Ouch! That hurt: Working Past Negative Feedback In Your Business

You’ve just done something bold that you are feeling proud of in your business: you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone and shared a piece of who you are with the world. You successfully worked through the panicky feeling of vulnerability, and you are excited and humbled by all the supportive, positive feedback you are receiving from others.  Just when you think it’s safe to breathe a little easier, one nasty, flippant comment punches you square in the gut.

“Your blog makes you sound illiterate. Maybe you should spend less time on pretty graphics and more time on copy editing.”  

“You are clearly a narcissist if you think you’re worth that much an hour.”   

“The information in your book is nothing new and can be found for free by searching on Google.  How dare you charge for something I can find for free?”

“What gives you the right to act like an expert here?  I’ve been doing this a lot longer than you have, and you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

All of a sudden, your proverbial water-filled glass beaker has been tainted by one huge green-with-envy drop of food coloring.  Just like in science class, the hotter the water, i.e., the more innovative or unique your work is, the quicker the food coloring spreads in the beaker.

So how can one drop of negativity cloud your perception of your work?

Since you are human, you are primed to pay more attention and assign greater weight to negative, harmful feedback than to positive comments. The reason?  Negativity bias. It’s part of your survival instinct that tricks you into thinking a few unhelpful and skewed things: 1. there is greater danger to stretching out of your comfort zone than there really is 2. that you have fewer resources and abilities than you possess, and 3. that achieving your goal is more unlikely than finding an electable, trustworthy politician.

Due to the negativity bias, no matter how many people make really positive comments about your work, even one nasty comment can weigh heavy in your heart and gut—even though you know in your head the criticism may be lobbed from some spectator way up in the nosebleed section while you are on stage in the spotlight.

The truth is...

the more you put yourself out there, and the more notoriety you earn, the more some people will try to knock you down a few pegs.

 Misery loves company, right? Instead of getting mired in the negativity sludge, here are a few things you can do to send your regrets to the misery party invite:

  1. Mindfully embrace the ick. Instead of ruminating on your thoughts about what was said, become aware of your physical reactions. Note what it feels like in your body to receive the negative feedback. Spend as much time as you need sitting with the physical sensations associated with the interaction. Without trying to change what you are feeling, just become aware of it, and let your body “digest” what is there. When you allow yourself to be mindful of the physical reactions, your brain will begin to discard the negative material, as it sorts through the usefulness of dumping the leftover unprocessed ick that you weren’t able to let go of when you first got the negative feedback.

  2. Get curious. You have heard before that when someone says something negative, it says much more about them than it does about you. Ask yourself, “What could be going on with this person that made them make such a nasty comment?”. Instead of manufacturing an answer, just tune into your inner wisdom. Sometimes judgmental thoughts will come up. Acknowledge them and ask yourself, “What else is a possibility?” As you stay curious and adopt a perspective of truly wanting to understand, you may find some extremely useful answers in this exercise—even answers that make your head swell a little bit.

  3. Look for any useful feedback that may be hiding behind the caustic comment. Did you have more than a couple typos in that post you banged out on your tablet and published while watching a movie? Yes, your brainstorm was genius, but you could decide next time to wait until morning to share your message—where the only multi tasking you’re doing is drinking coffee while you edit and post. We all make mistakes. No one is purfikt. Live, learn, and move on.

  4. Get support from people who are in your corner and who will help you keep moving forward. Unfortunately, some comments are so hurtful that they could cause a setback in your new, brave way of showing up. You may need to be reminded that your message is valid, needed, and powerful. You may have forgotten there are people out there who need to hear what you have to say—in the exact way you say it. Your business allies can help you keep proper perspective.

  5. Know when it’s time to get some extra assistance to move past the negativity. If you’ve tried all of these strategies and still find yourself playing the comment over and over in your head, don’t wait until it extinguishes your confidence. Seek out a business coach who is particularly skilled in working through head trash that threatens the health and growth of your business. Brainspotting coaching in particular can help you get past the negative feedback, access your inner confidence, and learn how to handle future negativity from a place of authentic strength.

If you are tired of replaying hateful comments as you work toward your business goals, let’s talk. Sign up for a free 15 minute consultation with me to see how Brainspotting can help you put the negative comments behind you and  create more positive momentum in your business today.

This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about business coaching topics and Brainspotting for Business Blocks and serves as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not personalized business coaching advice, nor is it medical or mental health advice, legal advice, financial advice, or spiritual advice. This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment. For my full Disclaimer, please go to https://www.bethmedina.com/disclaimer.