Have you ever been criticised at work? Or felt like you disappointed people? Perhaps you have been dismissed at work, let go of, or made redundant. Either way, there has been some criticism levelled at your workplace, or disappointments that you created. That can be absolutely devastating. Such negative feedback could make you feel defeated.

I’m here to tell you that there is opportunity in those experiences. There is something that can be gained even when it feels so traumatic and so horrible. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to be said about the side effects of these experiences in terms of depression, anxiety, trauma, mental health etc. These moments can be overwhelming and spoil your whole day.

These are some things that we can do in those momentsand rest assured, there is hope for these experiences.

Detach yourself from your work

It’s really important to detach yourself from your position at work when you have these experiences. To give you an example, when I deliver workshops for people, I provide feedback forms. Inevitably, there are always going to be 1 or 2 people that are not satisfied with my work. It is really difficult to have the approval of hundreds of people, one hundred per cent of the time. While it is nice to have that, in all honesty, it doesn’t allow for you to grow and improve. You can’t grow if you get no feedback on what you can do differently or better. Negative feedback can be useful as well.

What is important for me to remember in those moments, is that I am not personally being criticized. It is my method or technique of presenting information that is being criticised. Or, it may be the quality of the content that I am making available to the people. It is not me, the person, that is being criticised. It’s the business side of me that is receiving negative feedback. You need to recognize where the criticism is coming from and detach it from you as a person. It’s about you as a worker, not you as a person. Try not to take negative feedback personally.

If you can detach from the situation, it enables you to be more objective and more mindful about what’s going on.

Reflect on what is important to you

What creates joy in your world? Is it all about money and work? If it is all about money, it leaves you with little room for other joys in your life. However, if that is the truth for you, criticism is a great opportunity for you to see if you are on the wrong path in your business or professional journey.

You can try something different and learn. But there are so many other things that bring us joy, meaning and purpose in our life. It could be our well-being, relationships, or work. Look at what it is that you place value on in your world. What sparks joy? What brings you pleasure? What leaves you gratified?

Communicate confidently

How will you assert yourself when you have been criticised? This doesn’t mean how you can be confrontational or aggressive when you receive negative feedback. Asserting yourself is about clearly communicating your wants and needs. If you can communicate these needs confidently in situations where you are being criticised, it will help you deal with the outcome – whatever they may be. In doing that, it is important that you are honest and truthful. When you lie to cover things up because you’re scared of the consequences, it only makes things worse. It never ends up being a fruitful situation.

You don’t have to tell everybody everything, but the information you do communicate needs to have an element of truth in it. You can consolidate what you want to communicate, but you must communicate with integrity. If you want people to respect you, then you need to respect them as well.

Learn from failure

The greatest gift of this experience is the lessons you take away from failure. What do these experiences teach you? Once you detach from the emotions of the experience, introspect on what it told you about yourself. What do you need to learn? What needs to be changed? Assess what worked and what did not work.

All of those things will really help you move forward. You would be surprised at the growth that you can achieve if you take on board those lessons rather than burying the pain deep down. Look at the situation objectively to get the most amount of benefit from it.

I really look forward to hearing your experiences from criticism. Have there been times where you have been heavily criticised? What did you learn from those experiences? Please leave your thoughts and comments below.


  • Learn from your experiences
  • Be truthful when you communicate
  • Understand what is important to you


  • Take criticism personally
  • Ignore the negative feelings when you are criticised
  • Lie because of the consequences

P.S. If you’d like more advice, tips and information to minimise stress and maximise time, join our Facebook tribe of Resilient Leaders – Managing Time, Stress & Wellbeing

Listen to the Podcast here

About the Author

Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a co-founder of The Hinwood Institute. She is the lead trainer and coach in Time Management. She is a recognized leader in Stress Management. An experienced coach, speaker, columnist and facilitator, Barbara’s work with The Hinwood Institute assists people to unclutter mess, make order from chaos, and swap the shackles of overwhelming for freedom. Barbara’s clients move from the relentless hamster wheel to waking inspired, motivated, making decisions with purpose and achieving peak performance.

She lives in the desert of Alice Springs, Australia working with people around the country.

Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships

How well do you roll with the punches?

Discover how you score against key resilence indicators and increase your ability to minimise stress, maximise time, live well and roll with the punches.


How it works:

  • Answer 25 simple questions
  • Generate results instantlyA
  • Receive feedback to enhance your score