You’re Going to be Judged

Like this on Facebook

I was teaching a writing class. Towards the end, someone asked:

“How can I get over my fear of people judging me? I’m nervous to publish my work because I don’t want to deal with mean emails, mean blog comments, and things like that. How can I get over this?”

That… is a good question. Because judgment is everywhere, all the time.

“I love his writing.” “Her voice annoys me.” “Wow, that was completely delicious.” “Blech. Too rich for my taste.”

We judge people’s style, voices, choices, and creative work. We do this instinctively. All day, every day, we have reactions to things. We form opinions about things. We filter things into categories. “I love it.” “No thanks.” “Awesome!” “Disgusting.” It’s how human beings operate.

I’ve been writing professionally for the last 10 years. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during that timespan, it’s this:

People are going to judge my work.

They’re going to judge yours, too.

It’s unavoidable.

No matter what I say — and no matter how I say it — someone, somewhere, is going to be delighted, and someone, somewhere, is going to be upset.

It is not possible for me to create a “perfect piece of writing” that delights six billion people and upsets zero people.

There’s no getting around this fact. That’s just how writing / reading works.

This week:

— I got an email from someone who said: “I love that you include photos of yourself in your newsletter! It’s so fun to see the face behind the words.”

— I got an email from another person who said: “I don’t like that you put photos into your newsletter. It feels like vanity, and it’s diluting your message. I expected more from you. Unsubscribe me.”

Awhile back:

— I got an email from someone who said: “Thank you for being open and transparent about your political beliefs. As a Muslim woman, I feel uneasy and vulnerable right now, and I really appreciated what you said.”

— I got an email from another person who said: “I really wish you wouldn’t talk about politics. What you said about the election… I just don’t think it’s right.”

Like I said.

It’s impossible to please everybody.

What feels “inspiring” to one person might feel like “vanity” to another. What feels “comforting” to one person might feel “inappropriate” to another. And on and on and on and on it goes.

I can’t control how people react to my work. All I can do is ask myself, “What is the message I want to share in this moment?” and “How can I share that message as clearly as possible?”

That’s all I can do. That’s all anybody can do.

Yes, occasionally, people will send bizarre, outraged emails to you at 2am in the morning. People will call you names. People will misinterpret you and misquote you. People do that. If you want to be a writer, artist, or entrepreneur — if you want to create anything in a public space — then enduring judgment and criticism is part of the package deal.

But not everybody will criticize you. Some people will love you. Some people will say, “Thank you. I needed to read that today,” and “The story you just told changed my life,” and “You inspired me to keep going.”

Those are the people you’ve got to stay focused on. Plug those people into your heart. Lock them into your mind. Hold on tight. Remember those people when you’re feeling discouraged. Imagine those people encircling you with appreciation. Create for them.

“Believe in yourself. There is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.”
–Christian D. Larson

There is something inside you that is stronger than even the harshest piece of criticism, stronger than the meanest blog comment, stronger than the hate-iest piece of hate mail. You have that strength inside of you.

You’re going to be judged, and…

You’re going to survive.

Original post at alexandrafranzen.com.

Alexandra Franzen

When it comes to being a better writer — and a better human being — Alexandra Franzen has a ten-word philosophy: Start with love. Keep it simple. You are not confused. Alexandra’s refreshingly simple communication tips have been featured on Fast Company, Forbes, The Daily Love, The Daily Muse, MediaBistro, MindBodyGreen and The Huffington Post — and on radio programs from coast to coast. Learn more at www.alexandrafranzen.com.

Recommended

Take smarter risks, not just safe ones.

Are you too tentative? Here are four ways to take smarter risks, not just safe ones. When making decisions, most people like to think they ...

Leaderly Quote: Dreams don't work unless you do

I asked Angie Klein, Be Leaderly's operations and marketing manager, what her all-time favorite leadership quote is. Here's what she said: "Dreams don't work unless ...

5 Ways to Motivate Yourself (and Everyone Around You)

To be seen as a leader at work, you’ll need the drive to consistently deliver superior results, the energy reserves to give a your colleagues ...

Ready to lead?

We'll show you how!
Get email updates from Be Leaderly.

Our mission is to provide the career strategies that help you lead, climb and thrive as a rising woman of influence.

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

15 Songs for Your Leadership Playlist

It was one of those conference moments I’ll never forget: Carly Fiorina had ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

6 Critical Missteps That Hurt Your Career Advancement

Let’s face it: it isn’t easy to break out and establish yourself as ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

Nine Qualities of Female Leaders Who Get Beyond the Glass Ceiling

I’m frequently asked to speak about women in law and specifically the issue ...

4 Characteristics of Leaders Who Get Hired and Promoted

Imagine if you had the opportunity to sit down with a senior executive ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

5 Things Women Leaders Should Stop Doing. TODAY.

Over the last couple years, I’ve had a front row seat to career ...

8 Types of Courage for Aspiring Leaders

“The truth is that courage resides within you; you must simply decide to ...

How to Manage Former Peers

Let’s talk about a potentially awkward situation. You get a new role and ...

Leaderly Quote: Someone sees the leader in you
Leaderly Quote: Someone sees the leader in you

Sometimes a thought or quote leaves an indelible mark on us. It was more than

What Does it Mean to Have a Sponsor? (Podcast)
What Does it Mean to Have a Sponsor? (Podcast)

What does it mean to have a sponsor? How is a mentor different? And how

The 5 Best Times to Negotiate on The Job
The 5 Best Times to Negotiate on The Job

When we negotiate and fail, the effects can set us back both personally and professionally. Perhaps

Leaderly Quote: Your best relationships are not built…
Leaderly Quote: Your best relationships are not built…

Speaking at a biotech company’s summit for high-potential new hires, executive coach Joe Takash, president

Thank You, Leaderlies
Thank You, Leaderlies

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we consider ourselves to be extremely lucky to know you, our

My Favorite Salary Negotiation Tactic (That Recruiters Love, Too).
My Favorite Salary Negotiation Tactic (That Recruiters Love, Too).

How many of you negotiated your first job offer? I have to admit I didn’t.

Transform Your To-Do List with This Quick Productivity Hack
Transform Your To-Do List with This Quick Productivity Hack

You’re probably familiar with the story for a jar that represents the time available in your life.

Why You Need a Sponsor Not a Mentor!
Why You Need a Sponsor Not a Mentor!

Could your career use an influential advocate? When you first begin your career, it’s important

Leaderly Quote: Dream. Do. Dream.
Leaderly Quote: Dream. Do. Dream.

“Don’t let a dream become a fantasy, which is what happens when you never act

Don’t be the Best Kept Secret in Your Organization
Don’t be the Best Kept Secret in Your Organization

“I feel like I’m the best kept secret in this organization,” said Tina. She had

Technology, Peace and Sanity
Technology, Peace and Sanity

A few years ago, I sat down and did some math. I tallied up how

Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month
Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month

Here are the top articles that other emerging leaders have been reading at BeLeaderly.com this

Don’t Let Fear Steal Your Dreams
Don’t Let Fear Steal Your Dreams

Fear steals our dreams. Think about the last time you really longed for something but

Leaderly Quote: See yourself as a leader now.
Leaderly Quote: See yourself as a leader now.

“See yourself as a leader now. Leadership is an action not a position.” — Cindy Pace,

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Subscribe

captcha

PRIVACY

We will never share, rent, or sell your personal information or email address.
Copyright 2017, Be Leaderly