My Thesis on How to Handle Feedback
Haters are a fact of life. Not everyone is going to be a fan of you or the content you put out. This issue can be really tough to handle, especially for the 12–22 year olds out there, as you are building your confidence and self-esteem. But, even if you’re 45 or 62, there are so many people not doing what they love because they’re worried about what other people are thinking, saying, or will say (particularly close family and friends).
Personally, I’m so grateful that I don’t give a crap what anyone thinks about me while equally caring what they have to say at the same time. It’s incredibly important to me what my employees and inner circle think of me — it helps me gain self-awareness. However, it’s stunning how much I’ll push back if any of them try to impose their will on me. That’s an important distinction. I’m very open, empathetic, and quite self-aware of what people think of me and pander to it, react to it, and adjust to it. Most importantly, I understand it (both pro and con). But, there’s a difference between someone’s opinion of you and someone imposing their opinion on how you should operate.
This outlook allowed me to navigate junior high and high school without submitting to peer pressure. I honestly thought, on some level, that I was better than everybody. I didn’t act that way. If you ask my classmates today, I don’t think any of them would say that I walked around like I was cooler than them. (That would have been hard as a 4’11” freshman, who was being made fun of for not being 5 feet tall yet.) It was all about how I felt internally. I felt, inside, that I was better than them, and it gave me the confidence to do what I thought was important to me.
If you’re 15 now, you’ll be stunned how little you care when you’re 51 or 91. You’ll be shocked how little you care about other people’s opinions — this includes your parents, siblings, and even your children. If I could wish anything besides health on people, it would be the unbelievable happiness that comes along with self-belief and recognizing how it plays out. I’ve made my living by being confident in myself and my decisions (both in life and business, even when they are unpopular). Being confident can really pay off.
I like when people put me down. I get off on it. Nothing is more interesting to me than having to prove all of you wrong. I love the people that think I’m a “huckster” or that I have some “hidden agenda” or that I “won’t be that great” or that “I think too highly of myself” or that “my dad had a liquor store and that’s the only reason I’m successful” or that “I got lucky”… the list goes on.
I see negative comments all the time. I’ll be honest, as confident as I am, they always feel bad. No matter how many times I can answer your questions, snaps, and emails, there are always people who come back at me with so much venom after one less than perfect piece of content. Do you know how much it affects me when people emphatically drill me for an episode of DailyVee or #AskGaryVee that they don’t think is up to par?
As I like to say: You are only as good as your last at bat. I just always pick the bat up again and keep swinging.
A negative reaction might sting at first, but I recognize that I’m never going to get 100% positive comments on any piece of content I post. You can’t please everyone.
If anything, I encourage my haters to judge and underestimate me because that’s the greatest driver I have. It’s how I’m wired and it makes me want to push back even more. I know most people are not wired like I am, but I only hope that through my energy, I can motivate some of you to at least start thinking this way.
Feedback works both ways. For me, reading your comments is my oxygen. It makes me incredibly happy when I see comments about your success because of the the content that I put out. I love it when you can care a little bit less about what your coworker, older brother, or naysayer has to say. Confidence is infectious.
Bottom line (and it’s tough to hear): there’s always someone who won’t like you. But, at the end of the day, it’s not going to matter. If you learn something from this article, know that you have to believe in yourself first. And you do that by ignoring the opinions that your parents, teachers, friends, coworkers, etc. have. But, you have to respect those opinions at the same time because it allows you to gain self-awareness and perspective. Just don’t let anyone impose their way on you. This mental framework will allow you to become the best possible version of yourself.
If you need some more advice, check out my one hack to increase self-awareness below: