Back in January, I spoke at our EntreLeadership Performance Series event and this was my first event as a new personality. This was also the first event where we included my session on the feedback survey at the end. The attendees had an opportunity to rate my session, my content, and my delivery as well as leave comments.
Naturally, after the event, I was anxious and excited to see the feedback.
Here were the ratings from the survey:
Then I read on to the comments.
It was the weirdest thing because you would have thought that something was wrong with the PDF document. As I read it, it was like my eyes glazed over at every positive thing that was said – as if those positive comments were just disintegrating off of the page…
But the others…the negative ones – it was as if they were highlighted, in bold, and getting larger on the screen as I read.
It’s like that isn’t it?
- It feels like that the one or two negative reviews about your book negate the thousands of positive ones.
- The one person that doesn’t approve or agree or affirm or accept you steals your attention from the hundreds that do.
- The one person on Facebook that commented something negative distracts you from all of the positives ones.
We know intellectually that we can’t please everyone.
We know that.
I know that.
But that does not change the visceral pit in my stomach I feel when I read something negative about me.
My reaction at first was that I was discouraged and bummed.
A couple of hours later when I met my husband at our house for lunch like we do every day, I told him about it. Then I tried to explain myself and I got defensive. I ranted while aggressively smashing turkey onto two pieces of whole grain bread…
“‘Practice what I teach?! That guy doesn’t get it! The best speakers don’t get on stage and talk AT you, they connect WITH you! They tell stories of their failures so that everyone in the audience sees that you understand them. That’s the whole point of my stories of screw ups. I am not perfect – and that’s where I teach from – what I’ve learned through my mistakes!”
“And airport conveyor belt?! Everyone knows those things are sooooo slooowwwwwww! Even double speed is freaking slow! That doesn’t even make any sense!”
My sweet and patient husband did what he does best: he just listened. But venting didn’t make me feel better. Even defending myself didn’t make me feel better, either.
As I sat down to our kitchen table to eat with him, I was silent for a minute processing my thoughts.
I was hurt at the comments and at the same time I understood that that was a reality of putting myself out there.
But what I knew in my head didn’t change my hurt feelings or wounded ego.
It’s not that I don’t want to improve – I do. And I have consciously worked to speak slower. But when our feelings are hurt, it makes us want to hide to prevent the pain from happening again. To not put ourselves back out there in the risky territory of being rejected. To give up.
Then I had this thought that I said out loud as I realized it:
You know what? I’m not fighting for them.
My sweet, affirming husband nodded for me to go on. So I did. (Of course.)
I am not fighting for the people that didn’t get it – that it didn’t work for. That’s okay. It’s not for everyone.
I am fighting for everyone who did get it. I am fighting for the people whose lives were changed.
…the man that went home and took his wife on a date because of that talk…
…the woman that moved her office out of her bedroom to have time “off” because that message impacted her…
…for the family that now eats around the dinner table and the parents showing up to more of their kids’ soccer games…
I’m fighting for THEM.
Now, that’s what I remember every time I walk on stage.
I am fighting for the ones who need to hear it. If that means that I offend people or make people mad or disappoint them, (because there will only be more in the future,) then that’s okay. Because I am not fighting for them. I step on stage and put myself out there and say what God has given me to fight for the ones that need to hear it.
If we are going to make an impact, if we are going to lead well, if we are going to go up against the haters, (and on a spiritual level – those out to steal, kill and destroy) – then we have to remember who we are fighting for.