Your business is often an extension of you. Your own identity and ego is very much tied into the work that you do, or the business that you’ve built, And any criticism of your business or work can feel like a personal criticism of yourself and who you are.

It’s your baby. And any criticism of “your baby” can hurt.

But this feeling of connection can throw up interesting emotions when we’re responding to criticism.

I mean, how do you deal with what you perceive to be personal criticism in the immediate aftermath of receiving said criticism?

  • Do you revert to your “child self” and become really defensive?
  • Do you beat yourself up… your inner chatter telling you that you’re “not good enough”?
  • Are you able to stay objective and establish whether the criticism is justified, and whether you are actually at fault?

One of my clients (let’s call her Sophie) found herself in this position recently, and I want to share her story/outcome as a useful exercise for you… to reflect on how you’d respond in the same situation.

Sophie’s client recently contacted her to say that they would not be renewing their advertising as it wasn’t bringing results. Sophie runs a printed magazine, and her client had placed an advert sending people to a sales page promoting a live event.

Responding to Criticism |

Put frankly, the event wasn’t selling… and Sophie’s client believed the fault must lay with her magazine.

Before you read on, stop a moment and look into yourself; assuming you were Sophie – the owner of a magazine you had built from scratch, and you heard from your client that they believed that the fault for the event not selling was yours/your magazine – what would have been your instinctive, immediate, internal reaction?

Would your internal mind chatter immediately side with your client… proclaiming loudly “It’s your fault!”… sending you into “beat yourself up mode”?

If you answered yes, I recommend you NEVER respond to criticism immediately. Go away, let your mind become clear and your thoughts objective… wait until you can think logically before offering up any kind of reply or reaction.

It’s worth doing some work on yourself to explore why you subconsciously believe you’re not good enough? Where does that negative self belief stem from?

Anyway, back to Sophie’s situation.

When you’re able to look at this objectively and logically, you can clearly see that there are several possible reasons why a live event might not sell – and why an advert promoting the live event could be perceived to be ineffective;

1-not enough traffic seeing the sales page

2-incorrect targeting of readership

3-sales page copy isn’t effective for cold leads (or it’s badly written full stop!)

4-no message to market match. The event isn’t a good fit for the audience being advertised to

5-event host has not built a sufficient reputation or lacks credibility with this particular audience

6-poorly designed advert

How many of those 5 things could realistically be the responsibility of a magazine taking an order for advertising? The answer was point #1, and only then if the distribution wasn’t as promised.

Sophie didn’t write the sales page, or define the message/market. The ad design was submitted for insertion too.

Yet her immediate response on hearing the event wasn’t selling, was to believe it was her fault.

Are you believing your negative voices and allowing them to dictate your choices? Are you making bad decisions based on your initial internal responses – perhaps mistakenly believing them to be “intuitive” when actually they’re deeply ingrained self limiting beliefs?

The end result for Sophie was that her client had a professional copywriter critique the sales page, who deemed the copy not to be effective for converting cold leads. It turned out that the advert in Sophie’s magazine was sending traffic to the sales page, but it was the sales page that was at fault for the lack of sales.

Negative mind chatter begone!

Over to you… how are you initially reacting to criticism? Is the way you react positive or is it holding you back? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think?