No one is immune to criticism – especially those of us who work within the creative industry. Logos get revised, webpages get scraped, and well-intentioned ideas get shit on – it’s how it goes (and blows).

So what are we – the scarred and tender-hearted – to do?

Use criticism as inspiration.

This starts with first assessing whether or not the critique you are receiving is helpful or hurtful; constructive or cruel.

To uncover this, ask yourself, “Does this feedback lend itself to a clear course of action that might ultimately make me a stronger, more resilient creative?.” If so, chances are this criticism is of the helpful variety. If not, calmly ask the perpetrator to clarify what he/she hopes to achieve with their feedback. It’s a polite and assertive way of letting someone know they are being critical where instead they should be constructive.

After you’re done assessing the situation, be sure to say thank-you. On the surface it seems counterintuitive, but audible appreciation:

01. Let’s clients/coworkers/partners know that you respect their opinion and are gracious enough to hear it – even if it differs from your own

02. Establishes trust – the foundation for healthy partnerships

Lastly – and most importantly, use criticism as inspiration to be, think, create, and do better. Just as the industry continues to evolve, so too must our creativity, which relies on occasional negative feedback to nudge us towards success.

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