Negative people have a way of bringing you down, during your finer moments and sometimes when you’re already down. They can bring about confusion, frustration, and self-doubt. Be cautious of these individuals.

In my 31 years of life, I still haven’t figured them out. It could be that they don’t see the big picture the same way that we do, or that they have insecurities stronger than their dreams or maybe it’s their spirit. Some people guilty of hater behavior are just envious, and don’t have a productive way to deal with that. Whatever the case, don’t let their misery become your company.

Here are my 5 tips for staying positive and charging ahead, even when there’s negativity nearby.

Kick the naysayers to the curb! Seriously. If you’ve got friends or acquaintances that say “that will never work” to every idea you (or anyone) brings up, but never offer suggestions for solutions they think are better, you’ve got a naysayer. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

Look for people who say “what’s the first step?” in response to anything that starts with “I think I want to build…” These are your people. If they are willing to listen, to contribute feedback and ideas, and encourage you, they are the right ones to keep around.

Love thyself. You know your worth and don’t let anyone tear you down. Do you know how many people told me I would never succeed? From as early as I can remember there were peers and others telling me that I wouldn’t make the basketball team and I wasn’t smart enough to ever become an owner since I didn’t have a college degree. Turns out, they were all wrong. I kept faith in myself, worked hard, learned the skills that I needed to be a great owner, and kept going.

Use it to fuel the passion and energize you to be better, to do better. In order to be successful, you have to expose yourself to the world. The more you speak, write, blog, grow up the career ladder, the more exposure comes your way and people get scared, intimidated, envious, or jealous. When you encounter people feeling this way, you know you’re headed in the right direction! Their woes are not yours to carry, though. They will learn how to get where you are, by the same methods you got there: hard work, dedication, continual learning, and the willingness to keep showing up. Or, you know, they won’t. But let their frustration fuel your passion: be the best you can be.

Ted talks & inspirational quotes always help me! If the haters are out in full force, or a particular comment gets under my skin, I’ll turn to inspirational quotes, great TED talks, and watch or listen to people that inspire me. It’s not so much shutting out what was said as it is reinforcing a positive, productive, solutions-oriented mindset that straightens me out.

Surround yourself with people who clap when you win! There’s nothing like a solid cheer section to keep you energized and working toward your goals. Celebrate wins boisterously or quietly, but definitely celebrate them. Share your success with these positive people, and build each other up.

There will probably always be haters. But there will also always be winners, and it’s rare that one single person is in both categories. Don’t stoop — look ahead. Don’t frown — smile with satisfaction. And most importantly, don’t ever give up.

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Originally published at on April 26, 2016.

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