Move Ahead Successfully Even When You’re Criticized

Walk your own path and discover your natural strength.

Walk your own path and discover your natural strength.

Do you want real success and fulfillment? Then, learn to handle criticism in an empowered manner. The crucial detail when facing criticism is to prepare to answer your own personal and empowering questions.

1. Does this person really want good things for me?
2. What are my personal goals and does this comment strengthen me?
3. Does this comment strengthen my work?
4. Does this comment help me learn and grow?

1. Does this person really want good things for me?

I have an extended family member who has nothing but criticism for me. He’s older and he’s never been an entrepreneur, author, educator or feature film director. Those are my areas of expertise. However, this person just wants to make me “wrong.” Wait a minute! This is a family member, but his goal is “to be right” and “to put the other person down.” It’s sad really.

When you consider whether criticism has merit, consider the source. If someone is in your target market, that criticism may be useful. However, if someone is merely guessing and has never entered the field you’re working in, assess whether to dismiss such criticism.

Talking to my negative extended family member would be where good ideas go to die. So I often avoid this person. I have a circle of friends and colleagues who are supportive and still provide me with the constructive feedback that may be hard to hear, but their intention is good things for me. I can trust them.

2. What are my personal goals and does this comment strengthen me?

What are your real goals? Do you want to be famous? Do you want to do good artistic work? Do you want to make lots of money? Do you deeply long to express your creativity?

All of the above have different elements attached to them.

It’s important for you to be honest with yourself. What do you really want?

The truth is that I want to serve my readers, audiences, graduate students and clients. So I’m willing to hear tough feedback and learn about areas to improve for my projects. For each book I write, I have at least two editors. They can be really tough and they push me to write in better ways. That’s what I really want. I do not want to be coddled.

So even if my editors might occasionally clothe a comment with sarcasm, I still know that their comments actually strengthen me. After writing 27 books [free chapters when you CLICK HERE], I’m a better writer today.

Also, pause and get access to your own intuition. Often, some people are so quick to judge and say, “That won’t work.” How do they know? And imagine this: If your intuition is correct and you follow your heart–and you succeed–what will they say? They’ll merely shrug and mildly reply, “Oh, I guess I was wrong on that one.” Do not leave your fate to someone else. Answer your own heart’s call.

To take this conversation to the next step, here is my 7 min. video “How to Believe in Yourself When Others Don’t”:

3. Does this comment strengthen my work?

This is where the real work takes place. A tough comment like “I think that totally fails to engage your target market” may be the best reality check that you need. For example, with a video related to my science fiction franchise TimePulse, my team hit a wall. We needed a paragraph to bridge two sections of the video. I had four people tell me that the paragraph missed the mark. Okay. Back to the drawing board. Eventually, we came up with a solution. With a new approach, we found an appropriate quote to bridge the sections. [See our 1 minute video of science fiction and action, TimePulse, when you CLICK HERE]

4. Does this comment help me learn and grow?

My team members know that I can calmly listen to any comment that points out flaws in a draft of a project. I’ll often ask follow-up questions. Why? I’m focused on learning and growing as an artist in the various fields I participate in: speaking, writing, filmmaking and art direction of graphic novels.

My point is that a truly creative person must develop a “thick skin” and also run criticism through a filter. Some critical comments have nothing to do with your goals. Let them flow past like leaves on a stream of water.

Other comments which are given to support you and which strengthen your work may raise your work to world-class level. It’s an adventure that is actually worth the pain and effort. It’s a road that includes surprising, happy moments.


Tom Marcoux,
author of 27 books (with free chapters on )
Executive Coach
Spoken Word Strategist
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