Developing Thicker Skin
Have you ever felt the sting from criticism? Ouch! When you receive criticism naturally you'll first experience some negative emotions. If you're going to put yourself out there you have to expect feedback of all kinds. There is only one way around this without making it break you, toughen up!
I'm not saying toughen up to be so hard that you completely ignore the feedback you receive. This would be comparable to ignoring your body if you were to suddenly come down with a high fever. When your body develops a fever, it's telling you something important about what's currently happening. In general, you want to be open to warning signs, but at the same time, you want to create a good filtering system. A system to weed out the junk mail but not the important stuff.
If you think you never make mistakes and only deserve praise, you are living in a dream world and may suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. On the other hand, creating self-awareness allows you to accept feedback and put it to use. Recognizing that you need feedback and even seek it is a great way to get to the next level of your endeavors. The greatest leaders ask for feedback and continue to be malleable as they grow.
Unfortunately, criticism is an unavoidable part of being alive. Ask any successful leader that has done something meritorious, I guarantee they're all familiar with criticism.
It's easy to view criticism as a bash on your character. You should never take feedback personally, otherwise you will become paralyzed and stop dead in your tracks of life. The best thing you can do is detach your personal self from the feedback you receive and use it as a gift. Use it as information to help you improve.
Regardless of how proud you are of not caring what other people think, it's still important to be open minded while embracing valuable data. Once you begin to accept that there is a ton of feedback, it's time to figure out what is useful and what is junk. For example I was reading my reviews from my pregnancy DVD I created 7 years ago. Most of the reviews were fabulous and people loved the workout. I got one review out of 50 that didn't like the fact that I was showing my pregnant belly. I also read a couple reviews saying I was teaching with a lower energy personality than I did with my other other DVDs. I could easily get upset over reading this.
Being able to compartmentalize and separate the valuable feedback from other feedback can take practice. The example, I used is an easier one for me. One person out of 50 didn't like that I didn't cover my belly. This one will be going in the junk pile. The few comments that discussed the lower energy personality will be filed away for a future video of mine and be dually noted. I will take the energy levels up as best as I can. Of course, I was pregnant and we filmed the video inside a very hot building and we couldn't put the fans on due to the sound. Therefore, I probably was very tired and extremely uncomfortable. Needless to say, I'm not going to cry myself to sleep over this one. I'm going to use this data and improve my future offerings.
Rather than reacting emotionally and letting some criticism get to you, use this as a way to fix the issue. Don't let this destroy your confidence. The last thing you want to do is tell yourself you're not good at something. If you love what you do, then keep on striving to be better. Continue to hold your head up high.
One way to develop confidence is to continue to grow your knowledge base. We are designed to be around other humans to collaborate and learn. If you always work alone, try and get out to interact with other like minded individuals. Exchanging ideas in a group situation will help you grow and fill your cup up.
Once you become more self aware, you will be able to develop a better mental system for sifting through the crap and accept the gold nuggets of info. It's true, you will never be able to please everyone, but that's something that you should come to terms with. Knowing that you are open to doing your best and being a lifelong student will get you on the right path. At the end of the day, staying humble while being your best self will give you the most satisfaction. While it takes practice to compartmentalize and sift through comments, you will develop a thicker skin over time. Don't let the bastards grind you down. Be you because there is no one else like you!