Six Steps to Dealing with Criticism

(c) 2015 John Thurman  Shepherd, Old Nazareth

The fear of criticism robs a person of their initiative, destroys imagination, limits initiative, destroys dreams, steals self-reliance, and does, Lord only knows how much more damage.
-Napoleon Hill
Have you ever given a speech, lead a breakout, or shared your art and had it evaluated?

If you are like me, you are very gracious when the results of the evaluations are given to you. And I bet you are like me, you want to show how cool you are and not even take a peek at them until absolutely no one is around. For me, I will get to the bathroom or some other private space as soon as I can to see how I did. Don’t just love going through them and reading all of those affirming words. You’re giving your self a high five and tell yourself, “I killed it today!” That is until your alert eyes open wide when you read those, shall we say less than stellar comments. Immediately you begin to doubt yourself and if you are not careful you will spin into the death spiral of self-pity.

On a personal note, for years friends and family members suggested that I enter some of my photos in the largest juried show for New Mexican artists at the New Mexico State Fair. I had avoided doing this for years, basically being fearful of what the judges might say. Isn’t that crazy? I had never entered anything in an art show because of fear.

The image at the top of the post was the first piece of my art that I’d ever shown and it won Honorable Mention and a ribbon.
The truth is, anytime you put your head above the crowd there is the potential that you will become a target of criticism. I hope that as you continue to lean into life, you will take the risk to live the life you were intended to live.
I sincerely hope that typeset ties will help you embrace the next step.

Six Tips to help you deal with criticism.

Tip #1—People are going to criticize you no matter what you do. So why not give them something to talk about? As you grow, become more visible, and share your gifts, vision, and expertise, others will criticize.

As you step into this adventure of pushing back the fear of criticism you will only have two options:

Option #1— Gripe, complain, moan and groan. Complain about how unfair things are and how we should all just love and respect each other. FYI: this will do nothing but make you more miserable.

Option #2— Accept the fact that people will be critical which doesn’t mean you have to like it or let people walk all over you. Once you have done that, then take what you need and dismiss the rest.

Tip #2—Learn to look inside and discover the beautiful person God created you to be.

Recently, I attended the Fellowship Church in Gonzales, Louisiana and heard an excellent sermon about the Woman at the Well in John 4:4-42. Read it today; I promise you will be blessed.

This story is only in John’s gospel, and it is about a nameless Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus, the longest one-on-one conversation of Jesus recorded in Bible. This interaction gives us a brilliant insight into how the Lord sees us, warts and all.

She was a Samaritan, a group of folks who were hated by the Jews of Jesus’s time. In addition, she was an outcast from her own culture, marked as an immoral woman, ve times divorced, living with a man who wasn’t her husband.

I just love how Jesus read her mail and identified her and her actions yet did not condemn, belittle, gossip about, or disrespect her. Instead, this immoral woman, who would probably be labeled a sex addict today, was one of the early people to whom he disclosed his true identity.

As a result, Jesus’s encounter with the Woman at the Well teaches us that God loves us in spite of our corrupt lives. God values us enough to actively seek us, to welcome us to intimacy, and to rejoice in worship. And God uses our brokenness to bring others into relationship with Himself. As a result of this conversation and the woman’s testimony, scores of Samaritans came into a relationship with Christ.

People believe two lies. The first is that our sense of self-esteem should be based on our performance. The second is that our self-esteem is based on what others think about us.

Now, while it is important to be the best employee you can be in the workplace, that has nothing to do with healthy self-esteem.
A healthy sense of self-worth is based on God’s love for me; he knows how bad I can mess things up and yet He chooses to love me and be a dynamic part of my life if I allow Him to be. He gives me a purpose for living.

Tip #3—Listen to your inner critic and disagree. Learn to challenge your thoughts. In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT) we read:
We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

Paul uses a military term to describe this warfare with sin and Satan. God must be the leader, even in our thought lives. The idea of walking circumspectly is being situationally aware of your thoughts, your “at risk” areas of life, where you can be tempted. When these thoughts—even self-defeating thoughts—come to mind, capture it and give it to Jesus. When we are exposed to toxic thinking or toxic behaviors, we always have a choice. My challenge to you is to recognize the danger, the self-defeating thoughts, and actions, and refuse to let them take hold of you. Instead, ask God to give you discernment and find a trusted friend who can encourage you.

Tip #4—Remember, you’re an adult, and you get to choose. Choose wisely.

Tip #5—Don’t be intimidated by criticism. Look for wisdom in criticism. When people who love you are critical, trust that they love you and have your best interest in mind. Cut them some slack and meet them with an open heart and mind.

Tip #6—Move from being emotionally fragile to emotional resilient.

You can do this, I know you can. If you are a person of faith remember these words, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Action Plan:
1. Sign up for my mailing list-I will producing a number of short, free video lessons to help you deal with this common fear.
2. Buy my book, The No Fear Entrepreneur, and read chapter 2.
3. Click this link to take my free 20 Minutes the Could Change Your Life online course.
Be Blessed,
John

 

 

The Leadership Style of Gentleness

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I write about leadership. But today I want to focus on qualities that are not always associated with leadership. However, if you do not have these qualities no one will follow you. And if you have no followers you are not a leader. That’s pretty plain and simple.
The qualities are kindness, gentleness, humility, and graciousness. Unfortunately for the segment of society that is most often associated with leadership, the choleric, these qualities are often lacking. These qualities are often lacking in me.
Telling people what to do is not effective. It is offensive. No one wants to be told what to do. They want servant leadership, not a dictatorship.
Using strong language to make a point only turns people off and offends their sensibilities. People seek shelter from a blast. They are never drawn to it.
Accusing others who do not get it of being stupid or lazy does not motivate anyone to change, it only motivates them to stay away from you. If someone has a different opinion than you, it does not make them stupid. And if you act like they are, you have completely lost your ability to win them over. If someone doesn’t do what you think they should do, it doesn’t make them lazy. It just means that you didn’t do a good job of motivating them.
Sarcasm is never an effective motivational tool for anyone. The only point it makes is that you are a toxic person who will hurt others.
Abruptness does not promote connection or conversation. It makes people feel devalued. It makes people feel like your thoughts and feelings and presence is not important. It makes people feel used. You got what YOU needed. You are done.
People will forgive almost anything except for arrogance. No one has a problem with people who make mistakes. Everyone has a problem with people who feel like they don’t.
If you want to make people pay, teach them a lesson, put them in their place, or make them feel like they made you feel, you will not only be a miserable person because you will be eaten up with bitterness, but no one will want to entrust themselves to you. They are not willing to pay the payment you will extract if they make a mistake.
Smugness does not prove a point. It only makes people want to slap you. If you get that look, you stand a better chance of people following you if you are wearing a paper sack over your face. You can turn people off without saying a word. You cannot lead or influence a person who is turned off by you. If you don’t know what “that look” is, I’m sure your spouse does. Ask them.
No one operates better under an atmosphere of guilt than they do under an atmosphere of praise. One of the best word mantras to live life by was written by Ken Blanchard in his classic book, “The One Minute Manager.” He said to “catch someone in the act of doing something good and tell them about it.”
Being opinionated is the opposite of being teachable. Even if you are completely correct, if you say it in such a way that puts everyone else down, people are not going to take your side.
People are more drawn to the way you relate to them than by what you say to them or what you have achieved. They will only follow someone who makes them feel safe.
Power is found in gentleness. Jesus said, “The meek will inherit the earth.” Kindness is the most motivating tool in the world. Humility will cause people to follow you on many mistakes. And graciousness will create an atmosphere that people will flock to.
If people are not following your leadership it is time to look inside. And the “you” in this entire post is directed toward me, Gayle Foster. I hope you have benefited from reading the private notes I wrote for my own benefit.
I would love to hear your thoughts on leadership styles and what is motivating or demotivating. Do you see anything that can be improved upon in yourself? Do you see where you have been hurt by someone trying to lead you and how things could have turned out differently? Let’s all help each other.
Gayle Rogers Foster