Essentialism: Silencing The Critic

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I’m doing a five-part series for nonprofit/social good leaders (but really for anyone!), based on the book Essentialism. Catch up with Part 1Part 2, and Part 3

Hopefully, you have ordered the book by now. You’ve begun to dismantle the yes bomb, which means you have more time and energy to do better work. You’re well on your way to becoming an true essentialist and you love it. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s only a matter of time before the monsters come crawling out of the closets, ready to beat you back down.

What Is A Critic? 

Some critics can be good, because they care more about you and less about their opinions. But, those are few and far between. A critic usually hates what you are doing–and they want to let you know about it. They come to tear you down. They hate to see you succeed; they’d prefer you to fail. Critics breathe fire on your dreams and then watch you burn.

Why Do They Do What They D0? 

Usually, a critic is not happy with their own life, so they don’t want you to be happy with yours. They use all kinds of excuses, and they rarely admit the truth–they want you to fail and they will laugh in your face or (most likely) behind your back. They will use your failure for their short-term happiness. When you begin to make positive changes, they will get angry. When you say no to a meeting, they will allow bitterness to grip their hearts. When you start succeeding, they will do what they can to not give you credit or work to destroy your success.

A critic is a cruel person, cloaked as a friend (or sometimes just a pure enemy), ready to heckle your every move. The thing with a critic is this: they don’t like themselves or their own lives, or they feel as if they’re not reaching their potential–so they don’t want you to reach yours. (tweet that)

An easy example is this: I’ve had a few friends unfollow me on social media. You know that feeling you get? It’s awkward. A critic will be furious and take it personally; a friend will think differently. My friends who unfollowed me are not mad or angry; they are making a choice in their lives that will better themselves. Maybe they’re trying to remove distraction and are only following the most important people. A friend will always give the benefit of the doubt, but a critic will always be running towards the fire with a can of gasoline. (tweet that)

What To Do With A Critic 

If you follow the path of essentialism, you will chose to live a more focused life. You will realize you can’t do it all or be there for everyone all the time. You may have to unfollow people on social media, say no to folks who want to meet with you, or choose not to collaborate or partner with those who you previously did. It’s hard to uproot what you’ve always done to choose a new path with less noise but greater impact. (tweet that)

The critics will do everything they can to help you go back to your old self, to embrace your old habits. But, you can’t give in, and with tact, grace and love, you have to learn how to deal with critics.

1) Be clear on the WHY. Do your best, either in personal social media or over a digital platform, to humbly communicate WHY you are making these decisions. Let the people around you know what you’re doing so they have an opportunity to embrace it.

2) IGNORE the critics who cannot deal with your new life. You can’t please them, change them, or argue with them. If you communicate your why, and they do not accept it…just forget it. Trust me; it will only be a matter of time until they begin to ignore what has become the “new you.”

Critics make the world worse. They don’t like this, and they will do what they can to make sure you follow their negative pathways. But, your calling in life–your dream–is too important to allow the critic to hold you back from becoming the best possible leader and person that you can become. (tweet that) You owe it to yourself to ignore them, to move on with your life. It will be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

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About The Author

I’m the Founder/CEO of Help One Now. I live in downtown Raleigh with my family. I’m a justice advocate, who loves empowering leaders (and tribes) to launch movements for doing good.

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