The Episode: Dealing With Negativity On The Internet
As an online trainer, the very nature of your business is to create content and share it – to share your opinions publicly, in a nutshell. We all know that sharing our opinions online will lead to some pushback though. This is inevitable because there will always be people out there with different opinions to our own. We can’t control what those people think but what we can control is how we respond when they share their response to something we have said. If you can prepare yourself by understanding all the different, opposing opinions to the one you have, then in a situation where you hear one of them, you will be much less sensitive to it.
In This Episode
- Why the hosts of this show don’t take negative feedback too seriously [0:10:20]
- Planning your content carefully as a way of dealing with negative criticism [0:16:16]
- Understanding the arguments against a position before adopting it [0:17:20]
- Should you change after getting negative feedback, if you have prepared for it? [0:19:45]
- We all want to be liked, but this is not a justification for stewing after criticism [0:22:06]
- How to take negative feedback and use it as an opportunity to grow [0:23:03]
- Are personal trainers more inclined to care what others think and is this a hindrance? [0:26:17]
- How obsessions with content creation can make content less thoughtful [0:29:10]
- Getting clearer about your core values so your content is authentic [0:32:45]
- The Dunning-Kruger effect; legit coaches doubting themselves and vice-versa [0:34:25]
- Why it is important to share your knowledge if you have it [0:36:56]
“It is very easy to have a rash emotional response and get taken down by any kind of criticism or negativity on the internet directed towards you if you haven’t thought about what you are doing enough and why you are doing it, and all of the potential ramifications to it.” — Jonathan Goodman
Develop Resilience By Preparing Before Creating Content
There is always going to be somebody who has a critical opinion about something you have put out online. If you truly understand what you are saying and the possible negative responses to it, you will be much more prepared to deal with them when they emerge. Following what Nassim Taleb says in Skin In The Game, you are only allowed to have an opinion once you understand all the arguments against it. If you understand the arguments against a point of view, but have still chosen to adopt it, this means that none of the counterarguments to that point of view were strong enough to stop you from doing so. If, on the other hand, your content is copied and inauthentic, the chances are that you have not gone through this process of truly grappling with why you chose it. Therefore criticism will be far harder to deal with.
Using Criticism As An Opportunity For Self-Reflection
We all want to be liked by others and be accepted as widely as possible. Therefore if somebody criticizes you, it is natural to feel some sense of hurt afterwards. This is even more true for personal trainers. This is because part of the psychology of the personal trainer is related to making the physical body look as good as possible, which is connected to a need to be acceptable or attractive to others. What is not okay though, is allowing oneself to wallow in this negativity. A far more productive response to a feeling of being attacked after receiving bad feedback is to dig into why it is that you felt attacked in that way. The chances are that you could learn a lot about yourself and grow even more if, rather than just feel hurt, you stepped outside of this hurt and figured out why you felt it.
How The Dunning-Kruger Effect Plays Out For Online Trainers
The Dunning-Kruger effect describes a situation where people who have a small amount of knowledge about a topic feel confident to share their opinion and vice versa. As we begin to learn more about something, we start to see the gaps in our knowledge and feel self-conscious about sharing what we know. This phenomenon is especially rife in the world of online coaching because the barrier to entry is so low. The problem here is that you get a lot of beginners spreading misinformation as a result. So, if those of us with slightly more knowledge spoke up, there would be overall a higher quality of information to be consumed. It is therefore the responsibility of those with more knowledge to share what they know publicly. Hopefully, this can help you feel more confident to share your knowledge if you have it.
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