The Only Critics That Count

Detractors, doubters, haters, critics. Whatever you call them, there are always people who don’t want you to succeed.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”

As a speaker, my focus is to give value to my audience and help them achieve more. However, there are some people who don’t like my message. Even if I get 38 out of 40 positive reviews, the one negative review can sometimes cause me to doubt myself and my abilities. Isn’t that crazy? A 95% success rate can be perceived as a negative experience if you are not careful.

If you are a people pleaser like me, take heed in this advice; Not everyone will like you. You could be the best leader, best producer, best anything, and there will be people who will gladly tell you otherwise.

I love the following quote from Jonas Salk, who developed the polio vaccine because it’s so true. He said, “First people will tell you that you are wrong. Then they will tell you that you are right, but what you are doing really isn’t important. Finally, they will admit that you are right and what you are doing is very important; but after all, they knew it all the time.”

Even though criticism is painful and today with social media everyone can be a critic, it doesn’t mean that all criticism is bad. In fact, there are some critics who you should listen to because they help you grow. However, you must be very selective when deciding which critics to listen to and which ones to tune out.

With so many critics how do you filter out helpful constructive criticism from the masses of plain haters?

Leadership expert John Maxwell writes about how to determine when to listen to critics. He says to heed the advice of the critic only when…….

  • You are unconditionally loved by the one who criticizes you
  • The criticism is not tainted by his or her personal agenda
  • The person is not naturally critical of everything
  • The person will continue giving support after giving advice
  • He or she has knowledge and success in the area of criticism

Most of the criticism your receive you will have to block out, but you will also need to find the people you can trust who will offer you feedback even when it doesn’t always feel good. In fact, sometimes it will downright hurt.

Tough love is still love. Just make sure to tune to the haters.

As a certified coach with the John Maxwell Team, I help professionals overcome self-limiting beliefs and supercharge their performance.  Learn more about my “Peak Performance” coaching program here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.