We live in a society where becoming an entrepreneur is not only possible, but it’s also encouraged.
Whether your calling is as a writer, speaker, coach, inventor, artist, musician, athlete, or leader, you can make your dream come to life by taking action, doing the work, and building your product, community or service from the ground up.
It seems big and scary at first, especially when you bring the idea to your parents and they break down in agony at the thought of you not using your college degree in the way they wished you would, but once they see how passionate and purpose-driven you are with your goals, they’ll come around and act as if they knew you were meant to do it all along.
So you set out to accomplish your dreams. You put in the work, you spend weekends grinding, you wear the same t-shirt three days in a row and eat nothing but eggs and oatmeal for a while.
Since you are just getting started, you’ve decided to be okay with being tight on money for a while. Scraping by financially is perfectly fine with you, as long as you can continue to work towards your goals.
Soon enough, things start to happen. People are spreading your name, your inbox is filling up more every day, and you’ve got “business” meetings and investor calls, and fresh produce starts to appear in your fridge again.
Things feel really good. You know that people support your dreams and mission, not that it ever really mattered in your eyes, but it feels right to have people looking out for you.
Amongst all the good, something else happens.
You get your first critic.
And then your second and third.
You make the epic mistake of reading the comments on your YouTube video, or you see the link to your blog in a forum making fun of it. You read the gut-wrenching words of an “experienced” entrepreneur, tearing a part your business model or dream, piece by piece.
Even though you’ve been complimented one hundred times over, it’s this one kick in the stomach that makes you rethink your entire life’s purpose.
How do you get over this? How do you move on without letting it affect your creativity for the rest of the day (or week)?
Here are 3 keys for handling rejection online so that next time you experience the hide-in-your-bed-under-the-covers kind of rejection, you know what to do.
1. Remember, it’s not about you.
If you’ve ever read The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Growth by Miguel Ruiz, you know one of the most important agreements is to never take anything personally. Easier said than done right?
How each one of us reacts to a situation or event is dependent on our past associations and experiences. We could all look at a piece of chocolate cake and react differently based on our experiences with chocolate cake. It could remind you of your mother who used to love chocolate cake before she died, and create a very different feeling in your body than mine, since chocolate cake reminds me of the time I got sick from eating too much.
There will always (yes, always) be somebody that reacts to your work negatively but the key is to learn how to authentically believe it’s not about you. It’s because of their associations with your works or words, not because of who you are. If you firmly stand by your work, there is no need to let the words or comments of somebody else get in the way of your drive and passion.
2. If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.
Another great quote, by Peter Marshall, sums up how I believe about every entrepreneur. You are standing up for something you believe in, which is admirable no matter how you look at it. Any person that has made some real kind of impact in this world has face rejection. Do you think Rosa Parks was everybody’s favorite passenger on that bus? Do you think Abraham Lincoln didn’t ruffle some feathers? Do you believe Babe Ruth didn’t get mocked by just as many people for his failures, as he did is successes? If you have people putting you down, it’s because you’re challenging their belief system. Besides, in most cases when people argue against you brashly, it’s because deep down they know you make a really good point.
3. You’re still changing somebody’s life.
It’s easy to get caught up in rejections and critiques online, but it’s important to learn how to always return to the positives at the end of the day. Even when you have people speaking up about how much they hate what you’re doing, or disagree with it, it doesn’t mean that somebody out there isn’t relying on your work to get through their day. You could be saving lives of people that you’ll never meet, but learn how to trust in the work you’re doing and know that you are making somebody else’s future better.
Sometimes rejection and criticism can be useful for bettering your product or service, but only your gut can tell you if it is really something to take into consideration. If you don’t feel right about changing what you’re doing, then don’t do it.
Your entrepreneurial journey will most likely evolve with you, so don’t be afraid to change either. It doesn’t mean you were ever “wrong” and they were “right,” it simply means you have evolved your values, priorities or passions.
And there’s never anything wrong with that.
P.S- If you haven’t read my latest MindBodyGreen article, I Struggled With Orthorexia Every Day For 7 Years. Here’s What It’s Like, you can read it HERE. (I’ve had some people say this whole “Orthorexia” thing is bull crap, and that my article sucked, so I think it ties in nicely with the subject of this article).