How to Deal With Naysayers

When dealing with naysayers, it’s important to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Focus on the people that you are supporting and that are getting value from you. Those are the ones we always look to for feedback. That’s how we’ve evolved our offerings. We would’ve never evolved into the marketing or the leadership coaching or the team-based coaching if it were not for feedback from our clients. 

They were saying, ‘Here are our challenges. Here are our pain points. Here’s what we need. We wish this solution existed. We wish this market was served. We wish that someone could come along and help us.’ 

We didn’t create these things because the solutions already existed and everybody was happy. We created them because there was a void in the marketplace. That’s usually where a lot of innovation happens. 

But with innovation comes criticism. As Elbert Hubbard said, “If you fear to be criticized, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” It just comes with the territory. 

Now, I get excited about criticism because it tells me we’re on the right track. When I hear a lot of criticism coming from those who don’t spend any money with us, I say wonderful. At least we’re moving in the right direction. If you look back in our history, the more criticism we get from outside our client base, the more feathers we ruffle, the more we’re on the right track.

You can play it safe. You can be one of these people that’s accepted by everyone, everybody likes, and nobody criticizes, but you’ll also probably be very unsuccessful. You’re going to struggle to grow. 

Our situation’s not unique, by the way. The most successful firms we work with are also receiving the most criticism. They have the most competition. 

Let’s say they’ve got tons of Google reviews, or they do a ton of things in their community, and the community loves them. Somebody has an issue with that. 

Anytime anyone puts themselves out there, they’ve got some sort of innovative idea, they’re making a great impact — that’s going to inspire criticism. 

This is also true in the sports world. Christian Horner, who’s the principal of the Red Bull F1 team, said it well. Red Bull has been on a tear. They’re on a very successful run the last couple of seasons, and they’re getting a lot of criticism because they’re winning every single race — and they weren’t getting a whole lot of criticism when they were irrelevant. Horner said, “The best way to attract criticism is to win consistently.”

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