I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. – Bill Crosby One of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur is that it’s a path chosen by very few. According to the Webster dictionary, here’s the definition of what an entrepreneur is:
A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerableinitiative and risk.
It takes real guts to run your own business and it’s not for the faint of heart (which is why we’re such a passionate bunch about what we do!). Perhaps you’ve been told by a well meaning aunt that your timing is terrible for running your own business in this economy and you should give up and go find a nice job working for someone else. Ouch.
Or how about a cranky customer who’s had a bad morning and shows up to your appointment with nothing but critical things to say. Or that one bad Yelp review someone, (you don’t even remember who) posted.
Others may take a swipe at you for no other reason than they have a PhD in complaining and you happen to be their target for the day.
Having said that, when someone says something that makes you want to go hide under the sheets – here’s what to do:
1) Once you’ve calmed down, try to take an objective look at what’s being said to see if there’s a kernel of truth in it. This is a lot easier said than done. If something does have an element of truth about it, be grateful. The delivery of the message might have sucked but you got the message and that’s what counts. Then have a think about what (if anything) needs to be changed – which I usually do after taking a long walk with the dogs. On the other hand, if it’s just a plain old complaint or criticism from someone who doesn’t agree with what you’re doing or the way that you’re doing things – I suggest letting yourself grieve for the wound, but not for too long.
Set the timer.
Half an hour is plenty long to throw a pity party. Then take the complaint and shred it or burn it to get rid of the negativity – hold you head high and move on. (NOTE: be careful obviously setting anything afire and I recommend you do this only in your fireplace!).
2) Someone criticized you? Great!!! Give yourself a big pat on the back. Receiving criticism is actually a sign of success! It means you’re doing something, you’re being someone. You’re choosing not to live in the box of other people’s expectations and be small. “To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing” – Elbert Hubbard
3) When someone criticizes you, remember that it’s actually more about them than you. How many people do you know who would love to be doing what you’re doing right now… taking bold, brave steps to create a beautiful life for yourself and your family? Making sure you’ll never be in the position of an employer telling you what to do or pulling the financial rug out from under you. Many of your critics may themselves be frustrated entrepreneurs, miserable in their jobs, working for people they don’t like. And it’s easier to take a pot shot at someone else in an effort to justify his or her own decisions than to actually buck up and make a change.
4) Keep a RAH-RAH file handy to give yourself a confidence boost when you feel you need it. A RAH-RAH file contains all of the nice comments, and testimonials that anyone has ever said about you – your Mom, your best friend, your favorite client – whoever. Protecting your confidence is a top priority, and the best way to stop a negative comment grabbing a hold of you and injuring your confidence – is to remind yourself that you are smart, talented, loved and great at what you do.
5) Keep your goals and your personal vision of what you want to achieve front and center. It’s easy to let a negative comment derail you. That’s when it’s great to remind yourself what your bigger purpose is and where you’re going. I keep my purpose pinned to the wall and refer to it often – especially when I need to regroup and refocus.