By John Sonmez July 16, 2015

How To Deal With Criticism When Marketing Yourself

In this episode, I talk about dealing with criticism when marketing oneself.

 

Full transcript:

John:               Hey, John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com. So I got a question about marketing yourself. This is a topic that I like to talk about. If you haven’t checked out my course or package on marketing yourself go to devcareerboost.com and check that out especially if you’re interested in learning how to market yourself and build a brand. This question comes from Fernando. Fernando says, “I’ve noticed that anyone who posts tends to get a considerable amount of criticism. Take the recent post of your clean code for example. Many disagree with ones post and it’s easy to feel less than adequate with all the attacks.”

What Fernando was talking about is I did this post on basically why comments suck or I shouldn’t do comments and I got a lot of negative people just posting all kinds of things about why I’m so dumb on there which happens, right? So then Fernando says, “You are a big proponent of self marketing, as such we will all face this inevitable circumstance. How do you prepare or how do you learn to cope with negative criticism? You don’t have to answer me directly although that would be great but it would be a good question for your followers of the Create Your Blog Series.”

This is a really good question. Actually—so Fernando, I don’t think I emailed you as well, but I have a chapter, a bonus chapter. If you’ve gotten my Soft Skills book if you go to any link in this book, just about any link, any link that starts with simpleprogrammer.com what you’ll find is that there’s this little page that you can sign up and you can put in your email address. If you do you’ll get a bonus chapter from the book that’s only available through that site and it’s called Dealing With Criticism. It’s all about dealing with criticism. It talks about this whole topic but I’ll give you a summary and my thoughts on that here.

So anytime that you put yourself out there there are going to be haters especially on YouTube. People love to say all kinds of nasty things about you on YouTube which is always fun. Whatever you do, you’re going to put yourself out there. People are going to disagree with you. There are always going to be haters out there. You have to learn to accept that those people exist and that it doesn’t matter. You have to ignore them. You have to grow kind of a thick skin. In fact, growing a thick skin is probably just a really good life skill to learn in general because people are just not going to agree with you, people are going to rub you the wrong way. People have their own—most of the time when this happens you have to recognize this. It’s not about you personally, not that you should really care what anyone really thinks about you anyway, but most of the time it’s other people’s issues. It’s like the kick the dog syndrome, right? They’re having a bad day at work, their boss is a jerk, whatever, their wife beats them, whatever so they want to take it out on other people. They’re frustrated with their circumstances so they want to bring other people down and that’s why they do these things. I want you to understand that that helps a little bit.

When I see someone who’s really negative and attacking I sort of actually feel bad for them instead of getting offended because I realized that someone who’s in that position who would take something that someone else has put out, put themselves out there and then critique it in such a way and be so negative and just mean about it is someone who probably is living a pretty crappy life. I think about how blessed I am when I see that. That’s how I contrast it. It sort of makes me feel better but I honestly feel bad for them because I really think about how bad their situation must be because I think about how bad my situation would have to be for me to go out there and just spitefully attack people who are trying to do good in the world.

That’s one thing to consider. But in general you’ve got to have that thick skin and you have to be—I’ve talked about this in the previous video about dealing with criticism, about being the person who doesn’t give criticism but takes it well, so you have to be able to take it well and to recognize that criticism is a gift. Now there’s a lot of trolls out there that will just say hurtful mean things that are just for attacking purposes, but there’s also a lot of people out there who don’t have tact but they have valid points. It’s important to weigh that criticism.

Just because someone presented something in a bad way doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Sometimes people are right. Sometimes you need to look at criticism and say, “Hey, look, this is actually correct. This person may have–not used very good English and used a lot of profanity, but they told me something that I needed to hear and I could take something from that.” You want to try—you want to look and see what you can take from that as much as possible when you do get criticized.

Yeah, you take the example of my blog post where people were just attacking and I don’t care. It’s good. It’s good—and the other piece about this, I’ll tell you this as well as marketing yourself it kind of goes to that whole like there’s no such thing as bad publicity. When I write something that someone thinks I’m such an idiot and they attack it they share it with their friends and it becomes a big—some of my best blog posts on my blog have been blog posts where people have been just like attack and it’s been polarized. People have said how stupid I was so they shared it and it went viral because people shared because of how stupid I am. What they’re doing in that case is helping me, they’re not hurting me. A lot of times your critics help you. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

That’s the other way to think about this as well is you don’t want to necessarily—like if you write something and you hear crickets and no one cares that’s bad, right? You don’t want to be lukewarm. You want people to love you or hate you. Someone who hates you is way, way closer to loving you than someone who doesn’t care. I’ve had a lot of people that have been just verbal abusers who have just attacked me and they’ve come around. We’ve had a meeting of the minds and now they’re super big fans or we’re good friends but I’ve never ever seen someone who was ambivalent to me who eventually became a good friend or someone who became a super fan. That’s another thing to keep in mind.

Great question. You got to get a thick skin. It’s going to happen. Just expect it. If you expect it then you’ll be prepared for it. If you expect everyone to love everything that you do then you probably shouldn’t do anything because that’s never going to happen.

Thanks Fernando, great question. If you have a question for me or if you would like to leave a comment below with flaming me go ahead or you can email me at john@simpleprogrammer.com and yeah, that’s cool, I don’t care. Anyway, if you like this video, if you want to subscribe or better yet if you want to tell your friends about how stupid I am just send the link out, it’s good, and tell them to subscribe and watch this idiot do videos 3 times a week. Anyway, take care, talk to you next time.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."