How to Handle Criticism

Hey, I’m Sunny Lenarduzzi. Today I’m gonna teach you how to handle criticism like a boss. Quick warning though – I will be using profanity in this video. I will be using it for good, not evil, but I will be using profanity. Put your headphones on or maybe go to a quiet space.

Criticism comes with the territory of any job, any job in the world, but as an entrepreneur, you know that there is a heightened level of constructive and not so constructive criticism that comes at every part of the journey. I want to share a really great quote by Aristotle with you that keeps this in perspective for me and it goes something like this, “To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing and be nothing.” And that’s the truth. If you don’t wanna be criticized, then truly you can’t really do much, because everybody has an opinion.

In order to handle criticism (because I’ve received my fair share over the years) I’ve come up with a method that I’ve actually never shared before and I’m actually a little bit nervous to share it with you today. Plus, before we dive into this, I have created a downloadable piece of art that you can put as your screensaver on your computer or beside your desk or somewhere in your home to remind you of how to handle criticism in a healthy way.

What is my method with dealing with criticism? It’s called “The F.U.C.K. I.T Method”. It’s an acronym. Let’s dive into this.

“F” stands for “Find Your Center”, because I’m the first to admit that when I am criticized in any way, shape or form it’s easy to react emotionally or reactively. Where you just wanna hop onto Instagram or you wanna hop onto your computer and you just wanna fire back at the person who’s critiquing you. I completely understand it, it’s a normal human reaction, but also it’s really important not to act of an emotion, because that’s going to get you into trouble. Also, it doesn’t feel good when you do anything reactively, because that’s not really who you are.

What I like to do is take a bit, take a breath, even go for a walk. Leave it for a little while and just let it sink in and also find myself in amongst that negativity or criticism of any kind. When you find your center you really zone in on who you are, what you stand for and also build up your confidence to know that “yes”, this criticism is coming in, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re terrible at your job, and all the things that’s start going through your head when you get any kind of critique. It just means that maybe there is a new way to look at things and maybe there is value to this opinion. Maybe there isn’t, we’re gonna get into that in a second. But really finding you in the midst of it, so that you’re not reacting from a space of emotion or reactive negativity.

That leads us right into “U”, which stands for “Useful or Harmful?”. Really looking at whatever the criticism is, taking your emotions out of it, because you’ve found your center and you’re grounded in yourself and looking at it and thinking to yourself, “Is this something I can potentially use to my advantage?” Because, a lot of the times, your haters are your best allies. There’s a great book out there by my friend Jay Baer called “Hug Your Haters”, I have a whole video on that. Talking about the fact that the people, who critique you the most, who are deemed your “haters”, actually have a lot of really great and valuable insides into how you can improve your business.

Taking a look at the criticism and trying to find a nugget, that’s useful to you. Really using that criticism to your advantage and that makes it feel really good, because then you can leverage it to grow. However, not all criticism is useful. Using a critical eye when you are grounded is important, because if it is a harmful critique and it’s something that’s attacking you as a person, it’s attacking your character and it has nothing to do with your job or your expertise and it’s just straight up mean or abuse, you don’t need it.

The next step here is “C” – “Consider the Source”. If you would take a second and stepped back and look at where this criticism is coming from, it’s also gonna help you determine whether it’s something that you really need to put any weight on at all. What I like to do is look at if this person is in the same space as me, if they are an expert in the field, if they know anything about my industry or what I do or if their critique is coming from a place or authority, or influence or expertise. And if it’s not, if they’re not somebody who knows anything about what I do, then they’re really just being a critic and it’s really easy to be a critic.

That’s when you can kind of go, “You know what, they are just critiquing to critique, they don’t know me, they don’t know the space, I don’t really need to put a ton of weight on this.” You may still find something useful from the feedback, but you don’t need to put a lot of weight on it and it’s easier to just let it roll off of you.

And the “K” stands for “Kill Them With Kindness”. I’m a big believer in once you have taken a step back, if you are gonna respond and if it’s warranting a response, be kind, be polite, be level headed. Because, what you do sets a precedent and an example for everyone else who’s in your community or may join your community. If you’re spewing hatred or negativity back, that’s gonna say, “Hey, it’s okay to talk like this on my pages, on my social profiles and to have commentary that really isn’t useful and it’s just hate.”

Kill them with kindness and say something that’s going to maybe make them think about why they would even comment in the first place with something so negative. Or if it is something that’s useful say, “Thank you so much for your feedback!” That’s pretty much my go-to answer whenever I get a critique, because it gives the opportunity to say, “Thank you, I appreciate you even took the time to say anything. I’m gonna take the feedback, and then I’ll decide what I wanna do with it.” Whether it’s useful or harmful. If it’s harmful, just don’t respond.

Now we’ll be going to the “I”, which stands for “Intuition”. This kind of goes back to finding your center. It’s really tuning into yourself and once you’ve gotten through the aspects of responding and dealing with whether it was harmful or useful, just tuning in with yourself and how this is making you feel. Actually what it’s bringing up for you. Because the more in tune you are, the better you are at figuring out why you’re reacting the way that you’re reacting. Maybe it’s digging at an insecurity that you have, that this person knows nothing about. Just as much as you don’t know what they’re going through and why they decided to say that, they don’t know what you’re going through. Sometimes we will say things without any meanness or harshness behind it, but it happens to trigger something with you that’s deep rooted or comes from a past trauma or comes from a past experience.

Really tuning into yourself and being intuitive enough to know why this is bringing this stuff for you and relating it back to a past experience instead of thinking that this person is evil for saying this. It probably has more to do with you than it does with them and how you react to it. Really getting in tune with where you’re at and using your intuition to guide you in why you’re reacting the way you’re reacting. And then using that to really understand how to react moving forward and where those feelings are coming from. And again, not putting it all on that person as someone is a bad person or that they’re trying to be mean to you.

Finally, this brings us to the “T” and the “T” is “Terminate the Feeling”. As Taylor Swift says, “Just shake it off.” When it comes to the “T” it’s just really letting go of that yuckiness or if you feel attacked at all or if it triggered insecurity for you, let it go. And there’s a lot of ways to let those feelings go. For me, I like to go for a good sweat, I like to put on a song I love, whatever it takes for me to kind of shake it off is what I’m going to do.

You’ve gone through the process, now it’s time to just terminate the felling, because it’s way more detrimental to you than it is to the person who commented. If you’re holding on to it and letting that … You hold the way you’re reacting or creating moving forward, because everything that you touch is going to have a twinge of that reactiveness and the emotion that comes with it, in it. Let it go, so that you can go back to your center and create from a place of your heart and love and positivity, so that negativity doesn’t fuel anything else moving forward. Just shake it off, terminate the feeling.

This is how I deal with criticism. I hope you enjoyed it, I hope it was helpful for you. I have something really special that I’ve created for you and it’s a wall hang, a little piece of art that you can put beside your desk or put as your screensaver on your computer. It has each one of those steps on it, so that if you do feel attacked or critiqued in a negative way, you can go back to “The F.U.C.K I.T Method” to really deal with it in a positive, useful, helpful ways. You can download it HERE.

Also, don’t forget to join the Be Your Own Boss Mastermind group on Facebook with thousands of entrepreneurs all over the world. Join your fellow bosses in achieving the life you want to live on your own terms!

Thank you so much for reading and watching!

See you next week!

-S

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