H ave you ever felt like you did something awesome, shared it with someone and they not only responded in an underwhelming manner, but swiped you with a passive aggressive comment that made you feel like crap?
It happens and it’s part of life…we’ve all been there.
- Co-worker who makes a snark comment about how you’re passing up on birthday cake again
- Friend who calls you “lucky” because you started your own business and don’t have a boss
- Random strangers going out of their way and spending their time to put you down
In this post, I’m going to share why this happens, how to re-frame the game and keep pushing forward with the momentum you’re creating in your life be it with your fitness and body, career, relationships or anything else.
If you’re reading this, you’re already an action taker which means you’re a badass.
Haters or critics?
Before we go into the truths, we have to differentiate between haters and critics.
To me, there is a simple distinction here:
Critics are willing to offer specific, actionable feedback and engage with you while haters are usually anonymous and are simply talking shit behind your back, a keyboard or anywhere in between.
Critics can actually be quite valuable given the context, delivery and actionable advice you’re receiving.
I once heard the analogy of a catcher’s mitt which goes something like this:
When you receive feedback from critics, you take it in, you examine it and you either throw the ball back to the pitcher or keep it in your pocket.
If you keep throwing the ball back to the pitcher and keep getting the same feedback from a variety of people, then there’s probably some truth to the feedback that you should listen to.
But haters operate on a different level…they likely don’t even bother to consume your material but your sheer presence and energy turns them off.
Let’s dig into the truths.
Truth #1: Your growth triggers others.
When you decide to take action and grow, others will be triggered.
They may even act like they support you, but deep down something is stirring inside of them.
This happens all the time in the health and fitness world and with many clients I’ve worked with.
Jane starts a new program for the first time in a decade, she’s made small changes in her nutrition and lifestyle and is now training 3 times a week, feeling awesome and excited.
Her social circle is used to her eating crappy food, going to happy hour twice a week and participating in all these activities that are no longer serving her new goals.
She decides to engage less in these activities and maybe even expand her social circle with new people, thus distancing herself from her old crew.
The way they react is to make fun of her, throw out slight jabs and slowly bring her down because it’s making them uncomfortable.
The first truth you need to realize is that no matter what, your growth will trigger others.
You have to be okay with this and accept this…and keep taking action.
Truth #2: Criticism Is Always A Mirror
Yesterday I logged into my iTunes account to check my Resist Average Academy Podcast rankings and I noticed something.
I had around 50 reviews that had 5-stars but then I noticed something new: 2 one-star reviews.
WTF, I thought.
My knee-jerk reaction was based on my old operating system: I’m gonna find you, I know who you are, and I’m going to blast you.
Then I quickly laughed and turned it around.
See, I’m pretty sure I know who went out of their way to leave me one star reviews.
I know it wasn’t someone who listened to the podcast and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a random stranger I’ve never met.
It’s likely it was an ex-employee, co-worker, hell maybe even an ex-girlfriend that still holds some resentment with me.
If you’re remarkable, then it’s likely that some people won’t like you. That’s part of the definition of remarkable — Seth Godin
And when they see me taking action, spreading my message and moving forward, that triggers their own insecurities.
Because deep down, we all want to share something with the world and when we see others do it while we’re sitting on the sidelines, we have to rationalize the situation to make ourselves feel good by putting others down.
Hell, we’ve all done it right? I know I have.
So, remember this concept: criticism is always a mirror.
Use these questions next time you criticize someone:
- What exactly, specifically am I criticizing them for?
- What insecurity is this bringing out in my own life?
- What lesson can I extract from this and what can I do to move forward?
This is a powerful exercise to have in your toolkit.
Truth #3: Criticism Is A Crucial Feedback Mechanism
After my first few seconds of trying to figure out why someone would leave a one-star review, I started laughing.
Out loud, at a coffee shop.
You cannot be an attractive and life-changing presence to some people without being a joke or an embarrassment to others. You have to be controversial to succeed. — Mark Manson
See, haters and criticism are part of the process and a crucial feedback mechanism to let you know that you’re on track with your life.
Remember: trying to be liked and please everyone will lead you to have a safe, extremely watered down message that has a foundation as strong as a house of cards.
There’s no foundation because you have no conviction in what you’re saying because at your core, you ultimately care more about what people think than the power of the message you’re shipping.
Think about that…that’s pathetic (and hey, I sure as hell haven’t been immune to this).
So the re-frame becomes the following: embrace the haters and smile knowing that they are essential to your leveling up.
And at every single level, there will only be more and the volume will be turned up even more which only tells you that you’re on the right path.
Truth #4: Your Biggest Critic Is You
Let’s face it: we are each our own biggest critic and hater.
There is nothing anyone else can say that we haven’t already mentally poured through time and time again.
Our internal resistance and the voices that work hard to keep us safe, comfortable and stuck are way stronger than anyone else’s because they’re happening in our own head all the time.
It’s the voices that come up when you want to start a new fitness program:
“‘I’ll never be fit like them, I’m too fat, old and lazy”.
“I’m not an athlete..I simply can’t do it, my willpower sucks, I don’t even care”.
“I don’t have the genetics, tools or mindset to accomplish that, screw it”.
It’s the same with starting your own business, having a bold conversation with someone and all the tiny circumstances that happen in life on a daily basis.
Remember that the voices inside your head will always be louder than the ones on the outside and if you can disregard these voices and stillmove forward, then nothing on the outside matters because you’ve already conquered your inner hater and replaced him with your inner hero.
Truth #5: Watch Your Inner Circle
It’s natural to think that most people who are going to be critics and haters are going to be no-names and random strangers on the internet that we’ve never met.
And that is likely to be the case, but there’s also something surprising I’ve noticed.
Some of our biggest critics are really close to us.
Maybe it’s family, a co-worker, someone who works for you, a close friend, etc.
When I was running my fitness business, this was a shocking reveal to me.
I had a team of about 10 people and found out there was about 3 of them that were hating on absolutely everything I was doing.
They hated my message, my videos, my interest in personal development, hell, my writing.
They said I was “out of my mind”.
My mind started racing as I lashed back..
“I’m cutting your checks, working my ass off to grow personally and professionally and provide the entire team more opportunities and that’s how you’re reacting?”
Futhermore, they didn’t even have the balls to come into my office and have a conversation, instead they sat on the sidelines and gossiped behind my back.
I was pissed, but it was a huge learning experience.
The lesson here is that many times those who are closest to you will resent you at a higher level.
Proximity is powerful.
And at that point, it’s up to you to have a conversation and make a decision.
When you’re expanding and leveling up, you’re like a rubber band stretching out all of your relationships.
Some of these will snap, and you’ll let them go and you’ll both be better off.
Some of these will step up with you and join the ride with you.
Move Forward With Power
Lastly, keep moving forward with conviction and power with what you’re doing.
The funny thing is that we tend to focus on the tiny percentage of haters when we have an incredible support system of people pushing us above and beyond.
I call this your tribe, the people that believe in you more than you believe in yourself.
If you don’t have one, don’t walk, but rather, sprint and start building one right now, today.
Raise your standards: life is way too short to be surrounded by naysayers.
Start with one person, and then add another.
One day you’ll look around at your network which will blow your mind with inspiration, much like the message I received below and countless others..
Have fun and smile at the progress and growth you’ve achieved.
If you read this entire post and liked it, give it a share on social media and drop me comment about how you deal with haters.