I speak to a lot of groups from students to seniors, athletes to academics, and corporations to charities. I meet and spend time with all sorts of people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, and worldviews. In speaking to these groups, I have received every kind of response including enthusiastic encouragement and challenging critiques.
Occasionally, I will look into the audience and see a person who has a “look.” Maybe, you have encountered this type of person as well. It’s often just a blank stare, mouth slightly open with a display of emotionless glare. If you’re not careful, you might mistake this look for an expression of disdain for what you are presenting, communicating, or representing. Sometimes, it is. Most of the time it is nothing other than the look they give everyone.
We can be thrown off by people who are critical of us or don’t really get what we are trying to do or those people who just have a “look.” The first time I received a harsh critique of a book I had written I was upset. Then, I learned that this so-called critic was actually trying to sway readers to something he had published. I learned that if you were going to put yourself out there in print, 100 percent of the people were not necessarily going to jump on the bandwagon with rousing applause.
The bottom line is that if you are going to stand for something, there will always be critics, naysayers, and haters. If someone has some valid points about something you said, pay attention to it and learn from it. If you truly believe in what you wrote, said, or did, move on and don’t be distracted by others.
Comedian Bill Cosby said it this way, “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” Whether you are in sales hearing more responses of “No!” than “Yes,” or a parent trying to lead a family of blank stares or an athlete striving to model the right way to prepare for success often as a lone wolf, stand up for what you believe in. Be diligent in the process and don’t be distracted by the “look.”
How do you deal with critics?