When a load of negative publicity comes your way unexpectedly, it can be difficult to know what to do. In the midst of an online crisis I always recommend doing nothing at all initially. This happened to be a fortnight ago when I posted my very first article on Entrepreneur.com
The article was all about the barriers standing between you and owning a Ferrari. The Ferrari was really only a metaphor for success, and I wasn’t trying to outline how actually to own one. When I submitted the article to the editor for review, they posted the article with a feature image of a Bugatti car instead of a Ferrari.
It’s not uncommon on well-established websites for them to be very careful about what photos they use and where they come from because the risk of getting sued is far greater. After first seeing my article go live, I was disappointed in the photo they used, but it wasn’t the end of the world.
For the next two weeks, all of my social media channels and my personal email were inundated with negative people hurling abuse at me for not knowing the difference between different types of luxury cars. Now sorrrrryyyy that luxury cars are not at the top of my priority list.
I’m more interested in how to change the world than I am about a chunk of metal, with four wheels, which has some fake badge stuck on with glue, that was made by a factory worker in a third world country, who probably earns significantly lower than the average person.
Keep reading because what seems like a sad story turns into something quite unexpected.
Now that the abuse has died down, I thought it would be cool to share with you the 6 reasons why negative publicity like this is a blessing in disguise:
1. You amplify your impact tenfold
Negative publicity amplifies your impact tenfold because our society is programmed to consume bad news. Every TV station you turn on, newspaper you pick up, and any online publication you read will have tons of negative stories present because bad news, and hype sells.
Seeing someone worse off than ourself helps ease the pain of our own life. What the groups of negative nancies don’t understand is that by banding together to bring someone down, they are increasing the number of eyeballs that are paying attention.
People are more likely to hear your message when there is something controversial or messed up with the story. My article with the wrong picture caused exactly this sensation, and it helped me to reach out to more people including some that did resonate with what I was saying.
Some of my newest followers on social media may never have found me if it wasn’t for the beautiful, compounding effect that is negative publicity.
2. True friends come to the rescue
It’s cool how during the toughest of times our true friends come through for us. Many of my closest friends contacted me with words of encouragement and one of them even told me to write this article! My friends supported me whether I was right or wrong and they went on social media to respond to some of the messages.
After this negative experience with Entrepreneur.com, I was thinking to myself that I might not write for them again. My friends told me not to let one bad experience with a publication stop me from pursuing my dream.
These words of encouragement helped me see through the short-term disappointment and get back to why I was writing in the first place. Everyone messes up at some stage or another, and I don’t believe for a second that the editor put up the wrong photo on purpose.
I feel like it was almost divine intervention that my first article could have this happen, allowing it to get so much more attention.
3. You realise all the people that you want nothing to do with
The people that trashed my name on social media did me a favor because they showed me that they are not the sort of person I want to interact with. Anyone who gets joy out of bringing others down is off my Christmas shopping list and doesn’t deserve even five seconds of my time.
On the other hand, anyone who spends their entire life raising consciousness to a higher level through inspiration and a positive message deserves all of our attention. It’s these people that go on to fly rockets into space, build electric cars that are better for the environment, break world records in sport, inspire us through their hobby, and challenge the status quo.
4. You see your true fans shine through
Through the negative publicity, I saw who my real fans were because they didn’t care less about the mistaken photo; all they cared about was the message I was trying to deliver. Instead of being shallow and automatically assuming the worse, they had faith in me and my intentions.
Some of those fans have now become close friends, and that would have never occurred without all of this negative publicity.
“It’s through the struggle that you find your true tribe”
5. You’re reminded you are not perfect and never will be
I’ve got a confession to make: I’m not perfect, and neither are you. We’re going to make mistakes every day and the words I’m typing are probably wrong in some way too. That’s right; I got an email during the week to inform me that my grammar is terrible, and I can’t write to save myself.
In this scenario, I asked the person for evidence, and the examples that she sent to me were so minute they weren’t even worth mentioning. They were the type of grammatical errors that only elite writers who have had a New York Times Best Selling book might pick up.
The quality of your work is always going to be subjective, and people’s standards of what is acceptable will vary greatly. I wish I was amazing at English and could write every sentence perfectly, but the fact of the matter is I can’t.
What am I supposed to do? Never try? No, I’m supposed to just get started and have a crack. Over time my writing will improve, and my message will become more succinct. We’re never going to be all things to all people so let’s abolish this mythical idea and get back to our own personal why.
It’s my why that has got me here in the first place ranting and raving like a madman, and it’s your why that is going to get you out of bed at 4am to pursue your passion and never give up on your dream. Take action and don’t get lost in negative people’s opinions.
In your own life, dish out encouragement and positive criticism rather than verbal diarrhoea. Live your life and don’t become too obsessed with everyone else’s.
6. You become immune
As Julia Gillard, the former Prime Minister of Australia said to me a few months ago, “this isn’t my first Rodeo.” If you have been reading my articles for a while, you would know that this is not the first time this has happened.
Guess what? When you put yourself out there, people are going to hate on you no matter what you are doing. Get used to it and expect criticism! The good news is that the more you have negative publicity, the better you get at dealing with it.
In fact, in my case, I have become immune to it. I’ve stopped caring about what people think, and I’m 100% focused on delivering inspiration through personal development and entrepreneurship. The insults just bounce off me because I know that there is no energy behind them that can assist me in breaking through the barriers of my own struggle every day.
Like a virus, the more times I become infected, the better I get at dealing with the symptoms. After all, success is not about you; it’s about those that you serve.
“When you get out of your own big fat head and how you’re being perceived, and focus on what it is you are trying to say, the effect of the haters disappears” – Tim Denning
***The End Of The Story***
So I promised you all at the start that the story has a happy ending, and it does as always, otherwise it wouldn’t be in the true Addicted2Success style. After the hundreds of complaints I received, the photo got changed by my editor, and the article ended up being shared thousands of times on social media.
It became so popular that it hit number four on Entrepreneur.com’s most popular article list. What a great way to be featured on the site for the very first time. Everything happens for a reason so just go with the flow and know that you’re going to be remarkable no matter what you do.
Short-term disappointment can always be replaced by euphoria and joy if your mind is programmed to focus on what’s good in this world and to drown out all the negativity that we’ve become so addicted to as a society. Live your dream and never give up!