When I closed out Season 1 on the podcast I recorded an episode where I talked about what listeners could expect leading up to Season 2.
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What do you do when things go wrong?
I also asked for your input on what Season 2 should be about by way of filling out a Google Form and/or using the Speakpipe widget to leave a message.
I’ve never used Speakpipe for the podcast before, but I thought it would be a cool way to field input; plus, I was really excited to hear YOUR voice!
The overwhelming favorite for Season 2’s content has been around how to create systems in your business – SO excited for this!! But I’ve found it incredibly interesting the other topic that has come up time and time again is around MINDSET.
This is exactly what inspired me to write and record an episode all about some of the biggest mindset struggles and mindset shifts I’ve faced, which have helped me get to where I am today.
But when I introduced the Speakpipe option, I never expected I’d receive questions from listeners.
That said, I’m so stoked that I have, and today, I’m dedicating this post and episode to Karyn in Australia who called in and left a message asking what I do – mentally – when things go wrong.
What do you do – mentally – when things go wrong?
Karyn describes in her message that typically, if she receives criticism or comes up against an obstacle in her business, she just sort of feels like she goes flat – causing her to take a day or so of “downtime” before she can get back in the rhythm of things.
Do you allow yourself the time to take a step back, or do you just push through it?
Karyn’s question got me thinking about the times when I’ve faced criticism or obstacles on my journey.
What have I actually done when faced with these challenges?
I didn’t want to just throw out some “blanket” or cliche answer, and so I dug deep and essentially tried to relive what I’ve felt and what I’ve done in situations like the ones I’m imagining (and hoping) Karyn is talking about.
Let’s take a look…
You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle. ~ Shannon L. Alder
I’ve heard it all.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You’re just selling hype for personal gain.”
“You don’t care about the people who pay you money.”
“You don’t know about customer service.”
“I’m shocked you’re able to keep any members the way you treat people.”
“Stop bragging about your money and get over yourself.”
I don’t take these words lightly, and of course, there’s a lot more to these than just the single lines I’ve shared above.
These come in the form of long emails, voicemail messages, comments on the blog, posts on social media… and they get nasty.
Let’s start with this: it hurts to hear someone talk bad about what you’ve worked so hard to create.
It’s also really easy to get defensive, because when someone says these things, it can feel like a personal attack on YOU and your character.
I’ve also received notes that were really, really hard to swallow, but that at the core had a lot of care behind them, like someone pointing out something I’ve done wrong.
I don’t want to be wrong, but I’d much rather correct my mistakes and learn from them, versus pretend that I don’t make mistakes. After all, we’re only human.
But regardless of the type of criticism, once received, the fear, doubts and the ever-present imposter syndrome hover once again.
But I’ve realized over the past few years – since starting to receive this type of criticism, that it’s important to do 3 things:
1. Learn something from it
If we’re not going to take lessons away from the experiences we have – whether they’re good experiences or bad experiences – then what’s the point?
I do feel there’s something to learn in every situation, and sometimes that might just be the lesson John has talked about several times in the past: Hurt people hurt people.
2. Handle your communications with care
How are you going to respond to the person on the other end?
Sometimes people just want to be heard, and I’ve found in several situations that a response to a nasty note oftentimes results in an apology back.
Again, I know it’s easy to go on the defense, but it’s also so important to be honest with yourself: could you have done something different to improve this person’s experience?
It really depends on the communication received and making the call based on your values – not just purely on emotions.
3. How will you respond to yourself?
The self-talk and all that other crazy stuff that we let get us down and that we allow to make us feel flat – I will not let that take me out.
Listen to the way you talk to yourself, and ask if it’s really all that different from some of the nasty comments you receive from others.
The hurt and disappointment and frustration we feel in response to all kinds of criticism will always be there, but how we respond to it will ultimately determine the outcome.
If I need to step away for 5 or 10 minutes, or close my eyes and just breathe deep, I’ll do that. But I will not take a day, fall flat, or stop moving forward.
Whether the criticism you receive can be taken as constructive, or it’s just hurtful, remember you get to decide how you react to those feelings.
Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise. ~ Mary Kay Ash
If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks… But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. ~ Michael Jordan
A couple of years ago we were seriously considering switching payment processors. It was right around the time that Gumroad had been introduced to the masses, and their platform was looking GOOD.
After months of research, testing, creating new products and tags and order forms in Infusionsoft, and using Zapier to communicate between softwares, I gave up.
I got to the point where the climbing, jumping, falling down and stumbling was just too much.
There were times during that potential transition that I felt completely flat, and when I finally made the decision to drop it, I felt like I had failed.
There were several times during those few months when I put the project down.
I would go days without touching it.
I just couldn’t bring myself to go through 5 more steps, only to be pushed back 6 steps.
Was that the right way for me to handle it?
Well, my biggest lesson learned looking back was that had I just dedicated an entire week to going all in and figuring out whether or not Gumroad was going to work for us, I would have saved myself a ton of time.
More importantly, I could see that the frustration was affecting my performance in other areas of our business, and that’s a slippery slope.
Note here: we love Gumroad, and again, if we were just starting out and Gumroad was available to us, you better believe we would have jumped on it.
I also recently listened to an episode from Chalene Johnson on her podcast, Build Your Tribe, and in it she talks about how to deal with failure in business.
I love how she encourages reflection outside of yourself – that failing at something, or not actually overcoming an obstacle you’re faced with – doesn’t mean you’re terrible or that you’re not good enough.
It simply means something was missing.
Find that missing piece, and keep moving forward.
Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. ~ John Quincy Adams
Overall, recognition is the most critical part in all of this.
Once we recognize that we’re allowing criticism to get us down, or once we recognize that there are obstacles in our way that only we can knock down, then we can start to take the steps to move ourselves forward.