Lead Through Sideline Criticism

Lead Through Sideline Criticism

If you’ve ever created anything, led anything, done anything worthwhile, consider this quote:

“It’s not the critic who counts. It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled. Credit belongs to the man who really was in the arena, his face marred by dust, sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs to come short and short again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. It is the man who actually strives to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasm and knows the great devotion, who spends himself on a worthy cause, who at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement. And, who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and cruel souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” (Theodore Roosevelt)

Overwhelming dude language aside, President Roosevelt was 100% on point. There will ALWAYS be sideline critics, contrary voices of people who are not in the game at all. When you’re not in the game, you have tons of free time to pick apart the work of those who are. If you’re battling these voices, don’t let fear of what they might say or do keep you from putting it all on the line everyday. Don’t allow yourself to be consumed by desires to please sideline critics. Instead, refocus on the assignment before you. Dare greatly and be willing to fail on the way to success. When all else fails, dare to turn to these critics and invite them into the game. The best way to silence a lazy critic is to invite them to join you in doing what needs to be done. Chances are that they will decline and soon disappear. Then, you can get back to work and turn your attention back to the people (and things) that really matter!

Question: What advice would you give a person who is struggling because of sideline critics? 

5 comments

  1. Suzanne Kpowulu

    you will never make everyone happy….and there will always be drama – fulfill your calling and answer to God.

  2. Susan Edwards

    My advice would be to suggest they read this post. Thank you for these words, Edrin.

  3. Andrew Langbehn

    My advice would be to have a group of people who know and love you, and give this group space to provide critical assessment of your work. That way, you can be open to safe critique and not be a lone ranger without accountability. It also has the added benefit of being dismissive of sideline critics while holding integrity of being accountable to others. Love inviting them into the game point!

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