I recently opened up the doors for my business coaching again after a year long hiatus. As I begin working with people one-on-one again, I’ve noticed that a common area of struggle for many of my clients has been caring too much about what people think of them and their business.
“What if I annoy people with my follow-ups?”
“What if people think I’m spamming them on Facebook?”
“What if someone doesn’t like what I’m doing?”
“What if someone leaves a bad review?”
And so on and so forth.
The reality is that if you want to make it in business – and improve your clients’ and customers’ lives in the process – then you’re going to have to stop caring what people think. Here are some steps on how to do that.
Know the difference between constructive and obstructive criticism.
The first thing you need to do if you want to stop caring about what people think is to learn the difference between constructive and obstructive criticism.
Constructive criticism helps you improve in some way and is usually delivered pretty tactfully. Obstructive criticism usually sounds like insults.
Here’s a common example from my business that I like to use to express this point.
I work with editors all the time in my content marketing business. It’s just par for the course. When they make edits, it’s meant to help me improve, not dash my spirits.
On the other hand, I once had someone send an email through my website calling me a spammy internet marketer who runs a pyramid scheme. This was shortly after I’d published an income report for my first five-figure month.
There was nothing constructive in that email, it was just hurling insults my way based on zero evidence. As such, I laughed it off. I even went so far as using it as the inspiration for my Halloween costume in 2016. This brings me to my next point.
Find the humor in everything.
I fervently believe that sometimes people in business take themselves way too seriously. This paves the way for them to be offended by the slightest things – even if those things weren’t meant to be offensive in the first place!
For example, someone sends you a tweet disagreeing with something you teach in a blog post. With the way some business owners react to this, you’d think someone just told them their dog died.
I have found that the best way to combat feeling like a loser in these situations is to find the humor in everything, just like I found the humor in the email I got. This helps you avoid taking things too personally so you can move on.
Realize that people who criticize you aren’t paying your bills.
On a day when I was feeling especially down, I was browsing through Instagram when I saw a meme that said, “I used to care about what people thought about me until one day I tried to pay my bills with their opinions.”
This forever changed the way I saw my business. I’m here to make a living by helping others, not try and have everyone like me.
Realize that not everyone is going to like you, and that’s a good thing.
One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn in business was that I had to stop wasting my time trying to cater to everyone.
I was so afraid of coming off like a sellout or like I only cared about money, that I literally spent years avoiding niching down, creating sales funnels and starting to charge when people would come to me for blogging advice.
Simply put, I was afraid of losing people. I was afraid of not being liked by everyone because I was too concerned about what people think of me.
What changed this for me was when I realized that my bills needed to get paid. Not only that, but I’m not supposed to cater to everyone in an effort to make that happen. There was a specific group of people I was meant to work with and that would be happy to pay me. If anyone else had a problem with it, they could leave.
Did I lose people in the process of rebranding, niching and starting to take myself more seriously? Sure. But now my community is far more lively and my bills are paid.
Learn to trust your gut.
No one knows your business like you do. Period. That’s why it’s up to you to learn to trust your gut and make your own decisions.
Too often we look outside of ourselves to see what people think. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes this is necessary and I certainly learn from other experts all the time.
The problem is when we don’t take action or doubt our decisions because we feel like we don’t know the answers. So instead, we allow ourselves to be influenced by other people’s opinions about what we should do with our businesses.
For instance, I’ve coached plenty of business owners who found themselves in a tizzy because they kept getting conflicting information about what next step to take in their business.
The crazy part is they knew what they needed to do about 90 percent of the time, they just weren’t trusting themselves to take actions based on their choices.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
We’ve all heard the saying “Comparison is the thief of joy.” As cliché as it may be, it’s very true.
I’ve had to learn to keep my blinders up in business so that I only focus on what I need to do to move my business forward.
This means I’m pretty picky about what kind of online media I consume (I even found a way to disable Facebook ads from appearing in my newsfeed) and I’m also pretty picky about who I go to for business advice.
I’m not going to pretend that it’s easy to stop caring about what people think of you. However, I can tell you that your life and business will become easier if you take these tips into account.