5 ways to turn criticism and rejection into your superfuel.
My secret Imperfectionistas Facebook group is in full swing now, and I have to say, I'm obsessed! 😍
Not only is it the most fulfilling thing EVER to see the seedlings of a freaking awesome community begin to blossom, but it's also so soooo valuable for me to get an even deeper insight into the things you're struggling with day-to-day – so I can try my best to help you even more.
In the group this week, I've had conversations around the battle of crushed self-esteem when faced with criticism and rejection. It's an absolute killer right? A total soul-squasher? 😩 I feel you.
But honey, lemme tell ye, there reeeeally doesn't have to be anything soul-squashy about it. I promise you 💋 I've been in the place of, 'Maybe I should jack this whole creative career thing in, and go work in a bank instead, I can't hack everyone having an opinion on my work' – to now receiving a disgruntled customer email and feeling gratitude for it. Yes, I'm actually GRATEFUL for criticism and rejection. No joke!
Of course it feels way nicer to be praised, celebrated and congratulated for something you did, rather than being criticised, penalised and rejected. But the bit we seem to forget is, they come as a package. A dynamic duo if you will. If you want praise, it's a given that at some stage, criticism's waiting in the wings. You can't have one without the other.
Let me go a bit deeper.
Unless you follow Aristotle's advice of saying, doing and being nothing, criticism is going to be part of your life. Saying, doing and being something – it's obviously a risk. It's not a guaranteed success, right? In fact, just living life isn't a guaranteed success tbh! You can't, and never will be able to control the outside world's reaction, and nor should you want to. I appreciate this may sound daunting and provoke all the terrifying feels. But ☝🏻 there's hope! Because what you CAN control, is your reaction to the outside world's reaction. You get to choose how you respond.
Now THIS my friend, is your superfuel.
Mastering your response to critique and knock-backs is the difference between, successful-you and unsuccessful-you, happy-you and unhappy-you, confident-you and insecure-you. So how do you begin to control it? How do you take a whole bowl of turd 💩 someone's flung your way and whip it up into a bowl of glitter? ✨
1. You pause to digest.
Maybe you were in the running to get a new job, and you were pipped at the post because you 'weren't quite right' or someone else 'had more experience', or whatever it happened to be, your immediate reaction might be to cry, feel resentment, or feel the whole experience is unfair and unjust. This time 👉🏻 before you react emotionally, angrily or otherwise, just try to pause and digest their feedback. Use this as an opportunity to step outside yourself and your own thoughts for a moment. Breeeeathe and ask yourself , is there any truth in what's being said here? Is there anything you can take from the critique to build on? Is there an opportunity here that you can grow from and get better at? Even if it's just empowering you to go into your next interview a little less emotionally attached, and a little more business-like-with-playing-hard-to-get-ness, that's HUGE. Or could you even politely ask for some further detail so you can improve for the future? Whatever happens, if you give yourself a moment to pause and digest their rationale, you gift yourself with a moment to reflect and grow from it #winning
2. You feel the feels.
Say like me, you've spent months, maybe years pouring your heart into creating something, let's go with a planner 😁 You've spent endless hours scrutinising every detail to try and ensure what you create is the best-of-the-best-yes-sir, only to find when you release it to the world, someone tells you it's sh*t. And it only needs to be one person to evoke these feelings of disappointment, sadness, self-doubt, among many others. But let yourself feel what you're feeling and just sit with it, before responding, retaliating, getting defensive or emotional. Take this moment to analyse your feelings. Why are you having these feelings? Even though it feels horrible, are there problems that can be solved here? Is it maybe even provoking something from childhood that you haven't yet addressed and you need to move on from? Have they touched on something that has always been an insecurity of yours that you know you need to work through? Essentially, taking appreciation for the fact that they've highlighted an unresolved issue can flip criticism right around. #bossingit
3. You look who's talking.
Let's say you've spent an insane amount of time crafting a short story as a submission for a publisher's competition. You've tweaked and refined and edited it so many times, you virtually know it word for word. Then...it gets shared on social media. Dum dum duuuuuum *dramatic orchestra* You don't win, the author-judge has feedback, as do a bazillion strangers on the internet. Both sets of feedback make you feel humiliated and crushed, but none more than the social comments that kinda feel like trolling. So now you've immediately resigned yourself to never short-story-ing again for the rest of your life because you're so crap. At this point, you need to ask yourself who's talking here. Are they an eejit, or your inspo? And by that I mean, is the person throwing shade someone you aspire to be, or is it someone who's never really done anything of note in their own life? On the author side of things, if you respect them and they have years of the kind of experience you can only dream of, you should be pouring over their feedback with doe eyes. Absorb every word of their advice, and apply it to your creation. Hone your craft and take this as the most incredible opportunity to grow, learn and improve. On the joe-public-social-media side of things however, if they haven't lived the life you want to live, their opinion should be nothing but white noise to you. People that say, be and do something with their lives, are never the ones who try to pull others around them down. #riseup
4. You accept with bigger prizes, come bigger pokes.
If you do have big creative dreams and aspirations and it's only the fear of rejection and criticism stopping you from pushing forward, then take comfort in the fact that if you're getting criticised and rejected when you get to the stage, then you're actually flying! Why? Because you're doing something that's getting noticed! 🙌🏻
Obviously with the bigger prizes, the bigger pokes come along too, so learning to take fruitless criticism on the chin like in point 3, is an absolute necessity. And how do you take it on the chin? By reminding yourself that they're only poking because you've made something that's disrupting the norm! #trailblazer
5. You remember that imperfection is the new perfection. [Yessss honey! 💪🏻]
I don't think that there's anything I preach more than this sentiment! Because it's legit like the holy grail. With whatever you're doing in life, in whatever capacity you're risking rejection and criticism, be gracious, be kind to yourself, and accept that you're not perfect, you're not designed to be perfect, and you never will be perfect!
For me, my gratitude and appreciation for criticism has grown because I've been able to see how I've grown through the process. I've witnessed first-hand, that when I respond to criticism and rejection in the above, positive ways, I gain way more out of it than if I'd never been criticised or rejected in the first place! So this is why it's always welcome in my gaff 😁 it's my superfuel.
I'd love to hear how you get on with flipping around how you view criticism and rejection though. And even if it might feel like an absolute Kilimanjaro to climb right now, keep taking those tiny trudges uphill, because the summit is totally worth it.
As always, if there's someone you know that's had a particularly hard time dealing with criticism and rejection, it would be scha-mazing if you could share this quick read with them.
PS, If you have your own edition of The Imperfect Life® Planner but you're not yet in the secret Imperfectionistas Facebook group, then drop me a line here, send me the email address you use for Facebook, and I'll hook you up with your invite 🙌🏻
Until next weekend gorgeous face 💋