When I started my business, I was met with skepticism and criticism from those closest to me.
“How are you going to save for retirement? I heard that 8 out of 10 businesses fail. This is temporary, right? Until you get a real job?”
Every comment from those well-meaning people eroded the confidence and motivation I had amassed after countless hours of research and preparation. I felt as though I was paddling upstream in a raging river—and no one was there to lend a hand.
But even though I was scared, I didn’t quit. Instead, I applied the 7 tactics below to stay motivated despite the critics:
1. Know your mission
I knew I wanted to be a marketing coach because I’m passionate about teaching and I’m fascinated by marketing. Every time the critics made me want to question my decision, I would think of my mission and remind myself that I was doing what I knew was right for me.
Clearly state what you want to accomplish and why. To stay motivated, your reasons must match your core values and passion. Then, write down your mission and post it near your computer where you will be able to see it during the tough times.
“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.” – Mahatma Gandhi
2. Don’t justify your goal
I realized that the more I tried to explain why I was pursuing my goal, the less confident I felt about my ability to succeed, and the more my motivation suffered.
You’re not obligated to explain or justify your goal. Focus on how to achieve what you desire rather than on how to get external approval to pursue your mission.
3. Don’t reveal too much too soon
I was so excited about my new venture that I couldn’t resist sharing the good news with those around me. I quickly learned that I had made a mistake, because instead of receiving encouragement, I often received criticism.
The reality is that many people in your life will find fault with your goal, will warn you to “be careful,” or will share a story of someone who failed when trying to achieve a similar goal.
That’s a sure way to kill your motivation, especially when it hasn’t gathered enough positive momentum to withstand criticism.
In the beginning stages of your project, it’s best to write your ultimate goal in a private journal and keep your ideas to yourself. Let your confidence and motivation build up before you share the news.
4. Expand your social circle
I noticed that many of my friends and loved ones were being critical because their interests and backgrounds were opposite to mine. I decided to meet new people who would be more likely to relate to me, offer encouragement, and provide useful insights.
Seek the company of those who are most likely to support you. Attend networking meetings, join a mastermind group or connect with a mentor. Create a strong support network to tap into during your journey.
5. Spend time in solitude
As important as it was for me to meet new people, I found the answers to my biggest questions when I removed myself from the noise and spent time alone.
You don’t need to escape to a deserted island for a week. Even an hour away from technology and other people will allow you to achieve the peaceful state of mind you need to create a winning strategy. You’ll feel more motivated to go on when you become confident about your plan of action.
“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” – Albert Einstein
6. Find those who have succeeded achieving a similar goal to yours
The best antidote for the doomsday scenarios the critics describe to you is a story of triumph.
I found the top five players in my industry and followed their footsteps. I signed up for their training programs and modeled what they had done in their business. I placed my attention on the amazing results they had achieved. They became one of my main sources of motivation.
Today, make a list of 5 to 10 people who have achieved a similar goal to yours, and learn from them. Just like you, they were probably bombarded with criticism. But they made it, and so can you!
7. Celebrate small successes
I created a log of small wins, which I updated at the end of every week. I kept track of new software applications I had learned, people I had connected with, and training modules I had completed. Even cleaning my inbox made it to the list!
When my confidence and motivation wavered, I read the log, and realized how much I had already accomplished. This log became an instant motivation booster.
Keep track of your accomplishments—even those that seem insignificant. A small win might end up having a big impact on your success.
Criticism is one of the major motivation killers, but if you’re prepared, you won’t be a victim of the critics. Stay focused on the end goal and find joy in every step of the journey!