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New presentation: How to overcome critics & build a powerful support system

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I got a huge response to my previous post about dealing with critics. They come in all shapes and sizes, and the most formidable critics never attack head-on. Instead, they say things like “Are you sure about that?” or “I’m just worried about you…”

So I wanted to go into more depth to go beyond just “handling” critics — and go into the deeper area of building a POSITIVE support system.

This week, I’m giving a live presentation on How to Overcome Critics and Build a Powerful Support System this Wednesday night.

You’ll learn:

  • The subtle ways critics cut people down
  • Unconventional ways to handle critics (beyond just ignoring them)
  • How to build a positive support system of people who WANT to help you and hold you accountable

This event is online and free:

And, to the 5,000 people who live in Siberia, or have kids, or have a dog with a runny nose: This is live. There will be no transcript or recording. Again, for the illiterate people who are not reading this and will email me anyway — I said sorry but no, I will not record this.


Register for the webinar here:


P.S. Once you register, leave a comment and share:

  1. A subtle way that someone close to you gave you unsolicited, negative feedback
  2. What it would mean to have a POSITIVE support system around you, who would constantly hold you accountable, support you, and wouldn’t let you fail.
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  1. Actually, Siberia would be a fine place to be that day–it works out to 10 am the morning of 5/23. Where I am in Eastern Europe, not so easy at 6 pm. So don’t knock Siberia.

  2. When I announced that I was leaving my in-house translator position to go freelance, several people asked whether I’d be able to make enough money doing that or whether I was planning to get a part-time job as well.

  3. My work mates used to ask me not to jokingly say I was working too hard and making them look bad.

  4. 1. My grandmother is RIFE with fear. She’s actually quite crippled because of it. This weekend she ordered me to never ever leave my low-paying job as a temp. She did temp work for years and raised 3 kids, but the electricity was always turned off and she’s living hand to mouth in her retirement. I think wealth scares her, as does entrepreneurship or anything outside this box where you work your ass and just be grateful you have any menial office job (especially if you’re a woman). I don’t swallow her fears, so now I just smile politely because she’s my grandma and deserves my respect and no more anxiety than she already has. I’m earning good money freelancing now and it’s only building and building (just raised my rates last week and people are still paying!). When I do go full-time entrepreneur, I imagine Grandma will freak out, but I’ll have numbers to back up my decision and I know my family will back me and soothe her on this. The insidious thing I’m finding about subtle attacks from critics is it’s so subtle. It’s fear masquerading as love, so with relatives like my grandmother I have to be on my toes and ask myself if their words are good advice or their own issues and neuroses in clever disguise.

    2. Positive support had been critical to my success the last 6 months. I wouldn’t be freelancing if it weren’t for the support I’ve gotten at Ramit’s Brain Trust. I’m actively seeking other such supports in my daily circle as well. Positive people inspire me to stretch myself upwards and not get bogged down by failures, instead viewing them as learning experiences.

  5. This year I radically improved my diet and have lost a bunch of weight. (50lbs gone; still need to lose another 150lbs or so. Truth.)

    Pretty much everything everyone has said to me about it is a “subtle way that someone close to you gave you unsolicited, negative feedback.”

    * One person briefly noted that my skin looks better, then went on an excruciatingly in-depth tirade about all the previous problems she had noticed with my skin, ignoring all my polite requests to stop until I finally had to cut her off with “We’re not talking about this anymore.”

    * Many people scoff and roll their eyes when I tell them I have gone low-carb, grain-free, and no-sugar. Like they think it’s some kind of wacky fad diet?

    * One person said I was losing weight too fast. (Note: she is not a doctor.)

    * Typically when it comes up in conversation, it triggers the other person to go on a long ramble about all the ways they have tried to improve their health and failed.

    I try to avoid the topic as much as possible. The best way to get someone to try and drag you down is to tell them that you have lost weight (or Ramit, in your case, that you have gained weight).

    The scale and the great way I feel are all the support system I need.

    • Erika, I am on a similar diet. It’s really helped me, although I’ve never had a weight problem. But I don’t get any more awful headaches or feel exhausted all the time. I experienced that since adolescence so I really thought that it was normal and healthy to feel that way.

      I do have odd reactions from my carb-loving family. Nothing overt–just comments like “it’s okay to have carbs in moderation” or “everybody deals with sugar crashes–nothing wrong with them.” I was beginning to doubt myself this week, so I’m glad I read your comment and that you’ve experienced success with your diet.

  6. I feel like I have less of an issue with people in my life offering subtle or direct criticisms. I tend not to open myself up to it honestly. I have a pretty loud inner-critic and spend a lot of energy fighting with that and probably abiding internal scripts about my own limitations. I think having a positive support network would be great. It might help me build confidence in my own abilities and encourage me to accept a bit more emotional and personal risk.

  7. I had a coworker who would offer his “constructive criticism” of my projects, even if it was for a project that he had no skill in. He would bring up his “concerns” to our VP about the direction I was going, often exaggerating details to make it sound like I was about to crash and burn. He also made sure to tell others how I wasn’t doing my job because I was focused on certain projects, although he would neglect to tell these people that the duties I was neglecting were actually his or another coworker’s tasks.

    He did this to several people throughout the years, although I’m not 100% positive why. I have to assume that he was threatened when anyone was excelling at a project so he would try and drag them down by being a concern troll. The sad thing was that he had as much opportunity to excel at his own work but he would rather drag people down due to his own fear of failure (I assume, he may have jsut been a major jerk.)

    Positive support wouldn’t jsut be a back pat for me. Positive support would include someone caring enough about my success that they will be honest with me, even if it’s a harsh truth. Offering a fresh perspective would help when I feel stuck.

  8. 1. I can’t think of the last time someone gave my negative feedback (though I know it’s happened plenty), but I can give an account of the last time *I* was the critic. We’re trying to encourage my uncle and his new wife to move out of our house (she wants their own place, thankfully). My uncle is *very* lazy and procrastinates constantly. I suggested several options including a condo, apartment, even townhomes. He decided to buy a house (they’re still looking). I was very critical of this decision at first, and honestly, I’m still not sure he can (or should) handle it. However, it’s his decision to make, not mine. I’ve since realized I was being an ass for being so critical and am now trying to encourage him in the right directions as far as house-buying goes.

    2. A positive support system for my uncle will hopefully mean he finds a decent house in his price range soon and moves out before the year is up. For me, it would mean keeping myself on task for all the art projects I have on my to-do list, and finding the right venue through which to sell them. And maybe even breaking even or turning a profit on them so I can keep making more projects.

  9. Friends of mine will often give me negative feedback when they scoff at the number of different projects that I have going on. I don’t think they realize that intake it personally and view it as them attacking me as my passions.

    With a positive group around me would help me yay on track with my projects since I know there are people invested in my success , even if t is just emotionally. I could turn on them for advice, like a president does to his cabinet, and I would expect them to he candid, direct, and kind while still knowing how to best communicate with me to get results.

  10. 1) As a college kid, when I get my work done and want to get to bed (relatively) early, my friends/roommates have numerous insults/derogatory remarks about my sleeping habits. They claim that since they can subsist off of 3-5 hours of sleep, then I should too!

    2) It would be awesome. I think there’s a fine line between blind support and accountability. For instance, when my workout buddy bails on me, I ask him why he missed it and he gets offended and mutters some excuse. He gets upset after I try to hold him accountable – something he told me to do when we began working out!