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Overcoming the Fear of Criticism and Embracing Risk for Success

Overcoming the Fear of Criticism

If there’s one thing that universally paralyzes people, it’s the fear of criticism. The thought of someone saying something negative or judgmental about something we’ve done or said can be enough to induce panic, anxiety, and even avoidance.

While criticism can be hard to swallow and often feels personal, it’s important to learn how to maneuver through it. Here are four steps to help overcome the fear of criticism:

Step 1: Consider the worst-case scenario

One of the first things to do to overcome the fear of criticism is to reframe your mindset.

Instead of automatically limiting yourself by assuming the worst will happen, take some time to consider the best-case scenario too. Ask yourself what specific aspects you’re worried about, and then imagine the specific worse case in those scenarios.

Once you’ve done that, try to determine how realistic those worse case scenarios are, their effects, and how to cope with them. You may find that the worse case scenarios are highly unlikely to occur, and the best case scenarios could open up new opportunities.

Step 2: Separate self-worth from work

Criticism can often seem like a personal attack, but it’s critical to understand that it’s an attack on our work, not our identity, or self-worth. If we can disassociate those two, we’ll be better equipped to receive criticism and use it constructively.

One way to do this is to practice mindfulness. Meditation, for example, can help us connect to our values and inner-self, and in turn, facilitate separating self-worth from external judgment.

Step 3: Manage external criticism

While criticism is inevitable, it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Criticism often offers an opportunity for growth and self-reflection.

Instead of treating criticism as an obstacle to work around, embrace it and use it to improve. You can manage external criticism while still allowing yourself to be open to feedback.

Invite feedback from trusted peers and mentors who can offer constructive criticism. Work to build vulnerability and openness to suggestions and feedback, and communicate your willingness to improve.

Step 4: Embrace judgment

It’s important to embrace judgment and external scrutiny. If you want to achieve excellence in your work, you must accept that others will have opinions and preferences.

Criticism can highlight areas of growth, and when embraced, can help inspire innovation, creativity, and motivation. In his book ‘Linchpin’, Seth Godin argues that people who dare to be different often face harsh criticism.

He encourages us to ignore critics and become remarkable by doing what we love and are passionate about.

Benefits of Taking Risks

Taking risks is an essential ingredient for success. However, taking risks requires a shift in mindset and a willingness to leave the safety of our comfort zones.

Here are the benefits of taking risks:

Marie Forleo’s advice on taking risks. Marie Forleo, a successful entrepreneur, encourages people to embrace new opportunities by pushing beyond their comfort zone.

She suggests that taking risks opens up possibilities that may never have been realized if we remain stagnant. In her words, “risk is the price you pay for opportunity.”

Rohan Gunatillake’s perspective on risk-taking

Rohan Gunatillake, the founder of mindfulness app ‘Buddhify’ advises that we must take the same level of care and attention to both our personal and professional lives.

Gunatillake believes that mindfulness and being comfortable with uncertainty are key components to being open to taking risks. Bren Brown’s view on vulnerability

The renowned vulnerability researcher, Bren Brown, encourages us to view vulnerability as an essential quality for success.

Brown believes that taking risks requires vulnerability, and that through this vulnerability, we can create a deeper connection with ourselves, our work, and our relationships. Seth Godin’s thoughts on being remarkable

Seth Godin believes that taking risks is a necessary part of being remarkable.

He encourages people to pursue their passions and not worry about criticism. Being remarkable requires that we’re willing to take risks and set ourselves apart from the crowd.

Godin argues that those who choose to be different, often face harsh criticism, but this criticism is often a sign that we’re on the right path.


The fear of criticism is a natural human response, but it doesn’t need to consume you. With the right mindset and practices, you can face criticism constructively and use it to grow and improve on your work.

Taking risks and embracing vulnerability, while scary, is critical for achieving success. By following the advice of experts like Marie Forleo, Rohan Gunatillake, Bren Brown, and Seth Godin, you can push beyond your comfort zone and achieve remarkable success in your personal and professional life.

In conclusion, the fear of criticism can be a significant barrier to personal and professional growth, so it’s crucial to learn how to manage it. The four steps outlined in this article, which include considering the worst-case scenario, separating self-worth from work, managing external criticism, and embracing judgment, enable us to better navigate through criticism.

Taking risks and embracing vulnerability are also essential components for success. By following the advice of experts like Marie Forleo, Rohan Gunatillake, Bren Brown, and Seth Godin, we can challenge ourselves, push beyond our comfort zones, and ultimately achieve remarkable success.

It is important to keep in mind that criticism is an opportunity for growth and should be embraced.

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