I work with women regularly who are afraid. They are experts in their field. They are loving generous people, but they are afraid.
Too scared to share their unique business message and stories on video because of the insidious fear of criticism.
You might have met it before – the voice in your head that says “what if so and so sees this video online and criticises how I look or what I say” or “I am going to look stupid doing this” or worse.
And it can stop you in your tracks. Then we all miss out on you!
The Fear Of Criticism
The fear of criticism is so strong that it makes people stop living a joyful life. It can make us choose or make decisions that are not the right ones for us and our families. It can keep us ‘playing small’ in our businesses. I should know.
That was me for ages.
According to Napoleon Hill, in his legendary classic Think and Grow Rich:
‘the fear of criticism robs people of their initiative, destroys their power of imagination, Iimits their individuality, and takes away their self-reliance’.
Criticism makes us feel unworthy. Like we are not enough, we don’t deserve to have success. We are never going to be as good as someone else.
And where I see this most in my business is when clients won’t share their message on video because they are so worried what people will think of them. It stops them being more visible in their business, promoting their fantastic service, robs potential clients of their great work.
How can we stop letting it get to us?
That comment from the ex- that makes us cringe. Someone saying something about our parenting, someone commenting on our figure or choice of where we spend our money (yes it seems people think they have a right to comment and criticise pretty much anything).
I’ve been criticised all my life for being too loud, too honest, too opinionated. I have been called too short, too much, too fat, a showoff, “just a mum”.
But it’s an imagined threat. Someone else’s criticism can’t physically hurt us. It’s shitty I agree, shitty of someone to feel so right that they can criticise and be negative about us.
But logically we know it’s not the same as being chased by a tiger or punched in the arm.
And yet we let the thoughts happen and we experience that fear like it’s real. And we want to run away and watch Netflix and eat chocolate and avoid doing the thing.
It’s hard to block out – but allowing the fear to make us choose not to do things is just that – a choice. Even if we know that this or that person being the dick that they are will have an opinion doesn’t mean we have to accept it, listen to our mind tick over, let it become a living breathing thing.
We can reframe this. It starts with YOU. Learning to smash that internal judge is the first step to managing when you are worried about other’s opinions, or actually DO receive criticism and have to deal with it.And yet we let the thoughts happen and we experience that fear like it's real. And we want to run away and watch Netflix and eat chocolate and avoid doing the thing. Click To Tweet
Remember what confidence feels like
Remember that time you felt really confident? It could have been in your business, or life (that you were going to nail that deadline, help that client regain their financial success, get that contract, win that game of tennis, lease that house, squash that spider).
Remember that feeling. No matter how fleeting. Think about it now and remember where in your body you felt it. Warm kind of feeling in your tummy? In your chest? A warm radiating kind of heat in the middle of your chest, perhaps it makes you smile, perhaps you feel it like a lack of tightness in your head or chest or tummy.
Then do the senses exercise – what were five things you can see in that picture along with your wonderful self confidence? What were two things you could hear? What is something you could smell? Your perfume, hairspray even??
Choose NOT to let the criticism take holdWhether it's real or imagined, it's time to stop. And actually the imagined is so powerful it makes us do crazy things like come up with whole stories that might eventuate. Click To Tweet
Catch yourself in the thought:
When a thought like “what will they say if they see me online” or “all the young beautiful people will laugh at me, or ignore me” my logical brain offers this: I don’t care and I won’t know anyway. What can someone else opinion really do to me anyway, when the 99.9% are cheering me on?
The world needs my message and I say it with confidence
Keep saying it, and allowing the confident feels, whatever they were, to go with it.
You’ll find it starts to become your default position, any time a fearful thought pops up – remind yourself again, Stop the pattern of thought that has you paralysed and feeling teary, or shallow breathing. It has totally worked for me in the last 18 months.
Flex that confidence muscle. Practice it daily
Here’s a great example:
A client I was creating videos with was constantly worried about what her ex- had to say about her business. About her. And he does because he’s an arsehat. So she said the fearful thought out loud.
What if he sees this video and hears me talking about making a profit in my business?
Then she realised that she has every right to make a profit, and this has nothing to do with him. That he has no power over her and how she chooses to run her business. Then she took a breath and moved on with the video shoot.
That same day she landed an exclusive supplier contract. She was feeling confident and happy when she left the office that day – what if she had given into that fear of criticism – she may have in the past, and not left the house because she felt so hideous. And missed out on a contract she dearly wanted.
You will never please everyone. Ever.
Try the worst case scenario technique
What’s the worst thing that could happen if people watch me on video and think I am fat and ugly? (PS You’re NOT)
Well I guess they won’t watch, or the might make a negative comment on my Facebook page (which I can delete and block them if I feel like it afterwards), they might tell someone else (and I won’t know about it), or they might tell someone who I do know who will stick up for me, and overall I actually don’t care. And if I am feeling fat then I will do something about it.
Marie Forleo suggests writing out all the potential criticism you think you’re going to get. Any comment you imagine you might get that you would find hurtful. Her theory is that once you get it all out in the open, on paper or on an online note pad, that is stops being as hurtful or powerful over you.
I’d like to take that a step further and say that I think you should write down or journal the person you want to be on video
I am a confident marketing consultant who creates award winning advertising campaigns for my clients. This confidence is catching – if you act like you are the you will be.
The criticism matrix
I like to make sense of stuff when it’s truly bothering me, so I did some digging and found this fantastic graphic from Ann Friedman: http://www.annfriedman.com/disapprovalmatrix. It’s her take on authors coping with feedback/criticism.
Here’s my take on it:
The people on the left know us, those on the right don’t. And up the top are the people who like us/care about us, and down the bottom, not so much!
Cheerleaders We all have them, the people we turn to for support, to vent, to share or brainstorm ideas. The ones who share our content and leave comments when we ask them to. These gems of the online world know us and love us. Let’s EMBRACE those cheerleaders and build a solid bunch of them around us.
Clients. These are the peeps who know the field you are creating stuff in, and if they have an opinion (and clients will) then you need to listen to it. You are always going to get that sort of feedback as it’s part of the job. So expect it, ACCEPT it, breath deeply and know it’s almost never as bad as we anticipate
Frenemies – ah now these are the people we worry about the most – they might know us, but they don’t GET it. They don’t know how to behave themselves online (and in fact sometimes they are even family!) The shitty opinion we didn’t ask for, the stuff that’s not even necessarily related to the content, just a chance to take a potshot.
As simple as pointing out a typo on a Facebook post (my absolute pet hate, the comment not the typo) to full blown unhelpful comments. We get to choose – either EDUCATE them, or block/exclude/MANAGE and otherwise accept them
Haters – -don’t know you nor like you. Dickheads who gain some weird enjoyment from saying things online without any substance and with nothing more than a keyboard and a bad attitude ===>>IGNORE
Over to you
How is the fear of criticism holding you back? Or alternatively – how have you managed to conquer it that you can share with others? Please add your ideas, we’d love to read them!
(disclaimer – I am not a mental health practitioner, these are tips that have worked for me as someone who has lived with depression, and sadly with hyper critical people in my life. I totally encourage you to ask for help from a professional if this becomes more than a nagging annoyance)
Need to more video mojo? Download my FREE video training Steps To Creating Videos For Your Business here. Don’t forget to book in an accountability call with me when you’re done to answer any questions and make sure you IMPLEMENT!