Imagine you are in bed trying to fall asleep. You toss and turn for a bit, thinking about your day and what you have to do tomorrow. You finally find a comfortable position start to drift off. Your thoughts wander and meander, and without warning or notice, a surge of fear grips you.
You were about to fall asleep, and now all you can think about is that time in Ms. Watson’s class in middle school when you were tasked with presenting your group’s results of a blind root-beer brand taste test, and you froze in front of the entire class. You remember the paralyzing fear, choking over your words, your whole body violently shaking, and worst of all, the sympathy applause and undeserved encouragement after your colossal earth-shattering failure. Cringe.
This actually happened to me in 6th grade, and I remember it like it happened yesterday. I’m sure something like this has occurred to every one of you. Those most cringe-worthy moments from your past you can think of always have a knack of sticking around in your brain FOREVER.
Making yourself vulnerable for the judgement of others is always an incredibly difficult experience the first time you do it. When I wrote “No Bullshit” in 2015, I felt like I was at a good place in my life. I was coming off a promotion at Student Painters, I was enjoying mentoring and coaching college kids, and I felt like I had a crystal clear vision and focus of both what I wanted and how to get it. Even though I knew I had a lot to learn and still do, I wanted to publish how I was feeling and my thoughts about the world, mainly so I could refer back to it and remember how confident and fearless I could be, even if my life felt like it was falling apart at some point in the future.
I decided to share the book much like I am sharing my story through these posts, because I have thick skin now and what’s the point of creating something if you aren’t going to share it with people? I’m not ramming it down anyone’s throats, and if even one person gets some kind of value from my experience, everybody wins. Most people were very supportive, read the free e-book and gave me good feedback, both positive and negative, but all constructive. One day as I was flipping through the reviews, I saw this:
“This is a joke! It sounds like it’s written by a college dropout! If you read it as a comedy you’re going to have a great time! I have nauseastalgia (this word was actually used in the book!) after reading this. Sincerely disappointed!”
This is a copied and pasted review of my book “No Bullshit” that I released last year. One negative review in 20 was all it took for me to lose confidence and doubt myself. My face got warm and I felt that panic return. Was the book bad? Did I actually have anything valuable to say? Was it naive of me to publish a book and expect only good reviews? How am I going to respond to this criticism? Does this person seriously have nothing better to do than spend time sitting at a computer criticizing little old me?
Was the book perfect? No. Am I the next Tony Robbins? Hell no! I knew this going in, and I literally lost sleep over this review. Was it a little preachy and naive? Probably! I wrote it when I was 22!
I still think about that review. I debated contacting the person and even deleting the review. But decided to just let it be. From my experience, It’s easy to lose confidence when these moments are swirling about in your head, but it’s important to remember that these failures don’t define me. I try to look at the positives in the situation and give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe this person was having a bad day and they regret writing it, and maybe they’re just an asshole and bitter about life. Either way, I don’t worry about what I can’t change. Some people are just going to hate on you no matter what you do. It’s funny to me now.
Massive THANK YOU again to everyone who downloaded and reviewed my book when it came out. Your support and feedback meant more than you know — even if you were just being nice 🙂
Check out my negative review on Amazon HERE. And I know it’s $3.99 on the website, buuuuuuut if you want to read it, e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll send you a free one.
Happy Thursday everybody.