Criticism. It's one of life's inevitabilities.
At some point in your professional life, you are going to be on the receiving end of criticism - and if you care enough about it, you will allow it to emotionally consume you. To eat at you. To deflate you. In some cases, it will paralyze and debilitate you.
A couple of weeks ago, I was on the receiving end of some criticism, and I allowed it to bring me down. As someone who advocates intentional living, I felt like a hypocrite for violating one of my tenants by giving away my power.
So this got me thinking....
In most instances, we know when criticism is coming, don't we? Be it in the form of a Yelp review, a comment on our YouTube Channel, a survey from a customer, a comment on one of our blog posts, a rating on our Etsy shop, or periodic feedback from the boss. Most of us know when criticism is coming our way. So in many instances, we have an opportunity to prepare for it.
Before we read (or hear) the criticism, we have the ability to be proactive with it, instead of reactive. Put simply, you can state your intentions to yourself before you expect to encounter both negative AND positive feedback.
After some reflection and help from my own coach, I came up with some intentions for dealing with criticism in a healthy, anabolic way:
1. Wherever or whatever you have achieved in life, know that you deserve it.
2. You deserve it because of your experience and the time and effort you have put into your product/work/craft.
3. Whatever feedback you receive, you will not give too much credence to the highs, nor the lows, because you alone are the decider of your self-worth.
4. You do not allow others people's opinions to dictate your emotional state. You always hold the power of your emotions.
5. You welcome the feedback/criticism/evaluation because you are a professional, and you value constructive criticism just as equally as you do positive, glowing comments.
6. If the criticisms are valid, based on your objective and honest consideration of them, you will consider making changes because you are a professional, dedicated to serving and delivering the best product/service/effort possible.
7. If, after following steps 1-6, you are still reeling from it, take comfort in a popular quote by Theodore Roosevelt entitled "The Man In The Arena"-
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."