How to Deal with Negative Feedback

“If we are to better the future, we must disturb the present.”

As an author, I know that not everybody is going to like my book. Honest feedback helps any designer to improve their product, but that doesn’t make it any easier when somebody is plain rude. When I introduced ‘Discovering the Secrets of Business Success in Ancient Biblical Wisdom’ to an online group I attend, I was dumbfounded by a comment: “I think your book is ugly.” That’s like telling a mother her baby’s ugly!

Every creator knows you have to treat criticism like water on a duck’s back. And every entrepreneur values people’s feedback and wants to please. The question that we invariably ask is, “How to deal with negative feedback?”

I confess I was still brooding about that insensitive comment, made a few days ago, when I woke this morning. The ‘ting’ of my phone alerted me to a new message:

“Good morning Val, I hope you are keeping well. I have just read chapter 38 in your book and it is really well written. It is a very deep chapter with great reflective questions at the end.”

I messaged back to her how much I appreciated that feedback, particularly in the light of the negative comment I had received earlier in the week, from someone who hadn’t even looked past the cover.

“I’m sorry to hear that Val. It’s a challenging book because it makes us think about God and the spiritual aspect of work and life… Remember, “Become comfortable with discomfort.”

Her words reminded me of the Catherine Booth quote I had read earlier in the week,

My friend’s words intrigued me. What had been so significant to her in chapter 38? I took my copy from the shelf to re-read that section.

I had written about King Solomon, one of the wealthiest men who has ever lived. How does this chapter start? Talking about adultery!

You may be thinking: “I’m not committing adultery. Shall I skip this chapter?”
Wait a moment! What if there is a deeper and more profound message here? What is so important about this topic that it’s given such high profile? Can adultery be a metaphor when used in the context of applying Wisdom to business?

You need to read the chapter for yourself, to gain the big picture; the hidden message I discovered was about being a person of integrity.

Perennial success will develop when we live by a code of integrity – what’s going on inside us is congruent with our outer actions. Our words will reflect what is within. Being the business person we desire to be is only going to happen if we have done the inner housecleaning. We need to sweep out the dirt, clear the clutter and set things in order.

“The words of the mouth are deep waters”
Proverbs 18:4a

“Integrity is not an add-on optional extra. And when integrity guides our decisions we will like the person we see in the mirror.

We hurt ourselves when we give our time, the minutes of our lifespan, to pursuits that you don’t match our own values.”

-Anne Katherine

So, the question remains: “How to deal with negative feedback?” My answer is to listen for the grains of truth that resonate with you, even if they are uncomfortable at first, and be okay with the fact that not everyone is going to appreciate your work.

If people don’t like the word ‘biblical’ in the title of my book, or me bringing God into the picture, that’s okay. This book isn’t for everyone. It’s for those who believe
that this life is more than a physical journey. If you have read this far, I’m sure that you too have recognised there’s more to living. As Oprah Winfrey said,

We are not physical beings on a spiritual journey.
We are spiritual beings on an earthly journey.

I texted back to my colleague:

“Lol. I have just dug out my own copy of the book and read chapter 38. Oh! I need to keep aligned with the message of the book. Mind my own integrity! To me, in this time of strange and dividing the politics I sense we need to speak out regarding living with integrity.”


What influence are you going to side with – what everyone thinks you should do or what you know is your real mission?

Ryan Holiday

My book isn’t for everyone. No book is for everyone. But if you are intrigued, I invite you to download chapter 38, and decide for yourself. After you’ve read the chapter, I’d love your feedback!

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  1. Beautifully written piece Val. It’s a wonderful achievement to write and publish a book. Well done.

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