Handling The Haters
May 17, 2016
In my experience, there has been one thing that has held true at every stop in my career. No matter where you work or what level you are at, there will always be haters who tell you that you aren't good enough.
My first job after college was as a Program Director and night jock at a small market station in Maine. As I would quickly find out, the General Manager was a complete bully. His hostile visits to my office became a near daily occurrence. "Let me tell you something," he told me one day. "You didn't get this job because you deserve it. You got it because you are lucky! I've been in this business a long time and know how to spot a winner. You will never make it in a bigger market!"
Needless to say, I felt really good two weeks later when I told him that I was leaving market #247 to take a top 25 market job in Cleveland.
But the haters weren't any quieter in a bigger city. The radio message boards became a collection of "Who is this young punk?" themed posts upon the announcement in my hiring. Every move I made was scrutinized by internet "experts" who predicted a quick demise for both myself and Kiss FM.
A year later, we took a 3,000-watt signal and beat the 50,000-watt competitor.
Here is the thing about haters. Their poison can only hurt you if you agree to drink it. If you find yourself buying into the negativity, it's because there is a part of you that actually agrees with them on some level.
So you could get really angry and talk about what a jerk the other person is and how hurtful their comments are, or you could get radically honest with yourself. Is the anger and hurt you feel really about the other person or about the fact that they are triggering your own feelings of self-doubt?
If that's the case, then you can actually be grateful for your haters and see them as a gift. What if they weren't there to tear you down, but to instead test your faith? What if they were there to illuminate the fact that you are putting the need for external validation before your own self-love and acceptance? What if you didn't use their negativity as an excuse to give up, but as fuel to propel you further?
Because buying into the negativity of others is what leads us to holding back and playing small in our life. If you truly want to achieve the highest levels of success, you must be prepared for some people to judge you. In fact, every person in history who has created a legacy - from Jesus Christ to Martin Luther King - did so in spite of criticism from detractors.
So, to paraphrase Mary J Blige, here are two ways to turn down the "hateration" and dial up the "holleration" in your life.
First, when someone is coming at you with a ton of negative energy, it has little to do with you and everything to do with them. Generally, their needs aren't being met and they are projecting it onto you. What they are really seeking is love. That does not mean that you have to be a doormat and give it to them. Sometimes, the most loving response is to not respond to their nasty comments. You can't take on that negative energy, whether it be face to face or through social media.
Secondly, you have to get honest with yourself and ask if the other person is truly "hating," or offering valid criticism? Hating is just negativity spewed for the sole purpose of seeking attention. Criticism can come from a genuine place, said simply to help you see your blind spots, up your game, and achieve better results.
Regardless of whether you are the victim of a hater, or simply getting criticized, the key is to not take it personally. You are solely responsible for how you respond in your life. You can choose to not be affected by other people's projections. You can also be open to learning a lesson if there is one to learn
What you cannot do is let the haters hold you back from giving your gift to the world.
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