it still has value. One of my favorite and often used responses is “Thank you. I appreciate your candor. You’ve given me something to think about.” That’s really all you need to say.
Do what’s right for you.
If you are wrong, you’ll know it soon enough.
You’ll figure something out.