How To Deal With Negative Feedback
We’re big encouragers at DesignGood. We love cheering people on as they follow their passions, start their dream businesses and go big.
To do all of that, you’ve got to put yourself and your talents out there. And that means making yourself vulnerable to negative feedback or criticism. Business owners, especially creative ones, have to contend with this a lot. And the more success and visibility you have, the more you have to deal with the flip side, too.
But be assured that you can deal with it. And that it’s more than worth it. Here’s how to pull through when your ego is feeling bruised.
Accept that it hurts
Dealing with negative feedback well doesn’t mean that everything just bounces off you. Creative work is personal. When you put your work out there, you’re putting some of yourself out there, and it hurts when people don’t like it. That’s never going change. And as much it sucks, it beats the pain of not creating, of hiding your big, bold self away. You can feel hurt and vulnerable without freaking out and quitting. Figure out what works for you in getting regrounded and refocused. Who’s helpful to talk to (and who’s not)? Do you need time in the gym or time with your journal? It’s different for all of us.
A lot of times what bugs us about negative feedback is that it seems so totally off-base. “How did they even come up with that?” we think. But it might be that your critic is on to something and just doesn’t have the right vocabulary to tell you what’s bothering her about your work. Try to hear the real intent behind criticism. Look for the core of message and how you might use it. You might be surprised at what you learn and how you can improve your work.
Focus on the big picture.
Here’s another advantage of working for something bigger than yourself. It makes you really tough, and it shows you that you can get through things and accomplish things you never thought you could. You’re not showing up every day because you want to be loved and showered with praise. (Although the days that that does happen? No complaints.) You are showing up because you believe in your business. You believe that what you’re doing can improve your life, and the lives of others. That keeps you going when the haters start hatin’.
Forgive and delete
It’s one thing when we get negative feedback from someone who’s important to us — a client, a colleague, a mentor. Even though it hurts, we value their opinions, and there’s probably something in what they’re saying that we need to hear. But random people on the Internet who leave nasty, meaningless comments on your blog? You don’t have time to get in a bunch about that. We love how spiritual guru and “Miracles Now” author Gabrielle Bernstein deals with it (amazingly, people hate on Gabby’s stuff, too — which shows you that people will hate anything): Forgive them, delete them, move on.
Think of yourself as a work in progress.
There’s some cool research out now about what’s called growth mindset. Basically, that means that instead of seeing yourself as, say, creative or not creative, you believe that your creativity can always be developed more and more. That takes a lot of pressure off of you. Instead of seeing criticism as proof that you’re really not creative at all and should probably just give up, you see it as a way to learn and develop. Work with criticism that helps you develop; forget the rest.
Remember, Beyonce’s in this with you. Take a look at the comments on Beyonce’s Instagram feed sometime. Haters go after her voice, her wardrobe, her marriage, even her daughter’s hair. If Queen Bey has to deal with all of this, you and I probably aren’t going to get out of it.
From the Editor
At Conscious, we are inspired by stories that cause us to think differently and think big-picture and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders and influencers in the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you Sign-up for the Weekly and Subscribe to Conscious Magazine.