Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Critics

I would like to share a personal experience about "reviews", "critics" & "trolls" (as I understand them). Also I would like to discuss the bravery of putting yourself out there for rejection.
Today someone told me about a nasty comment on my Facebook page, while searching for it I found one on another page I am an admin on, the person was being hateful to someone who used to work for me. I promptly hid them both (they were of the crazy kind) and went on about my business not giving it to much thought.
I am reviewed on Facebook, have a public page on Instagram, have 3 meditations on Insight Timer, have a published book out there (most reviews on Amazon), and my work on Yoga Alliance (my business accreditation home) has a "Student Review" Page. So in the past 5 years I've been reviewed about 3000 or more times, mostly good but a few nasty ones, and a few with helpful feedback. The mean one's hurt but now a days I actually have become thicker skinned. Here is how I deal with it. This video by Brene Brown helped me greatly.
1. Putting yourself out there opens you up to critics. You can't ever and I mean ever please everyone. There is a saying that says "You can be the juiciest peach in all the world and someone won't like peaches". Truth.
2. People are often jealous. Often people will see you do something and it magnifies their insecurities. Who knows why or how but it does and there are those who by being happy for others they feel it takes away somehow from their own worth. That has nothing to do with you. Miserable people try to make others miserable.
3. What's the worst that can happen. I used to think "God blessed me with the ability to say "What's the worst that can happen? They aren't going to kill me". However the more I put myself out there, the more work I did, the more public I became, I found people more than willing to tell me how to do my job and it often really hurt. Sometimes it was helpful such as a dear friend and student who told me to quit apologizing. Actually several people told me this, it was very helpful. Was I a bit mortified? Yes, a little but I survived and it helped me over come it.
On several occasions people gave my business a bad rating based on a problem they had with one of my contractors, never giving me the option to fix it before they went public. *That happens a lot to business owners. I survived all of it and continued to thrive.
4. Consider the source and have some self compassion. A few years back I had a student who for whatever reason latched on to one of my teachers and decided the best way to handle that was to berate me. I was going through a horrible court battle with my ex that had been on in court for years, raising four kids by myself and my now husband (whom I was dating) had to have open heart surgery. I wasn't my chipper self. I was quite and did my job but charismatic I was not and somehow she wanted me to be charismatic like this other teacher and I'm just me and at that time "me" was struggling. Her hatefulness was like salt on an open wound.
5. The people in the cheap seats..ignore them. They aren't putting themselves out there like you are. They live in fear or laziness or whatever, but they don't know how brave you are. They don't realize the fear you face in putting your work out there and sharing it with the world. They aren't brave, they are weak and weak people hide behind a mask or a screen and try to bring those who are brave down.
6. Ask yourself the question "Is this true?". So I will often say "Is this feedback helpful and true?" If the answer is yes then I make a change. For instance on Insight Timer two people out of 600 reviews told me my audio could be improved so I purchased a new microphone and sound screen because I knew they were right.
When someone said on my Facebook page today "OMFG get lost"..well that's just a sour and miserable person. So I thought "Wow, what a miserable person" and got on with my life. Hide that stuff on your feed, get rid of the mean people if you can block them.
7. It only takes one yes. In some cases, not necessarily reviews but putting yourself out there to be published or to present you are going to be rejected. And I mean you are going to be rejected a lot! This is normal. Let me say it again this is normal. I have applied to countless events and was rejected and even asked "Who do you know associated with this event?". I got the picture right there. It was about who you knew. This year after 18 years in business I got a lot more of "YES". Please read this carefully, in 18 years I tried and tried and finally I got a book published, I spoke at a large and respected conference, I got the great job, I was interviewed on a well know podcast, I was featured on a well known app. Things started clicking but you know what? Just the other day I got rejected, one of my articles got rejected by a magazine. I was able to laugh about it because I know 90% of the time it's rejection and 10% acceptance on this end. Then when you get out there 90% of the time it's acceptance by your audience and 10 % rejection.
8. Find your people. Literally all of the people I am close to are business owners. They are publishers, writers, teachers, and own brick and mortar businesses and they are as human as you and I. We talk about the ups and downs, we share the mean thing someone says on our Facebook page and the rejections and we encourage each other. We say "Me too, but you know it only takes one person to say Yes." Find your people. Join a group of like minded people. Take someone in your field to lunch. Join online business groups to find support. Reach out and ask for help.
9. Keep being brave. Put yourself out there. If you feel passionate about something it is likely a God given gift. It is likely your purpose. That passion comes from somewhere. So keep being brave.
10. Ignore it. I used to want to respond to every comment good or bad and it's hard to do at a certain point. My recent Insight Timer meditation had over 600 reviews and a 4.5 rating which is great for this app. I read a few of the reviews and stopped. You don't have to read every single one, you can send out a general "Thank you" but you don't have to allow the negativity in. At some point when people are buying your work and you are making a living at it, it's okay to quit reading all the reviews. It's also okay to stop doing surveys. Yes you heard me right. I ask people to please share any positives they have with the world (whatever format is asking their opinion such as Facebook or Yoga Alliance) and please if you have a problem or need me to help send me an email or give me a call. I quit doing surveys because overall 1 our of 20 complained. Once you build a circle of friends and trusted business confidants you can trust they will tell you what you need to change or fix.
One of my dear teachers who is in the top of our field once told me (our group) in a training that he quit doing surveys because he was so sensitive to the negative ones. He was in his mid 70's and at the top of our field, he is very well respected. His openness and vulnerability gave me permission to accept myself more and to know that we are all human, even those of us who put ourselves in the public arena.

All my love and I wish you the very best. Courtney Butler Robinson

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