If you've been on the thought leader journey for a while, there’s a strong chance that you've received something like this: an email, blog comment or a nasty gram on Twitter citing various reasons why your message is “worthless” and why you don’t measure up. If you haven’t yet, don’t worry. You’ll get one sooner or later, especially when you hold nothing back and truly show up for your audience.
In case you’re wondering, this is an actual review that I received for my book, The Contrarian Effect, which I co-wrote with Michael Port. Although I took some comfort in the fact that our book won two awards and received many 5-star reviews, it still hurt when I first saw this feedback.
Don’t Use Your Feedback as Your “Fuel”
Even though we know that “haters are gonna hate,” it can be easy to take this rejection personally and let it impact how we feel about our message and work. Out of a room of 100 people, 99 could love your book, workshop or personal style, but we fixate on that one person who disapproves.
Although it’s tempting to want “everyone” to like our message, that desire can shift our energy and attention away from our true audience. When that happens, it’s easy to feel small and to doubt your message and the transformation you create. Not to mention, we can become dependent on the positive feedback to motivate us and even validate our decisions.
How to Stay Connected to Your Bigger WHY
Even the most successful thought leaders can fixate on negative feedback or feel a need for positive validation, but they don’t stay stuck there. They've learned that the best remedy is to make a habit of staying connected to their bigger WHY. This practice not only helps to keep rejection in perspective, but also serves as an internal fuel source to sustain them during the inevitable ups and downs.
There are a number of ways to consistently connect with your bigger vision. Some of my clients make lists of their goals and read them aloud each week. Other clients practice creative visualization to focus on the specific outcomes they want. Personally, I use meditation and other spiritual practices to stay aligned with the bigger picture. The key is to find a way that works for you and to practice it consistently.
If you’re serious about making your mark as a thought leader, this is a habit you can’t afford to skip. If you don’t have time scheduled (even 5-10 mins) on a weekly basis to reflect on why you are doing this and where you are going, pull up your calendar and block out some time right now.
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