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Stop fearing this if you want to grow


How to create your own ‘culture’ anywhere

Gandhi, once being interviewed by a reporter said,“I am very imperfect. Before you are gone you will have discovered a hundred of my faults and if you don’t, I will help you to see them.”

There’s also a line from the ancient philosopher Epictetus who, after being criticized, joked “Yes, and he doesn’t know the half of it, because he could have said more.” You’ve gotta love that kind of self-awareness and confidence.

Fear of others discovering our shortcomings is just one hindrance to our growth. But there’s another part to this equation. Fear of criticism -which makes us slaves to the opinions and perceptions of strangers, friends, and even family members’ opinions and judgments. How could this be? Simply put- much of our fear of criticism is rooted in fear of rejection. ‘If I disappoint so and so or don’t live up to their standards then they won’t like, love, keep me employed, etcetera with them.

Fearing criticism or rejection hobbles us preventing us from catching our full stride. However, if we wish to embark on any new venture we will have to confront this deep-seated aversion. Criticism is actually the path to our improvement, growth, and ultimately hard-earned confidence. Fearing criticism began in my early years. I grew up in a home with two parents- one who was warm and reasonable, the other who was highly critical and volatile. I quickly learned how to fly below the radar to avoid warranted or unwarranted criticism and personal attacks. It wasn’t until decades later I made the decision to face down the monster of fear of others’ opinions and criticisms and began to grow…in some areas, it was a total transformation.

Keeping this in mind know that your first video, blog post, or article will not be your best work. Mine certainly wasn’t. Seeing them now I cringe. Neither was my first public seminar on reverse mortgages a skilled presentation. But we plod ahead and do it scared and learn to embrace criticism as our best ally. If we want to grow personally or in our chosen profession we will have to face down the fear of criticism to free ourselves for growth and escape the prison of others’ opinions.  Where are you being held back by fear of criticism or how have you overcome it? Share your experience in the comment section below.




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  1. Great message Shannon! I was at a seminar one time and one thing I heard that I’ve always carried with me is the statement “10 seconds of boldness”. The meaning was to just be bold for the short time it takes to take action. Thanks for sharing your story. Sometimes the best lessons in business have nothing to do with business.

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