Players Gonna Play: How to Handle Professional or Business-Related Criticism Like a Pro

03/09/2015 12:54 pm ET | Updated May 09, 2015

Isn't it funny that we remember negative events or situations far more than positive ones?

I'll be the first to admit that as an entrepreneur I've had my fair share of criticism and the truth is that every single negative remark has stuck in my head far more than the hundreds of positive emails, accolades and awards I've won. It's true that even the most thick-skinned of individuals wince when criticized and struggle to cope with the blow to the ego that it causes.

Whilst criticism of any sort is never fun, there are ways to lessen its impact. Here are four highly effective rules that make criticism hurt that tiny bit less.

Rule 1. Play like a player. That sounds crazy, right? I know. But by this, I mean that most of us have a habit of being incredibly passive in our lives. We procrastinate, do the minimal, wait for opportunities to pass us by and just coast through life.

When faced with the opportunity to "play" the game of occupational success or professional growth, many of us opt out because we're too afraid of failure, criticism and disappointment.

When we receive the slightest bit of critique, we use it as an excuse for not engaging in the career or business opportunities that we really want because we're too afraid of further criticism.

If you really want to step up your professional game, choose to play rather than watch. Choose to get involved and take part even at the risk of further criticism, because ultimately in doing so you'll be a whole lot more courageous and accomplished than the person who fears criticism so much that they stay put and remain an observer.

Rule 2. Follow the Times 10 principle. What's that, you ask? It's a little trick that I use time and time again to bounce back after being hit by anything negative.

The Times 10 principle simply means that you replace every ounce of negativity that comes your way with 10 times the amount of kindness, self-love and personal time. This is a must. Give as much love to yourself and to others as you can. Take yourself somewhere fancy, spend time with those who adore you and give as much back as you can to those in need.

Soak up positive energy and immerse yourself in things that put a smile on your face. In doing so you'll feel so much better and you'll make room for more positivity to enter your life.


Rule 3. Remind yourself that you have an identity of your own that is separate from your work or business. If you receive any form of professional criticism, don't allow it to make you feel as if you're inadequate or incompetent in any way.

You are not your business. You are not your career. You're more than these things and your identity shouldn't be based upon or around your professional work.

If your entire entity has been focused around your occupation, it's time to make some changes, and the best way to start is to follow the Times 10 Principle mentioned above as it will push you to fill up your life with things that truly matter to you.

Rule 4. Improve. When criticism comes your way the first thing you want to do is curl up into a ball and disappear. However, criticism can be a really great tool for professional development. Use it as a chance to re-evaluate the work you've been doing and examine the critique so that you can make improvements to your work.

Most importantly, learn to accept that not everybody will like or love the work you do. And since you can't change that, the only thing you can do is work on bettering yourself and learning from the experience so that you can be better both personally and professionally.