by Jennie Ormson | Featured Contributor
Wouldn’t it be great if the entrepreneurial world was nothing but feel good vibes, endless encouragement, and above board behavior? It does exist. In abundance. But I’m no Little Miss Sunshine, and I recognize that there’s also a dark little underbelly to the entrepreneurial world. There can be jealousy and malevolence; it can be populated with copycats and slimy snakes.
Some of these unseemly characters may even poke their nose into your social media feeds or attempt to undermine your success with sneaky verbal jabs. They may ambush you with a not so nuanced roundhouse kick to your confidence that leaves you gasping for breath. You feel yourself fume with anger, then sting with hurt, followed by a tailspin into questioning your competence. You can ride that emotional roller coaster unlimited times.
You worry about your credibility and don’t want to let this rotter get away with such atrocious behavior. How DARE they?!! Who do they think they are? Here’s the catch:
The minute you feel yourself on that emotional rollercoaster they’ve got you.
Their tactic worked. Regardless of your outward actions, as soon as you’re distracted from the work at hand, you’ve become ensnared in the drama. So how exactly do you steer clear and remain on the high road?
The first step to becoming self-aware is being able to reflect on our state. Tune in physiologically to what’s going on. Sensations like a knot in the stomach, heaviness in the chest, or a clenched jaw are cues that something is ‘off’. Tune in to the mental chatter, notice when you’re distracted from your goal and slipping into the ‘how dare they?!’ mode.
Begin to notice what types of comments or criticisms throw you off your game. Some may hook you, while others you can let slide. The eternal wisdom of G.I. Joe reminds us that knowing is half the battle. Are you taking it personally? Are you getting your knickers in a twist over something legitimate or something preposterous? The quicker you can discern between the two, the quicker you can refocus.
The Beauty of Thick Skin
At the outset of a new business, it is so small that it doesn’t garner much consideration. As your success grows, more people notice you. Being on more radars brings with it the potential for more attention – positive and negative. Haters will hate. People who are jealous of your success may attempt to cut you down to size. Take it as a positive sign that you are now a big enough fish to draw some scrutiny. Responding to every jab, blab, and knock down could become a full-time endeavor. Allowing yourself to become wrapped up in drama or back and forth banter distracts from your task at hand: growing a successful business.
A thick skin is not only a bonus; it’s a requirement if you’re putting yourself out there in any type of public way. Some people appear to be naturally impermeable to criticism. If that’s not you, think of it as a skill to develop. Clients will judge you based on your product, attention to detail, and level of service. Engaging in any type of public sparring match with critics appears unprofessional and hurts your credibility. Conversely, continuing to deliver impeccable service and phenomenal products will draw in the right clients.
The High Road is the Track to Success
The most successful and influential leaders have all had their critics and distractors. Zuckerberg, Sandberg, Branson, and Huffington have all been derided. Yet by and large, they stay the course, take the high road, and remain focused on their goals.
Becoming embroiled in drama can be a great procrastination ploy. It’s juicy, it’s energizing, it’s exciting. It also does nothing to grow your success unless your surname is Trump or Kardashian. Digging in to drama can delay decision-making and Getting On with It. If that’s your goal, fill your boots – but do it with eyes wide open. The more time you spend being defensive, the less time you’re dedicating to growth, both personal and professional.
Skip the drama and get back on track. Take the high road – it’s the only one that will lead you to great achievements.
Jennie Ormson knows the power of a strong relationship, and the impact of a crummy partnership. As a Relationship Expert, her mission is to empower people with the skills they need to communicate effectively, fight fair, and revive the sparkle. Jennie’s core belief is that there is immense power in being heard and feeling understood. Her gift is helping couples understand what’s going on in their emotional landscape, and how to navigate the peaks and valleys. She’s relatable and practical, helping people to balance speaking up and knowing when to shut up.
For over 20 years as a therapist, Jennie has provided insight, compassion, and the ability to thrive. Her work in Canada, America, Ireland, and the UK has impacted thousands of lives. With three young kids, a booming private practice, an exciting online venture, and a partner of 25 years, Jennie understands the need to juggle it all with grace and humour.