8 Steps for taking Constructive Criticism like a Boss.

Criticism sounds like such a negative word.  Just the thought of it sends most of us into defensive mode quicker than anything.  However, like it or not, getting outside perspective is essential to our personal growth in life and in business.  There is a time and place for Constructive Criticism.  Below I give you 8 steps to surviving Criticism with your head up without falling into a defensive spiral.

Photo courtesy of Flickr and JoshuaDavisPhotography

Photo courtesy of Flickr and JoshuaDavisPhotography

Putting myself out there by starting this blog and my podcast was a little hard to do at times.  I still get a knot in my stomach at times just before I hit Publish on a project.

Why is this?  Mostly because it doesn’t matter how confident I am about my vision… I am only human (believe it or not),  so I still battle that fear of “What will people think?”.

Falling prey to this fear kept me from growing for way too long.  It doesn’t matter how many wonderful or amazing ideas I have if they stay in my own head out of fear of criticism.

An amazing thing happened when I said “Screw it!” and just went for it.  I was met with criticism.

But wait! I didn’t let it stop me.  I opened myself up to the constructive criticism of those that were out there already making it happen in the online world.

I learned to couple this with blocking out any haters who forgot to bring the constructive half to the criticism party.  The key word in constructive criticism, is CONSTRUCTIVE.

Use this list below to get the most out of those looking to help you better yourself through constructive criticism.  Just remember to keep your head up and ignore the haters.

  1. Swallow your pride– This first step may be the hardest one.  With each step you will gain momentum and with practice, you will learn how to take criticism like a champ.  Consider the possibility that you might not be perfect.  Admit that there is a slight chance that you don’t know it all and that you have room for improvement.
  2. Don’t take it personally- If you are opening yourself up to someone to give you feedback, then fight the urge to get defensive.  We have established by now that you are not perfect.  However, by not getting offended and taking the feedback personally then you will be one step closer to perfection.  🙂
  3. Consider the source- If you feel that the feedback is lacking in value to your personal growth, then consider who it is coming from.  I am not an advocate for take everyone’s shit, so don’t confuse the purpose of this post to convince you to get walked all over.  Some people are just unhappy with their own lives and will take every opportunity to bring others down.  I don’t care how far into the “getting feedback” conversation that you are… If you sense a negative agenda then ABORT! ABORT!  Don’t let it get to you though.  Some people are insecure with their own selves and we don’t have time for that.  Just move on.  No argument needed.
  4. Hear it out- If you establish that the source of criticism is someone that you respect and they DO want to help you grow, then do this next step or you might miss some important details… This step is LISTEN.  If you are too busy trying to explain yourself instead of hearing where they are coming from then you aren’t taking anything away from the feedback.  Fight the urge to be defensive and also justify the WHY’S.
  5. Ask questions- In a non defensive kind of way, ask questions to better understand where they are coming from.  Don’t make the mistake of secretly getting your feelings hurt because you may not understand what they are trying to say.  At this point, we have established that they are only looking to help you, so take the time to talk through any details that you may not understand.
  6. Reflect and follow up- Even with constructive criticism, we can walk away feeling a little beat up.  That’s ok.  Just remember that you can’t change over night and you also may not understand exactly where they are coming from right away.  Thank them for their input whether you agree with them or not.  Then see if it’s ok if you follow up with more questions after you give their words some more thought.  Everything may have been a little too much to take in all at once.
  7. Own it- No excuses.  You are who you are, and being able to admit your faults is very admirable.  Owning your mistakes will make you more secure in your own skin and it will also gain you lots of respect from your peers.  It’s not an easy thing to do, so others will take notice.
  8. Move Forward- Your beating is now over.  You have survived and are on your way to being a better person.  Don’t let the details hold you back.  Take what you have learned and move forward, because you are awesome!

You now have some homework to do.  Go open yourself up to some criticism and start your journey to a better you.  If you want feedback from like minded people, then check out our FREE Mastermind Community!

Do you have someone that you look up to personally or professionally that you could ask for feedback?


Here’s a post about NOT growing as a person and just falling into a depressing cycle.  -How to get “weekend drunk” on a Tuesday, and forget about work… until morning.- 

Be sure to subscribe for free updates and for access into our private Mastermind Community