She came in, the light spilling perfectly on her face. I am trying not to be distracted by the giddy ball of energy in my gut that comes from this inspiring place exploding with natural light.
Sit. Tell me what’s on your mind.
The words came pouring out. “I posted about my business. My co-workers made fun of me. At least I think they are making fun of me. I mean, I was nervous to put myself out there in the first place, and then this happened… so, I am thinking I should change [what I am doing].”
I stopped her. I couldn’t take it anymore.
“THOSE ARE NOT YOUR PEOPLE!” I exclaimed. “Don’t ever let these critics pull you off course. The only ones who should be helping you drive your proverbial business car are your supporters, your raving fans, the ones who are on the sidelines cheering for you, not the ones on the sidelines judging and criticizing you. These critics, they don’t deserve a seat at your table. They’re probably jealous of you.”
Haters are everywhere. The second you stick your neck out, there they are, fisted gauntlet, raised and ready to strike. Learning to deal with haters is as much a part of being an entrepreneur, or a public figure, or a human being, as anything else. Having haters is not unique to you.
So I have compiled a list of sorts. Strategies that you can use to deal with the unsolicited judges in your circle. Because they are there, rain or shine, and your shield is poised and ready. Here are some things for you to consider:
1. If they are hating, you are doing something right!
The emergence of haters is among the first signs that you are doing something right. You have reached a certain level of success: you have an audience, your message is being received, in marketing terms, this is all a part of successfully ‘attracting and repelling.’ Look at you not being vanilla. If you haven’t accomplished anything or if your words fell on deaf ears, you certainly would not be receiving any criticism.
There is a percentage of haters in every crowd, so use their discouragement as a form of validation that you are on the right track!
2. Take their actions as a lesson in how not to treat others.
It is no secret that I am a strong believer in the Golden Rule. No one wants to be judged or discouraged. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they’ve got. We all want to be understood, built up and cheered on, right? Take their actions as a solid lesson in how NOT to treat others who are working toward their own goals. Instead, go forth encouraging, motivating, inspiring and cheering for others in your circle knowing how the judgment and criticism made you feel. Good karma shall follow.
3. Allow their judgment to further motivate you.
The only thing that feels better than setting a goal and accomplishing it is setting a goal and accomplishing it in the face of adversity. Let their judgment and criticism be the extra fuel and motivation that pushes you harder to show them that they were wrong about you.
4. PSA: Not everyone is going to like you and/or what you’re doing no matter who you are.
And they probably won’t even have a good reason for it. For those of us that are true people pleasers (raising my hand over here), this is a really, really hard reality to accept. It is important to you that everyone like you and what you put out into the world, trust me I get it. But always remember, even the best, most admirable humans in the world have critics. I’ll say it again: having haters/critics/judges is not unique to you. It is your job to stay focused on your fans, supporters and cheerleaders to guide you. They are the ones who have earned a place at your table. Hear them.
5. They probably weren’t your customer in the first place.
This is where you can remind yourself where your time, energy and focus should be. You have a business to run, you have money to make, bills to pay and your time is P-R-E-C-I-O-U-S. So why would you waste it on someone who was never going to move the needle for you or your business in the first place? Chin up. Push forward. Time is a-wastin’.
And here’s the thing, I definitely don’t want you to be resistant to criticism. It is from a place of failing and falling that we learn and grow. So here is what you need to do: you need to get very good at listening and extra good at picking out common themes. If three people hate what you’re doing and 80 people love it, you know what to do. If that ratio flips on its head, it’s time to take a good look at where you are headed and course correct. If those who normally are your cheerleaders and supporters sit you on the sofa for intervention time, that might be when it’s time to lean in a little.