Pat Flynn knows what it’s like to be criticized online, but by persevering, he has learned a few rules of engagement to help guide creators and entrepreneurs. 

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Early in his career, Pat Flynn had a very zealous hater. Everywhere his content was, there was one guy ready to be awful. Finally, hurt, bruised, and wondering if he should even continue, Pat found inspiration through a friend’s question. Why was he letting one person affect all the excellent work he was doing?

“Every second you waste thinking about the hater is a second you are taking away from the people who need you.” 

We can’t control what people will say, but we can control how we react to it. So instead of dwelling on the one nasty comment, Pat began compiling all the thank you messages he received. He still keeps a folder of these words to remind him of the value of his work when he is discouraged or ridiculed. 

But how do we respond (do we?) to those determined to be jerks on the internet? Pat recommends a few rules of engagement: 

  1. Never reactively comment. If you need to get your own emotions out, write them out and then delete them. It doesn’t need to get further than your trash can. 
  2. Listen. Most people just want to be heard. 
  3. Determine if there was a miscommunication. If so, a thoughtful, gracious response can go a long way. 
  4. Understand your comfort zone. Use your time and emotional resources wisely. Give yourself permission to do the most good for the most people, whatever that looks like for you.  
  5. Take care of yourself behind the scenes. Protect your mental health and have people around you to lift you up when you need it. 

Creators and entrepreneurs of all kinds will face obstacles that will make them want to quit. Whether you are encountering resistance as you scale up, facing imposter syndrome, or struggling to reach your big goals, be quick to celebrate the small wins and fire the haters along the way. 

Find more tips from Pat Flynn through his podcasts, books, and website