Is Criticism Damaging Your Brand?

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“No one ever erected a statue in honor of a critic.”-Jean Sibelius, composer

Let’s get one thing straight right here, right now. There is almost no way to create a strong, successful brand without getting criticized. As difficult as it is to be at the receiving end of negative feedback, you do yourself and your brand a huge disfavor by going out of your way to avoid it. No one likes getting lambasted for sticking their neck out, however, charting your course by trying not to offend others is a sure-fire way to weaken the impact and power of your brand.

I am not suggesting you go out of your way to be sensational either. Trying to get attention for attention’s sake does your brand no favors either. We all know people and companies who will say or do anything to keep their names front and center. Such antics only cheapen your brand. Thankfully, there is a better path. When you stand in your own truth, no matter how uncomfortable it may be at times, you always come out the other side with personal and authentic success.

Tolerating criticism can be highly unpleasant and difficult to withstand even when you are secure in the value of your brand message.

Here are a few tips to keep you strong in the face of adversity:

1. Keep your friends close and your enemies… far away! I’m not one for keeping  your enemies nearby. Stay away from the naysayers. You know who they are. Sometimes they pose as “friendlies,” but somehow they always manage to make you feel nervous, uncomfortable and fill you with self-doubt with their “helpful” feedback. Steer clear.

2. Build a team of trusted advisors. It is very difficult to be objective about yourself. You need an experienced, wise team of advisors or mentors to keep you grounded and uplifted at the same time.

3. Remember that poison is poison. You can die from eating too much and you can also die from starving yourself. It is hurtful when someone else flings an insult at you, but it is equally harmful to shut yourself down. Injury is injury. Stay the course.

4. Read your good press. Whenever you take a hit to your confidence, there’s nothing better than re-reading testimonials from your clients. Reading how you helped someone overcome a challenge, make a major breakthrough or improve their life in some way not only lifts your spirits, but reminds you of the real value of your brand message.

5. Take pride in your effort. As my dad used to say, “the slowest guy in the race is still faster than the guy standing on the sideline.” When you are in the trenches huffing and puffing, doing the very best you can, you are doing enough. Even if you fall flat on your face, skin your knee or make a fool of yourself in an attempt to break away from the pack, you are still accomplishing more than the cynical bystander.

If you still feel badly, just think about what your critics are not doing. By taking the time to criticize you, your brand or your business, they are not focusing on their own goals or dreams. They are not making positive contributions to the world. And they are certainly not creating good will among their peers. It almost makes you feel sorry for them. Almost.

In the end, we are all remembered for our contributions. Don’t let your gift be diminished by fear of criticism. We need to hear your clear, strong voice!

P.S. One last thing, since you know how challenging and sometimes lonely it can be to try for something more, show the love to your fellow visionaries. Remember, what goes around comes around.

I love hearing your voice!

What do you do to keep your voice strong in the face of criticism?

Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.

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Heather Poduska is a Reach certified personal brand strategist, image consultant and business coach who helps women entrepreneurs create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.
To learn even more about Heather and the Clear Voice Branding System click the link.