First Rule of "Hate" Club
When you put yourself “out there” in any capacity – be it in business, politics, or your own beautifully unique personality – you will undoubtedly acquire both “fans” and “foes”.
When I say “fans”, I don’t mean people who pass out when you pick up a guitar. I describe “fans” as friendly voices who enjoy what you say and do most of the time, or at least have a respect for what you do and how you do it. Fans include those who will participate in the conversation and, while they needn’t agree with you 100% of the time, when they do challenge you, they do so in a respectful, intelligent and/or playful way.
A foe, on the other hand, is not that. Foes are invariably insecure about some aspect of themselves, and therefore wear their jealousy in the form of hateful, spiteful commentary, and/or general assholery. You know who I’m talking about. Foes will make every effort to get a leg up by knocking you down and using your head as stepstool.
I speak from experience when I say, fans are a lot more fun.
I speak with even greater experience when I say, haters gonna hate.
It took me quite a while to settle into a method for dealing with haters. In the beginning of my career, whenever I got bit, I bit back – only harder, and more ferociously than probably was necessary. My young, scrappy instinct was along the lines of, “You can start it, but I’m ending it.” Hence, you scratch me, I’ma gonna cut-chu.
Over time, that became exhausting, mostly because when you give haters your attention, they like it and come back for more. Even when you think you’ve huffed, and puffed, and blown their house down, you haven’t. You cannot stop a hater because the problem is THEIRS. It’s inside them, not you. Once they realize they can’t stab you in the front – you guessed it – they stab you in the back. Personally, I’d rather see the blows coming. At least that way, you can duck and weave.
Most of my haters are people I’ve never met, but occasionally, a colleague will lose his or her mind, grab my pant leg, and pull.
It’s been a while, thankfully, but it happened just yesterday. In all candor, I shouldn’t describe this person as a colleague, but rather a competitor – a grown-up lawyer and business owner trying to carve out a living like the rest of us – made a derogatory comment about me on a social media page that I control.
First rule of “hate club” – there ARE rules. If you’re gonna snipe effectively, do it where I can’t delete it.
As they say, you can take the girl out of the scrap, but you can’t take the scrap outta the girl. Instantly, I found myself cracking my knuckles over my laptop like Beethoven over his piano. There I was, mid-pounce with my pretty pink manicure hovering and begging my brain to, “Lemme at him!!!” I mean c’mon. Obviously, I love words.
I smartly retracted my claws. Instead of stopping, dropping and rolling, I stopped, deleted and blocked.
I also smiled a little bit at the realization I had just won a fight I didn’t know I was in, without fighting at all.
And that’s my message to you. Whatever it is you want to do, be or have, it will not happen if you allow others to drown you in THEIR shit pool.
To be successful at whatever your heart compels you to do, you need a strategy for dealing with haters. But here’s the good news. Haters are a sign you are doing something RIGHT. Haters are to successful people, as rodents are to sunflowers. They’ll try to eat all the pretty petals when you’re not looking. All that means is you have a really juicy, enviable, awesome sunflower on your hands. Grow it. Protect it. Nurture it. Nothing is a better rat repellent, than your continued success. Keep that in mind, and pretty soon you’ll have the biggest, bad-assiest, rat-proof-iest “sunflowers” on the block.