If it hasn’t happened yet, trust me …
You’ll be riding high, at the top of your game, making your dreams come true …
And somebody will pop into your world and try to shut you down.
That “somebody” might be a well-intentioned friend (“I’m just worried about you, hon. What you’re trying to do is really difficult … maybe you should re-think this. Do you have a Plan B?”)
Or that “somebody” might NOT be a friend (“Dear Susan. How DARE you dress like that and call yourself a ‘feminist’? You’re a terrible role model.”)
Either way, it stings.
No matter who the instigator is, or what their true motivations may be, “shut it down” moments SUCK.
But they don’t have to derail you.
You have the power to say:
“Thank you for your feedback / opinions / concern. I’m gonna go ahead & keep rockin’, now.”
As a woman who has dealt with hundreds of (pretty horrendous) “shut it down” moments throughout the course of my life and career, I’ve got a few survival tips to share.
Here’s how to stay strong, even when it feels like the whole wide world wants to shut you down:
Survival Tip No. 1:
Give your “hater” some love.
Not long ago, a woman came up to me after a talk I’d given at a conference. She smiled and said:
“Susan, I have to admit: I used to hate you and resent your success. But now that I’ve met you, I can see that you’re awesome! Oh, and … you’re so brave, coming here. You’ve got so many haters in the audience!”
My initial reaction was … EXCUSE ME?! Haters? Me? Here? Whaaat?
But after taking a few deep breaths, I was able to rustle up some love and compassion.
I knew that this woman was trying to say:
“You did a great job and I liked your presentation.”
She just chose to package that praise in a slightly uncomfortable way.
I chose to give her some love, instead of flipping out.
“Thank you. I’m glad you liked it.”
Which allowed me to move on with my day (and my life!) … instead of stewing and obsessing and wasting my energy.
The lesson? Always give your hater the benefit of the doubt, and try to find a spark of light and goodness in their words.
As the Dalai Lama says:
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
Survival Tip No. 2:
Remember that not everybody is going to like you …
… and there’s not a gosh darn thing you can do about it.
As femme fatale Dita Von Teese says:
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”
Survival Tip No. 3:
Suit up & get back out there.
After experiencing a “shut it down” moment, you made need to lock yourself in your bedroom for an hour, and cry. Or punch a pillow. Or scribble in your journal. Or vent to a girlfriend on the phone.
But don’t wallow forever. Suit up and get back out there.
Remember all of the people who do love peaches — and who need your particular flavor of peachy-ness.
Remember all of the people who are inspired by your bravery — your kids, your clients, your blog readers, and strangers you don’t even know.
Remember what a role model you are, every time you rise up and refuse to let the haters get you down.
As Nelson Mandela — a guy who knows a thing or two about “shut it down” moments! — reminds us:
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
No matter who. No matter what.
Your dreams are SO worth it.
PS. When was your last “shut it down” moment? And what did you do — or tell yourself — to survive it?