Spend too much of your time reacting to and defending your work or your life from other people?
Reactivity is no way to live or succeed.
I’ve learned this in different contexts, but in one I received some particularly useful advice from my CEO. When our company came under criticism, my instinct was to react, respond, and defend.
I was tunnel-visioned on reacting to people, and in so doing I was losing the initiative to the critics.
My CEO’s wise advice instead was this: let’s be the kind of company that makes people respond and react to the things we do, not the other way around. And so I determined to create a flood of positive mentions for our brand that would drown out the negativity.
This is strong advice for any brand (though there’s a key place for “hugging your haters“), but it’s also good advice for individuals.
When people criticize you online, ask you to defend your life choices, or “check up on your progress” at work, you are going to be tempted into reactivity. Doing *more* that could be criticized might be the last thing on your mind. But it is in fact often the solution.
Deliver such a stream of work and value that critics either stop bothering to criticize (they shouldn’t be able to keep up), start praising you, or don’t matter. The offense always has the initiative.