I can be a lot.
I am good at marketing and I love making a difference, so I have done lots of volunteer work helping non-profits ramp up their visibility.
But, in many instances, I have met with Board members who told me that I come on too strong, take up too much space, intimidate people, have too much energy, or don’t consider that they are struggling with personal things like weight gain.
(Someone seriously said that weight gain thing to me in a meeting.)
Since all of these comments were said in an air of “constructive criticism”, I tried to learn from what I heard and toned myself down. I tried to be “more professional”.
Changing myself to make other people more comfortable caused a different challenge. I was not nearly as effective at what I do. It ruined my mojo.
Why do we notice and worry about the people who hate us, but pay no attention to the people who think we are pretty darned awesome?
Think about it.
Nothing can be loved by everyone. Does cilantro worry about the haters? No. It just goes along making nachos delicious.
(Did you just cringe at the thought of cilantro? Does it matter? Comment below pro or con cilantro!)
When haters show up in your arena, try doing the following two steps:
1. Thank them for their input.
2. Notice the non-haters and choose to serve them.
It really can be that simple.
As a conductor for a Youth Orchestra organization, I understand that my colorful, high-energy stage presence is not for everyone. But I know that am most effective with the kids and the audience when I am authentically me.
During the lobby reception after a concert several years ago, a Board member approached me angrily and sputtered, “Why do people LIKE you?!?!”
I looked at the line of people waiting to speak to me, then looked her straight in the eye and responded, “You’ll have to ask THEM.”
Be confident in who you are. There are lots and lots and lots and lots of people who need exactly what you have to offer.
The others can go find someone else.