I’ve often told clients the more visible you are, the more you set yourself up for criticism and attacks. With a recent post I did on the Starbucks facebook page, not only was I harshly criticized, there were a few people who made it their mission to jump on the “let’s tell Kathleen how wrong and dumb she is.”
At first, I was shocked. Then amused. Then I realized this was a great opportunity to raise awareness about misconceptions many people have about what’s healthy and what’s not.
Here’s the post that I wrote in response to the backlash. CLICK HERE
Believe In Your Mission
The fact is, regardless of what your position or mission, you will be criticized. The sooner you accept this, the better. Many people are so fearful of criticism, they hold back from doing what they are called to do.
It seems more every day, people are on the attack. Add to that, the mob mentality on social media threads, and it can get downright brutal.
You have a few choices when it comes to knowing you will likely be criticized, regardless of how ethical your mission is.
One, ignore the criticism and do what you are called to do.
Two, hold back and never know the impact you are meant to have.
Three, be wishy-washy simply to appease the naysayers.
Ironically, most of these people you don’t know and they actually don’t know you. They are simply jumping into a bashing party. It’s amazing how many people will do things to please people they don’t know and who don’t know them in order to be more “liked” on social media. If this describes you, you are going to have a difficult time with criticism about your cause. And sadly, your cause will likely suffer.
Bottom-line, the choice is yours. But at the end of the day, you have to feel aligned with your choice.
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I just shared this on Facebook with the following comment: Why you have to be ready for criticism when you take a public position, by Kathleen Gage (note that the post continues elsewhere starting with the subhead “Gain Visibility”–I am sharing because of the part leading up to that). To her list of three responses, I’d add a fourth: Recognize the criticism, engage with the critics–friendly but firmly. Start a dialogue. Find some piece of what they say that you can legitimately agree with, and then go on to explain why you disagree with the rest. Recognize that we can have honest differences of opinion without trashing each other, and note that if they start trashing people on your “playground,” you will remove their comments. Use the opportunity to explore, go deeper, perhaps even find a third-way.
Well said Shel. Yes, finding a common ground is a great idea.
Oh, and if you can’t take criticism, you really need better coping strategies. I am reminded of the wonderful Gandhi quote, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Love this! Thanks for sharing.