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My Formula For Dealing With Legitimate Criticism

How do you deal with criticism?

And by the way, I'm talking about responding to legitimate criticism and NOT to people who are just trolling.

Trolls or haters are another conversation altogether and I have a particular strategy for them that I talk about in other content.

But today I'm specifically referring to legit criticism and my strategy for responding to it.

So, I recently got a pretty stinging commentary from one of my paid group-coaching students and I wanted to share it with you and get your thoughts...

And, I'll be transparent here, criticism is something I've always struggled with.

And it likely comes from some pretty rotten experiences with it when I was younger that kind of trained me to naturally be a bit defensive when it comes to criticism.

Now, I will say that, being on YouTube has DEFINITELY helped me manage it. YouTube and social media are actually EXCELLENT training grounds for learning how to deal. But I still sometimes struggle a little.

This particular student (whom I've since amicably parted ways with, by the way) leveled some pretty cutting criticism at me that stung a bit.

So, I wanted to share what they said when I asked for some feedback regarding a group coaching interaction they were a part of (which, by the way, had an over 98% positive approval rating among all the attendees).

Fortunately, I hardly EVER get any kind of criticism like this...

And this student was specifically taking issue with the fact that I "pitched" my next-level of coaching at the end of our multi-week interaction (which is something I teach that we ALL should be doing in our programs):

  • My Feedback Question (which I ask as a series of feedback questions): Is there anything else that you’d like to say or add? If you could speak from the heart, is there anything else you’d like to say?

  • Student's Response: "It seems like the better a salesperson you are, the less helpful your products have to be. You've mentioned you did well in a sales job, but didn't like it. I'm not a salesperson, and I have never had a good experience with a salesperson [sic]. I would rather develop a friendship with someone who can come alongside and help give me actual results, not empty promises followed by more paid offers."

  • My Response: I'm not precisely sure how to respond to this one, so please forgive me if I'm misinterpreting anything (particularly with regard to "empty promises followed by more paid offers" remark). I get the sense overall, that you're not a big fan of my approach or my delivery and that's totally okay. The truth is that we are all salespeople to some degree in the online business space and making offers is how we keep the lights on. That said, I do indeed recognize my style isn't for everyone. Additionally, I do concur with you that finding a mentor that is more in line with your goals and expectations is precisely what you need right now, although I'm not sure you'll find someone worth their salt who will coach you for cheap or free. :)

Keep in mind this was the final question of a whole series of questions I always ask toward the end of my engagement. For brevity's sake, I wanted to spare you the earlier questions.

Now, in full disclosure this particular student had always been a bit surly (especially in any kind of text-based feedback I asked for), so I wasn't totally surprised by their responses.

Also, when I responded to this student's criticism, they actually came back to me and apologized and restated and softened some of their harsher thoughts... which I appreciated.

All of this to say, you're going to get criticism.

Maybe that's not a big deal for you, maybe it is.

My best practice with situations like this one is to just read through the critical responses and take some time to absorb and metabolize (especially if they're particularly offensive or provocative) and PAUSE for some time before I respond.

In your responses, you always want to acknowledge legitimate criticism with a measure of grace and deference.

And if the criticism is particularly negative or cutting, you may need to take a deep breath, step away from your desk, go for a walk (or a sprint) and allow some time for the temptation to react "in the moment" to pass before you craft your thoughtful and gracious response.

So I'm curious, how do you think I did with this one?

Is there anything you would have said or done differently?

How will you respond to your legitimate critics?

Let me know in the comments and let's keep the conversation going.

And if you're just getting started in online business, I invite you to take our free 60-Second Quiz: "What Type Of Online Business Is Right For YOU?": www.bradlong.co/quiz

Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:

1. If you're wanting forward momentum in your business, I'd recommend starting with an affordable course:

➡️ The ADAPTIVE. Solopreneur - Course Bundle: Productize your knowledge with my niche validation, content, marketing, audience attraction and traffic growth system. Everything you need to start, grow and scale a profitable solopreneur business.

2. Register for my next free in-depth workshop on how to start, grow and scale an online business from a side-hustle to six-figures and beyond: Register here.

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