This week I had my first real *jarring* experience with haters. One a troll, one a considered friend. As a result I’d like to share some of my takeaways on the topic of critics and haters.
First, do as I say not as I do.
In this case what should you do when you find yourself with someone who thinks they’re the most brilliant person alive for seeing something in your work they don’t like and having the “balls” to tell you so from behind a computer screen?
The answer is nothing.
Why? Them not liking your work is not your problem. It also very likely has nothing to do with you. They had a bad day; they’re in a bad mood. It’s audit season at their full time gig or they just got their face ripped off on a bad trade and they’re too “nice” to take it out on their spouse and kids, so here they are, taking it out on you.
My first thought when assessing the comments from said haters could be best summarized in the classic meme, “Y THO” as both seemingly came out of left field. But after having some time for reflection my second thought was, “who hurt you?” People are people and, for all the reasons I listed above, nasty comments usually come from a place that has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the inner workings of their own life. Their outward lashings say much more about their own issues than they do about whatever about you or your work they believe they are “critiquing.”
You cannot please everyone.
Even people who think they’re doing the world’s best job of pleasing everyone are actually irritating the shit out of someone somewhere. (You know it’s true. You think you can do a better job than Stacey from HR? You cannot. Nobody can. Stacey is the pinnacle of people-pleasing, and even she isn’t someone everyone loves. So don’t even try.)
When you tweet, you should assume you will piss people off. That’s not to say that you should try. Write what you want to write. Not everyone will like it. And that needs to be fine by you.
Because when YOU like what you put out and you value yourself, other people’s opinions won’t matter more than your own.
Be your own biggest fan.
The real secret sauce to dealing with haters is this:
Care deeply about you and your experience and your content and your life. Then, measuring yourself up against some ass-hats on the internet or caring about some unhappy stranger’s opinion more than your own becomes something that doesn’t even cross your mind. And if that seems like a difficult task there is always the block button. There’s no shame in utilizing the block button.
Your opinion matters more.
This is your work — your words; your feelings. Of course it is great to have the valued opinions of those you admire, but at the end of the day if you’re trying to build a following it’s done by having a voice, not lacking a spine. You should always feel more strongly about your own work than the next person - especially one you don’t even know.
Focus on your work.
It all starts and ends with you. Produce great content, continuously and humbly and doing so will attract people who like it for all the right reasons. Wasting time and energy attacking others or even just engaging those that have come at you is time better spent elsewhere.
This has been a learning experience for me, one that I know will make my skin that much thicker. Grit and perserverance are two of the biggest factors of success. I won’t be letting the haters slow me down now or any time soon and you shouldn’t either.