When I was a little girl, I remember learning about constructive and destructive criticism. I just couldn’t understand how someone telling me or anyone else that we were doing something wrong could actually help a situation. I felt that telling a person what they were doing wrong was just plain mean…
Then, when I was in college, an entire day each week was devoted to critiquing our classmates’ work. This was when I learned about another term, peer review.
Peer review is the evaluation of work by other people in the same field (of equal or higher ranking) in order to maintain or enhance the quality of the work in that field.
Sometimes we can’t see our own limitations, so feedback from those in our field can help us to see where we can make improvements.
Unfortunately, sometimes even in business this criticism does come in destructive forms, which immediately cause many of us to put our defenses up in order to shield ourselves from the pain of words that may be hard to swallow. The truth is, many of us are not taught to give or receive criticism in constructive ways, so when we are delivered the truth in a form that is hard to digest, we simply devalue the message and discard it as mean. When we do this, we are missing the lesson.
Criticism is actually a gift, but how you respond to it can determine whether or not you receive the blessings that could help you to improve your work. Inevitably, not all criticism will be handed to you with kindness and many times, it is layered in judgement. However, if you can take the time to discern the message in the criticism, that is where the learning opportunity lies.
Fact: Criticism is a part of life.
Fact: Not all of us are taught to accept and learn from criticism, especially when it is delivered in a hurtful form. When children are taught to receive criticism, they are more confident, more resilient and more adept at handling tough situations.
As entrepreneurs, and more specifically as solo-preneurs who work autonomously, we lack the peer review that can be an instrument for growth in our work. Social media allows business owners to step outside the vacuum of our business and to connect with our peers and target audience. It also allows us to keep a close eye on our reputation and how others perceive us.
How often do you search your name on the search engines? Have you ever looked for negative comments about you? Have you ever searched Facebook or Twitter to see if people are talking about you or your brand in a negative way? How would you respond if you found something that stung or that misrepresented you?
The criticism that can arise from our clients and peers on social media is necessary in order for us to spot our weaknesses and make corrections. Have you ever noticed that the conversations that occur on social media are very similar to the “water cooler” conversations that take place in an office? These conversations can be an excellent way for you to see exactly how others perceive you, which gives you the ability to make adjustments to your reputation. If you want to leverage social media to better your business, use these conversations as a spring board to propel you forward.
When the fire of criticism comes your way…
It may be difficult to face head on, but if you can take a step back from your ego, shut off your defenses and remove your emotions for a moment, you may just learn exactly what you needed to hear in order to take your business to the next level.
Alexis Neely has faced a ton of criticism on social media, heck there are even blogs devoted to bashing her. She shared her story and how she handles the haters on Mass Amplify Show episode #8. Listen here and let us know your thoughts in the comments: