As a kid, I always thought when I would become an adult, there would be no more bullies because grownups are the ones who teach you not to bully so they’d never do it themselves. In middle school I had bad acne, I was a little chubby because #chocolatemilkislife, and I though socks were supposed to be pulled all the way up so needless to say, I was a walking target. I kept waiting to reach an age when people move beyond putting others down, but one of the most liberating moments was only recently when I realized that age will never come, because there will always be people out there who’s mission is more about putting others down than building them up.

I know it sounds like a pessimistic thing to say, but I think it’s actually a wonderful revelation. Here’s the thing: you will never win everyone over. Period. What someone else thinks or says about you has more to do with them and less to do with you. So if winning everyone over is impossible, then let’s stop trying.

When we stop trying to be liked, we switch our focus from other’s priorities to our own. Instead of thinking, what would they think of me, we can remove “they and them” from the equation and just ask ourselves what would I think of me? Is this what I want to be doing? Is this meaningful to me?

With my public speaking course, Mic Drop Workshop, we run ads on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook to reach millions of women all over the world to teach them about public speaking. With such mass numbers, we’ve been able to equip so many incredible women with the tools they need to become professional speakers. But on the flip side when you reach the masses, you also reach the bullies. 

One morning I was sitting up in bed scrolling through hundreds of comments on one of our recent posts. 90% of the comments were amazing from people who loved the webinar, got their first paid gig, joined the course and loved our mission. But I became obsessed with the comments from people who are hiding behind their computer trying to throw daggers at me. I’ve copied and pasted some for your viewing pleasure:

  • “Maybe I should teach YOU public speaking. Your video is AWFULLLLLL.”
  • “Women like you should sit down and shut up.”
  • “You need a makeup tutorial for those bags under ur eyes.”
  • “This has SCAM written all over it!!!”

So, you know, really sweet and nice things that your grandma writes in your birthday cards.

Even though a lot of these comments are just downright crazy, it was hard to just brush them off. I wanted to shout, “Hey! I’m a human too!” Some things are worth standing up and engaging in like if you see someone else being treated unfairly or someone being hurt or if someone is hurting you. However, a lot of the time with these internet trolls, engaging in the negativity is like sending out a mass Evite to a virtual MMA match.

So when I’m the target of any negative vibes, here’s the mental framework I use and I hope you’ll borrow it:

1- Is the source of this feedback from someone who’s done it before?

For example, is the person who’s telling me I’m an awful entrepreneur ever started a business? If the answer is no, then their feedback doesn’t count. Someone who’s never made a cake before has no right or grounds to tell you that you can’t make a cake. Typically this first question eliminates 99.9% of feedback because people who are actually good at what they do don’t have time or the negative disposition to troll others trying to do the same thing. 

2- Is this feedback constructive?

Constructive feedback: I’d love it if your book included more discussion questions so I could bring it back to my book club.

Unconstructive feedback: The pages of your book should replace the toilet paper in my bathroom.

In other words, constructive feedback should be advice that is given in order to enhance your purpose, not squash it. 

3- Do I give a damn?

Last but not least, this question sounds like a joke but it’s not. If you’re trying your best, if you’re doing something that’s meaningful to you, if you’re surrounding yourself with a good support system, if you’re excited about your venture then don’t let anyone dilute your enthusiasm with meaningless words.

Your contributions to this earth are way too valuable to let @menrule331 or any other haters get in your way.