Take a look at my Yahoo! Finance column for this week: 239 people rated it an average of two stars out of five. Which is an improvement, because yesterday the average was one star. Also, there are 94 comments, which can be fairly represented by the one that I copy and paste here:
“I think this writer will need to be looking for another job soon.”
This is what I do with negative comments like those. I look for someone who really understands what I’m doing and still doesn’t like it. Those people will give constructive criticism. I don’t always have to follow it, but it’s good to listen to, just to hear another perspective besides my own.
The trick to accepting criticism is to figure out who to listen to, by figuring out who is listening to you. Here’s an example of a guy who is listening:
I read your blog.
I found it a remarkable concentration of bad advice.
That’s ok, it was fun to read.
Have a good day
It’s really easy for you to decide that everyone doesn’t understand you. I do the opposite. I assume everyone does understand me, and I give them a chance. For example, I get a lot of long emails from human resources managers who are arguing with me. I read every word of those emails in case I can learn something.
If you can’t learn from people who think your work is crap, then you will get stuck. You need to know what you are doing well and what you’re not doing well, who you are reaching and who you aren’t. This will help you shape your career.
When I started writing career advice, i didn’t even understand that I was writing it for younger people until my editor told me that the oldest people at the office thought my advice was nuts. I thought really hard about why they thought I was nuts. And then I turned up the volume on what they hated — because their criticism made me understand what differentiated me in the career advice world.
Of course, some critics (like that voice inside you telling you to give up) are bad bad bad and you have to turn them off. But don’t turn off all criticism: Mine your critics for people who can help you understand what it is that you do well.