For many people seeing is believing. Growing up, my grandmother who had many sayings, often used to say “I can show you better than I can tell you.” Sometimes it’s much easier to prove things by your actions instead of your words. Take Steph Curry for example, the point guard for the Golden State Warriors, recognized as the reigning back-to-back MVP of the basketball league. He made history by becoming the first player to be unanimously voted as MVP in the NBA. And whether or not he is deserving of the title has been debated by some. However, Steph chooses not to spend time talking about what he can do, but instead he shows what he can do on the court. He leads well by taking possession of the ball with remarkable court vision, cocking his wrist and shooting his signature three-pointers, thus silencing the naysayers.
Let me just say that I am no basketball aficionado, but I do know a remarkable leadership brand when I see one. Basketball, like entrepreneurship, is about success. What separates winners from losers is the ability to navigate through criticism.
Steph Curry packs a mean three point shot with the simple flick of his wrist. To lead well in business, you must know your value and deliver it in a way that is unique to you. Even with all that he has accomplished, Steph receives a tremendous amount of criticism. So, whether you suffer an injury, set back, or you bring your “A” game, you must learn to expect criticism.
To succeed in your business, you will need a leadership brand that gives you the fortitude to maneuver and silence the voices of the naysayers. Here are a few voices that I personally, have had to contend with, and some tips on handling them:
1. Perfectionistic Paul
His voice is the one whose success requires a perfect person with an equally perfect product that is delivered flawlessly. The biggest challenge with listening to this voice is that it is counter-productive to pursue perfection because it will never happen. Perfect is a fallacy and pursuing it will keep you from fully embodying your brand, living boldly and taking the risk of getting your value out there in a much bigger way.
Although Steph Curry makes the majority of his three-pointers, he doesn’t fit the norm as his form is not perfect. But, he continues to work at the skill, flicks his wrist, takes chances and makes great things happen. It also helps that he’s a likable player who is respected by a team that believes in him and his leadership. As a result, Steph is changing the face of basketball. And even a non-basketball enthusiast like myself, is watching him play and loving it!
In your business, refuse to create the illusion that you are perfect. Instead, accept that you are perfectly imperfect, and at the same time show that you have the willingness to activate with excellence! Trust me, as someone who struggles with ADD/ADHD, I had to learn to accept this reality. Each day, your goal is to strive to become a better version of yourself than you were yesterday. You must remember that your value is good enough for those who need and want what you have to offer. And, you must believe that you can change the face of business, because you can!
Lastly, when you hear the voice of perfectionism, relax and free yourself up! It’s liberating to allow yourself not to have to have it all together. Stop allowing paralysis and fear from keeping you from creating new ideas or moving forward in pursuit of new ventures. Stop questioning your value and feeling like you will never be good enough. Face your fear head on by waking up each day, looking in the mirror and saying, “Today, I’m the complete leader and I will fail.” Then, follow it with this declaration, “Because I’m the complete leader, I will RISE UP and lead well!” So today, in spite of your imperfection, how you will activate your value knowing that it is perfect for those who are waiting to receive it?
2. Comparison Catherine
This voice is constantly reminding you that you are not good enough. Do you know this one? It tells you that there’s something missing from your game, and you don’t measure up to others. Someone once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” and they are right. This voice can keep you from enjoying who you are and seeing the value of your contribution.
Steph Curry is constantly compared to LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul, and others. Steph is significantly smaller than LeBron, who has been named MVP four times in six seasons. But Steph relies on his own mental toughness, shooting style and faith to give him what he needs to stand out and play the game in his own unique way.
In your business, make it a priority to recognize your unique promise of value. Sit down and list your features, attributes, offerings, and benefits. Then determine what makes you stand out and what your added value is. Don’t let comparison cause you to shrink back. Know your position and play your own game. Refuse to believe that you are not good enough. And, allow your leadership brand to provide you with the mental toughness that it takes to RISE UP, and be fully present, owning your unique promise of value.
3. Approval Addict Addison
Addison’s voice leaves you wanting validation, acceptance, and approval. Let’s face it, most of us crave positive feedback from others. You know what I mean, when someone pays you a compliment and it brings you that sense of elation? Why is that we have a need for external praise and approval? I believe that deep down inside, we all have an inner critic that struggles to feel secure and accepted. As a result, we sometimes doubt ourselves and our decisions.
But let’s look again at Steph and how he handles this. He has developed a mental toughness that protects him from seeking outer approval. For example, during his Junior year of college, Steph made an unpopular decision not to go into the NBA. He felt like he wasn’t ready, and he didn’t want to be defined as a backup player. Instead, he looked ahead at the big picture and chose to work on his game so that he could grow into the position that he would one day play.
While feedback is critical to the success of your brand, accept the reality that everyone won’t necessarily “get” you or approve the value you deliver. You must know your vision and keep it in front of you at all times. Lead with a presence and play your game by refusing to whine, complain or demand to be validated. Life is too short to waste time allowing criticism to break your stride or confidence. Let me tell you, you don’t need anyone else’s stamp of approval for your path. What’s most important is that your connected community gets you and the value you deliver.
So, the next time you come up against criticism – whether it comes from the negative voices in your own head or from another person – remember that your ability to be a successful and remarkable leader depends on how you handle it. As the complete leader, it’s up to you to RISE UP. Choose to own your value and lead well.
As always, I want to hear from you. How do you handle criticism in your life and business? Share by leaving a comment below!