The Art of Growing a Thick Skin

Part of the Biggifying process... learning how to take criticism and stand behind one's decisions. Or assess when those decisions may have not been the best ones.

All my life I've avoided deliberately making myself a target for negative feedback. (And for the record? Can't say I've been all that successful...) But I've based so many decisions (or un-decisions) on keeping others happy, or at least, keeping them happy with me.

I don't need to go into details about how that's no way to live. Not if you want to live big.

My decision to take on a second office, for example, seemed easy enough. That is, until I was trying to navigate the needs of two other people who were affected ... neither of whom were trying to bully me or push me, and yet, I was still unable to get really clear on what I wanted and needed because I assumed I would be putting one of them out in some way.

A simple thing made unnecessarily complicated.

And then more recently.. a decision made to break one of my policies to support a friend. I stated it as a rare exception, and I will admit it here publicly: it was a decision made in part for financial reasons.

The backlash was small, but it felt big as I lost a handful of email subscribers and received a note from one explaining her disgust with me.

Ouch.

My immediate reaction, of course, was to apologize to her, and take the defensive. Which would have been really lame, unfair to my friend that I agreed to support, as well as totally unbecoming of a biggifying-in-process- business person.

And why was I thinking of doing this? Because I was mortified that someone might think of ill of me. (Gasp!)

I was ready to relinquish my responsibility for a decision I made for the sake of the opinion of a total stranger.

Granted, I will consider how I deal with these kinds of projects in the future, instead of making them on the fly and based on a need for a few bucks. But I will also have to get used to the fact that I can't please everyone, not everyone will like me or what I do, and I have to be willing to make some mistakes if I'm going to grow this thing.

I still support my friend (just so you know, in case you're reading this). I will just respect my boundaries in the future as well as trust my feelings of discomfort if I feel like I'm crossing my own line.

I'm sorry I lost some followers. I'm grateful to have heard the reason why from one of them. I appreciate the learning experience, and the opportunity to learn how to stand a little stronger, as I think I'm really going to need this skill.

Starting now. I think.