You are part of a society that, while beginning to become more flexible, more encouraging, more fluid, is in many ways still incredibly rigid in its definition of what is acceptable. Whether we are looking at the educational system, the way we live or love: the structures of do’s & don’ts are somewhat firm. When it comes to social structures, there are two types of people: the ones that are (more or less) comfortable with perpetuating the old and the ones who aren’t (anymore). You know who you are – you are reading these words.
Whether you are thinking of beginning your journey on the entrepreneurial path or have already stepped foot into these gorgeous, albeit at times rocky waters, chances are you’ve encountered criticism. Skeptical comments from friends and family can be extremely disheartening. When I first communicated to my husband (one of the most open minded and encouraging people I know) that I wanted to start my own coaching practice, he was very supportive.
However, I remember vividly a conversation during which he warned me about the risk of failure and that, perhaps, I should prepare for that.
I was struck.
When we discussed this later on, it became clear that his comment was really his own fear of failure in disguise; A fear that had been “trained” into him during his formative years that he was now projecting onto me. Sometimes, love and fear wear unpleasant masks. This brings me to the first tip on which stance to take when confronted with criticism:
1. BE EMPATHETIC ABOUT WHERE YOUR LOVED ONES ARE COMING FROM
Most of the time, critical warnings about taking courageous new steps professionally spring out of a mixture of love and fear. Your family and friends love you. They care about you. They don’t want you to get hurt or confront disillusionment with your own dreams. Make it a point to see the origin behind ‘warnings’; once you acknowledge the source of a comment that appears disheartening to you, it’s much easier to discern it.
2. LEARN TO DISCERN
In my bedroom, I have two words framed across the wall: one reads sovereignty, the other discernment. If you are stepping out of the status quo (which is of course what you are doing by creating rather than adapting), you have to stand in your own power just as much as you have to practice to discern what doesn’t support it. Don’t worry – you’ll have ample opportunity to practice 😉 Embrace it.
3. NURTURE THYSELF AS YOU DESIRE TO BE NURTURED
What you desire from others is always what you actually need from yourself. There’s a reason why you want your respected colleague to say she thinks you’ve got a great idea on your hands. Because there’s a small part of you that fears you don’t. So reexamine it. Turn it over and look at it from new angles until you can give yourself the validation you crave. So you want to be applauded for your courage to take a professional leap? Applaud yourself. You believe your news should be received with open arms and ears? Identify the areas within yourself that are still unhealed and need your own support. You are the missing puzzle piece you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to show up for yourself.
Andres Hacker Milano is a Manhattan based Life Coach, assisting people in realizing their full potential. It is her passion to unearth peoples’ limiting beliefs and “de-bug” their hard drives thus restoring their mind-machines to the supportive role they were meant to play.
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