How to Handle Criticism

Although I’m not a Be-leiber or a Justin Beiber fan in any way, shape or form…I did have to cringe a little when I saw his little – uhhh – performance?  at Fashion Rocks last week.  In case you missed it, JB stripped down to his skivvies and earned himself a whole lotta LOUD booing from the audience.  **CRINGE!**

I actually felt kinda bad for the guy.  But I have to give him credit, he handled it like a pro, not even acknowledging the haters and carrying on as if nothing unusual were happening.

No matter what business you are in – be it teen pop star with good hair or professional Virtual Assistant, at some point in time you are probably going to get some criticism. And how you handle it, can make or break your career.  Here are a few tips to deal with haters and bad reviews:

  • Do better.  Criticism comes in many forms and people lash out for many reasons.  They may have had a crappy day and are taking it out on you, or perhaps they are jealous of your success and feel the need to take you down a notch.  They might actually (gasp) be genuinely trying to help you!  Whatever the reason, keep an open mind when you receive criticism and ask yourself if you could have done better.  If yes, apologize, learn from it and do it right next time.
  • Don’t respond right away.  Getting criticized for something can feel like a punch in the gut, and most people’s immediate reaction is to punch back – hard!  Or to immediately defend yourself.  Instead, let it sit with you for awhile before acknowledging the negative remark.   Not only will it drive your critic crazy…but if you DO decide to respond, your comeback will be waaaay cooler, much calmer and very classy.  If you MUST speak back, consider responding with exceptional kindness, or with an apology.  It will surprise everyone and leave you looking like the bigger person.
  • Don’t take it personally.  Remind yourself that EVERYONE has haters.  There are people who hate Oprah.  There are people who hate kittens.  There are people who hate wine and coffee (although I can’t be friends with them).  The point is, you can never please everyone.  So when you are criticized for something you did or said, consider if you were being true to yourself.  Consider the thoughts of your close friends, your family and the people that matter to you in life.  Everyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter all that much.
  • Finally, sometimes negative attention can be a good thing.  Sometimes.  Occasionally.   A good raving debate on your blog or one of your social media posts can drive lots of traffic to your website.  It may not be for the right reasons – but in the end, it might just have a good outcome.  Think about people like Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton…who gained notoriety when their naughty little ‘sex tapes’ were leaked.  They both faced a wagon-load of negative public attention…but in the end, they both grew more famous and it served them well.  Every once in awhile there is a silver lining to being bad-mouthed.

How you handle haters and nasty internet trolls can make all the difference. Breathe deep and take the high road! 

About the Author

Hi - I'm Lisa McDonell, a Virtual Assistant who shows other women how to launch and grow their own online business, make money from home and have a fun and supportive Virtual Assistant Lifestyle.

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