How to Deal with Criticism in the Floral Industry
Call me crazy, but I asked Jesse to save mean comments people have left me since I started Team Flower, and today (maybe even crazier!?) I'm sharing a few with you.
I'm not looking for sympathy, positive affirmation or "that person is crazy!" comments. These are people I love too. They were just expressing some things that happened to land on me. I'm sharing because I want to encourage you that these interactions don’t have to stay negative. Things meant to harm can actually work for your good. I want to share how I navigate this touchy subject because these types of interactions, whether they are from someone you know, a complete stranger, or most commonly, from inside yourself, are a DANGEROUS threat to your dreams coming to fruition.
STEP ONE: Save the comments
STEP TWO: Objectively notice keywords and categorize
STEP THREE: Notice patterns and themes & see what’s underneath
Step One: Save the Comments
Step Two: Find Keywords and Categorize
Keywords: Not brilliant, lackluster, needs tuning up, ugly, sucks, saggy, droopy, pitiful, no shape or design, not balanced, not textured
Keywords Group Two: Not, don't, not, don't, not, not, not, no, no, needs, no...
Bonus Keyword: Red Lipstick (?)
Step Three: What's Underneath
Patterns and Themes of Group One: These keywords relate to my ability and within this: my experience, my age, my choices, my taste, and my worthiness to share are all attacked. All these trigger basic, human insecurities. All stuff I've already thought or wondered myself, amplified by someone else. When they say it’s it’s easy to think, well, if they think that too then it must be true! And so the dangerous cycle continues...the brain patterns get stuck...we get trapped and our creativity is stolen, bit by bit, lie by lie.
Patterns and Themes Group Two: Stop, I'm better than you.
Bonus Theme: They’re going after my appearance.
So, rather than going to grab my red lipstick and looking in the mirror and fretting over it, I quickly see she's just challenging my appearance. I like my lipstick a lot. I mean, without my red lipstick how will I be able to shoot smiles at people from yards away? I love to smile at people.
Knowing that my ability, my age, my worthiness etc. are all areas I've struggled with without their comments makes it easy to spot what's going on here too.
Is anyone perfect in their ability? No. Will we fall short in the eyes of others? Yes, and that's ok. It's a part of being human. Will someone not like my red lipstick? I guess so! I really like it though. Should I keep sharing flowers and wearing red lipstick as long as I love it and it encourages even just one person. Yes. Absolutely, a million times, yes.
When comments come my way now, I immediately work through the process. What are they really picking at that triggers emotion in me? Now, I can generally tell in a few seconds exactly what lies underneath these comments, and as it's unmasked, it looses its power. It stops replaying in my mind. That's the thing about negativity, when it's brought into the light and tested, it just doesn't hold up. You have GOLD inside you.
If there is one thing I could say to our industry today, it is to train your brain. Give it just as much, if not more attention, than you do in training with flowers. What you think about yourself and others is what can lock you up or set you free in your creative work. Don’t let someone else’s displeasure—and, especially, the desire to please others—dictate your steps. If you are moved when someone compliments you, you will equally be moved when they don't. Be careful of this too. We were made to stay steady, mentally unmoved by praise, criticism, or changing circumstance of any kind.
Now get out there and keep moving towards your dreams, one step at a time!
Cheering you on!