Monday Motivator: Get Thicker Skin
9/23/2013 11:42:00 AM
I love to talk to students who have an interest in my field of work. Although it can be fun and provide a great way to impact your sphere of influence, there’s also the downside. I always warn students to be in this type of public position you need thick skin. After all, when you work in the public eye, you’re an open target for ridicule, haters, and rejection. Not just from those outside your building but even those within.
In any competitive field, there is always someone gunning for something that you have; be it position, money, or even positive attention you receive. And usually where there’s competition, there’s always criticism. People may “nit-pick” to tear you down, when really they are extra thirsty to build themselves up. However, some constructive criticism is warranted but if you don’t learn how to handle it, you will find yourself fearful of rejection, insecure, and uncertain about your worth. What to do?
It may be easier said than done but in order to have peace about who you are you have to develop thick skin. And maybe your issue is not that you have a public position but you work in an environment that readily rejects your work. It never seems like you are doing enough and when you do, it’s not good enough! Or maybe you have an over-critical boss, conniving co-workers, in a toxic environment. It could be you simply can’t handle anything that can be misconstrued as a negative regarding your work. When it comes, you confuse your ‘work” with your ‘worth’. Regardless which scenario you deal with, there will always be some type of workplace rejection but the key is not to feel rejected as a person. You are more than your position and your life shouldn’t be defined by your work.
Self Magazine penned a piece titled, “#YouGotThis: Grow a Thicker Skin”. While some of this isn’t work related, the tips are valuable lessons in workplace interaction and other relationships. Check out the advice given regarding the matter. From Self.com:
So maybe your guy makes a "suggestion" about your career decisions or your mom questions your lifestyle. Remember this: Your loved ones tend to criticize because they care and want you to succeed. Your boss doesn't have the same emotional investment in you when she's chiding you for your job performance, but remember that being constructively criticized means you're worthy of criticism--people don't bother to fix things they don't care about. It's a you-and-me team mentality, not a you-versus-me rivalry, and now you know how to be a better team player. "As a manager, the best outcome is seeing the employee calmly own her mistakes, assure me that it won't happen again and most important, not dwell on it," says Rachel Thomas, cofounder and president of LeanIn.org.
You didn't get it--a spot in the graduate program or even a date with your cute new neighbor. OK, disappointing. But for everything you didn't score, think about what you did: a smart application essay you can use for your next top-choice school; the courage to ask that guy out and the knowledge that a little rejection won't kill you. "The more we survive rejection, the more fearless we become," says Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Ph.D., codirector of the Executive Program for Women Leaders at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Whenever you put yourself out there, you can learn that rejection isn't end-of-the-world bad and gain confidence.
Dealing with haters
No one enjoys being disliked. But think about someone you can't stand: First, do you think your opinion should ruin her life? No. And second, what's the coolest move she could pull? Acting like she doesn't need your approval. "Show someone that she's getting under your skin and you add fuel to her fire--you just make it harder for yourself," says psychiatrist Catherine Birndorf, M.D., self's contributing mental health expert. But the moment you decide, and show, you don't care, you take away her power. And not just that: You could come off as way more likeable.
Don’t feel like a victim and let the rejection, haters, or criticism get you down. You can’t control others but you can control how you react to their actions. We give our power to others when we reject ourselves. Focus on your personal mission, strengths, character traits, passions, and interests outside of your work. When you look at your life as a whole, the workplace issues tend to seem less of an issue. After all when you know you are more than your job, you tend to be less consumed by the constant workplace issues. Be your own mirror – define who you are and be pleased with what you see. You can’t do that through the eyes of others.