When thinking about protecting yourself from other people’s words, the first thing that might enter your mind is criticism or feedback. Criticism is being externally thrust upon you by critics—either professional or merely haters—and feedback is being requested from others and received by you. At least, that’s how I differentiate between the two. It can be challenging to open yourself up to criticism and feedback, it is a necessary skill, but that’s not what I mean by protection from the words of others. I mean those moments when people treat you as a commodity, a demographic, or a willing audience member to spread their ideas. In these moments, words can do the most damage when an element of control is in play, so I will share a few ways to protect yourself and your creative spirit.
Scenario 1: When casual conversation is dominated by a person—usually an extrovert—to showcase that person’s unique business value proposition and how they can make your project better, thus sowing doubt in your mind about what you’ve already been doing successfully for years.
- Protection Questions: What part of my creative process needs to be reexamined in light of this person’s words? Would my current audience benefit from this change?
Scenario 2: When keynote speakers assume everyone in the audience is on the same level of expertise and say, “You’re doing it wrong, you have to be doing it differently.”
- Protection Question: How do I measure success and growth?
Scenario 3: When a person of significance presents from a position of competition, cynicism, and disdain for the audience.
- Protection Question: What do I want to feel on the other side of this exchange? How am I going to take this negative fuel and turn it into something positive?
Scenario 4: When we accept the practice of using qualifiers to label our experience.
- Protection Question: What qualifier am I tempted to use and why?
Scenario 5: Clickbait captures the eyes, but never the soul.
- Protection Question: What words are drawing me deeper in reflection?
Scenario 6: Protection Questions from my own words in this episode.
- Protection Questions: What questions came to mind for you as you listened to this episode? What words were positive for you? Which words were negative triggers? How will you use this information? What do you want to remember? What do you want to forget?