Three Things You Should Do Immediately When You Are Criticized

No matter who you are or what you do in life, there will always be someone who will criticize you. It doesn’t’ matter whether you’re a writer, an artist, a designer, a chef, or an executive. No matter what career you choose, there will always be criticism.

That can be a huge problem if you receive criticism well or you are easily offended. This could really hurt your career and ultimately, your ability to develop as a person. Often, when we are upset by something, we have a tendency to react, sometimes overreact.

We can respond to criticism better if we can reach a point in our lives that we have the ability to breathe, consider the criticism and then respond instead of reacting. Here are three very simple steps you can practice and put into action relative to criticism:

Love what you do.

Seems simple enough, right? The truth is, if you really love what you do, then your work will reflect that. And if you truly love what you do, then you will find yourself becoming more open to outside criticism. If your work is nothing more than a hobby or something you do just to make money, it will be much harder for you to receive criticism.

Believe in what you do.

You should only do something that you truly believe. If you have strong convictions about what you do, then someone’s criticism of your work will fuel those convictions, not dismantle them. Also, you will be able to not only receive the criticism graciously, you will actually be able to have conversations about it!

Find the positive in everything.

Unfortunately, criticism inherently carries a negative connotation. There are not many people who hear the word criticism or critic and think, “Oh how wonderful! I am being critiqued today.” So with any criticism, it is imperative to find the positive aspects of it, no matter where or who it comes from.

So What Should You Do When You Are Criticized?

Do not react quickly.  As stated before, breathe, consider the criticism and then respond (if necessary).

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1. Consider the Source.

What type of relationship do you have with this person?  Is this person in a position to Does what they say really matter?   Critics are spectators, not players in the game of life.  Is this source a player or a spectator?  If he’s a player, consider the next question.  If not, don’t waste your time.

2. Consider the Intent.

What are the intentions of the person who critiqued you?  Were the statements filled with malice or hate?  Or were they genuinely looking out for your best interests?  Are they coming from a good place?   If they are coming from a good place, ask the next question.  If not, move away from him.

3. Consider Whether the Criticism is Valid.

If the relationship with the source is positive and their intentions are pure, then consider what they have to say.  It doesn’t mean the criticism is correct, but explore whether there is some truth to the statement.  Sometimes, even when the source is positive and the intent is good, the criticism can still be invalid.  Test the criticism.  Is the comment a fact or an opinion?  Find the facts in the message and dispose of the rest.   Don’t spend any time on comments that are invalid.

Let’s face it, you are going to be criticized by people in all facets of your life.  But, you don’t owe a critic anything.  If you can integrate these three very simple steps into your life, you will find that terrible feeling will begin to go away, and you will be able to respond, and not react, to the comments being made.  And when it’s appropriate to respond, consider the validity of the source, intent, and comment.  Remember, you are on the journey to your greatness, don’t burden yourself with things that don’t matter.

Have a powerful week!


About Nancy Gettridge

Nancy Gettridge is founder of Phenomenal Image, a career strategy coaching firm dedicated to helping women reach their full leadership potential.  Frequent points of discussion include aligning one's life purpose to one's career and gender bias in the workplace.   Other key topics include career strategy, leadership, and overcoming workplace issues.  You can get weekly career tips straight to your email by subscribing here

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