everyone’s got an opinion
Somebody wrote something mean about me on the Internet. And it hurt a little bit. I felt small and insecure and suddenly jumped to conclusions: nobody likes me; I’m bad at my craft; and I’m probably getting fired.
The reality is, this individual doesn’t know me. Even if he or she does, why bother giving credence to an opinion which belongs to someone who clearly doesn’t respect me? If it was truly something constructive, the individual would have contacted me privately by phone, email, or social media. Instead, the comment was made publicly on an industry message board.
Taking some responsibility
To be honest, it’s partially my fault—I went looking for it. My career is in a period of transition and I’m taking on new responsibilities in my job. My brand of radio is being exposed to a new audience that may or may not like what I have to say or how I say it. And as an autonomous human being, that is his or her right. I have opinions, too—we all do. It comes down to a matter of how we express them.
In broadcasting we have the term “beige” and most personalities avoid it like the plague. Positive feedback is best and negative is a close second. Beige means indifference. Beige means nobody cares. So in that sense, I should be elated: at least somebody’s talking about me.
bad news travels fast
The problem, however, is that negative feedback travels far faster than its opposite. And if that seed is planted early in the minds of my superiors—the people who can have a lasting impact, good or bad, on my career—I’m suddenly swimming upstream.
There’s also the issue of letting it impact my performance. Even though a bad review is better than no review, it can be difficult to take it for what it is and simply move on. You may find yourself second-guessing decisions based on a single person’s bad mood. It can have a domino effect and leave you emotionally and mentally out of commission for a while. You become obsessed with what this individual might think of nearly everything you do.
seek validation from within
Instead, become obsessed with what you think. Let good and bad feedback represent maybe 20% of your decision-making when it comes to performing your tasks. Sometimes, my boss will text me “good job” after a show—it’s awesome to hear that! But if I start to rely on that as validation, as opposed to how I feel I’ve performed, I won’t be able to accurately judge in the future how I’m doing. I’ll be hooked on external input.
Let the judgements of others add some seasoning to your decisions, but realize that your opinion of yourself is the ribeye in the grand scheme of things. There is something to be learned from peoples’ opinions, but take mean comments on the Internet for what they are: mean comments on the Internet.