CONSTRUCTIVE vs DESTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
Are you letting others’ opinions of you and your business affect your practice?
Owning a business takes guts.
You’re putting yourself out there for the world to see, and you know what happens when you do that, right? There will ALWAYS be critics. Family members, friends, acquaintances, and random social media trolls will come out of nowhere to crash your dream…or at least bruise your confidence about it.
It’s hard to hear that your idea won’t work…
Or that your space is cramped…
Or your website isn’t very good…
Or maybe even someone has said that you don’t have what it takes to own a business.
So, what do you do when you’ve taken a hit from someone like that? Instead of reacting in a defensive manner, it’s better to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Sometimes those critiques are said with the best intentions. Sometimes it really is just negative talk.
How do you tell the difference?
There are 2 questions you should ask yourself to clarify…
Does it hurt you personally?
If the person being critical is attacking your character, that’s destructive criticism. Constructive criticism will never include negative remarks about who you are as a person. On the same note, you are not defined by your business, so someone being critical of it, is not insulting you. They’re simply showing you a problem that you can fix.
Do you respect the person that said it?
Where are they in life? What accomplishments do they have? Do they have business experience? Have they walked in your shoes? Or are they stuck in a dead-end job they constantly complain of?
If you respect that person’s position and accomplishments in life and their career, then you should take a good hard look at what they’ve told you and see where you can improve. As long as they’re not trying to take over or flat our tell you how to run your business – they’re just trying to help. They have more experience, they’ve made some common mistakes, and they’ve grown from it. This is the perfect person from whom to seek advice. You have to be able to take constructive criticism to ensure your business is growing and becoming the best it can be.
If you don’t respect that person’s position and accomplishments, or lack thereof, then why pay attention to it? Most often those people make degrading remarks to others who are stepping out to succeed because they’re disappointed with where they are in life. That negative talk is more a reflection of themselves than it is ever about your situation.
This can be difficult to distinguish when it’s coming from someone close to you, like your parents or spouse. Sure, you love those people and respect their opinion, but be realistic about what their perspective is in the matter. If all they’ve ever seen are people who fail in business, they’ll assume you’ll do the same. The same may apply if they tried to start a business and failed themselves. They mean well by thinking they’re protecting you from the pain of failure, but you and your situations are very different from anyone else. It’s important to express that.
Remember that you decide how you react to comments that others make. You can let it hurt you personally, or you can take it and turn it into something that helps you grow – both as a person and as a business owner.
Learn to identify the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism and you’ll be well on your way to handling your business like a boss.
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