Dealing with haters

Adam-GoodesIn the recent racism saga involving Adam Goodes there was a view from critics that Goodes needed to develop ‘thicker skin’ and ‘harden up’.  From my own experience as an entrepreneur, I found deep sympathy with Adam Goodes because in all honesty; it’s not that easy.

When you start your journey as an entrepreneur there is an incredible sense of optimism as you chase a dream.  But it’s not that long until you start meeting the haters. And unfortunately in Australia there’s plenty of them.

From the high flying corporate to the fresh uni student, the most common reaction I’ve encountered is hostility.  “Well how about X?” and then “Oh, what about Y?” followed by looks of disgust, curled lips and crossed arms.  I’m a reasonably perceptive guy, and can tell the difference between someone who gives positive encouragement and constructive advice, from someone doing their best to challenge you in order to convey negativity.  And in many cases, it’s most certainly the latter.

But it’s not the hostile randoms who you bump into that get you down.  It’s the combination of the close friends and family who also display this behaviour.  Sometimes it’s the outright aggression and criticism directed towards you without reason.  Other times it’s the subtle investigative questions, keeping tabs on your level of success.  Or it’s the statements which imply you have a lot of free time and suggestions that you should start looking for a ‘real’ job.

Overall it all just adds up.  It’s easy to dismiss the random people, but when it’s the people you know and trust, inevitably you ask questions about your life.  You’ve chosen all these people to enter your life and many of them wish you the worst.  And if that’s the case, what have I built?

That’s when your world falls apart, and just like Goodes the stress of the situation can require you to take a break.  While it’s something that I’ve come to terms with, I totally understand how after a while…  the haters start getting to you.

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