Embrace Criticism and Your Personal Brand Will Be Stronger

What drives your personal brand? Do you have the tenacity to pedal onward even in the face of critics, naysayers, and scoffers? Can the strengths that drive you also land you flat on your face? Once again these questions bring to mind another great Lance commercial.

Recently, my fellow colleagues have shared along these lines. Richard Anderson’s post on The Personal Branding Blog reminds us that an overused strength can become a weakness. In a recent issue of YOUnique, William Arruda says it is not all about strengths because if you have weaknesses that will impede your success, you need to resolve them.

Critics See Your Brand Through Their Own Lens

What you see as driving your brand may very well be criticized by others. Your critics will see your brand through their own lens of reality and make a judgement call.

  • If you are driven by confidence, will it be seen as arrogance?
  • Will your natural or gifted ability label you as a doper or cheat?
  • Can your resilience be laughed off as being “washed-up”?
  • Is your determination causing others to say that you simply can’t let it go?

Critics exist for a good reason. They actually help us to reinforce in our mind WHY we do WHAT we do. The real challenge we face is not giving in to their criticism. Once we do, we let the critics win and we pedal off-brand.

Embrace Criticism and Your Brand Will Be Stronger

I recently came across a great site by Lori Deschene called Tiny Buddha, simple wisdom for complex lives. Lori wrote an excellent post called, ‘How to Deal with Criticisim Well: 25 Reasons to Embrace It’. Here are 5 of my favorites taken directly from her post, but take the time to embrace all 25 and your brand will be stronger.

1. Learning from criticism allows you to improve. Almost every critique gives you a tool to more effectively create the tomorrow you visualize.

2. Learning to move forward after criticism, even if you don’t feel incredibly confident, ensures no isolated comment prevents you from seizing your dreams. Think of it as separating the wheat from the chaff; takes what’s useful, leave the rest, and keep going!

3. Receiving feedback well reminds you it’s OK to have flaws—imperfection is part of being human. If you can admit weakness and work on them without getting down on yourself, you’ll experience far more happiness, peace, enjoyment, and success.

4. Certain pieces of criticism teach you not to sweat the small stuff. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter that your boyfriend thinks you load the dishwasher “wrong.”

5. Your critics give you an opportunity to challenge any people-pleasing tendencies. Relationships based on a constant need for approval can be draining for everyone involved. It’s liberating to let people think whatever they want—they’re going to do it anyway.

In the end, let’s remember what Lance says in this commercial – “They can say whatever they want. I’m not back on my bike for them.” Be your brand for yourself, not your critics.

How have you dealt with critics of your personal brand?  Share your ideas below.


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About the author

Peter Sterlacci Peter Sterlacci is known as “Japan’s personal branding pioneer.” In a country where fitting-in is the norm, Peter’s mission is to pioneer a ‘cultural shift’ by helping Japanese to stand out in a global environment. An avid cyclist, he combines cycling imagery with personal branding strategy to empower his clients to shift gears and sprint to career success. Follow Peter on Google+