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PIA Pamela

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 1.12.43 AMI just finished Brene Brown’s* new book, Rising Strong.  It was good, and important for those of us who are doing big scary things in the middle of the arena, with blood, sweat and dirt on our faces. Totally get it and agree with it (even though, I’m not as nice or forgiving as Dr. Brown is…I’m working on it; I’m definitely not there.)

But, I want to discuss the cheap seats in the back of the arena. You know, the seats where the critics and haters sit. The seats where the Pamelas of the world sit.

If you haven’t yet read the book, I don’t want to ruin all of it for you, but I do want to discuss Pamela. She’s a PIA that appears in one of Brene’s stories and shoves her way up to her at an event to right hook her without any jabs (that’s a @Garyvee-ism) with an ask on something, super obnoxious-style, when Brene’s trying to be in her zone for speaking, and like me, is hyper-introverted to begin with–a combo that is hard on one’s stomach.

Anyway, Pamela writes Brene a follow up note and corrects her pronunciation of another person Brene spoke of at the event. Brene was pissed. I don’t blame her. I would be too. And, I probably would have done exactly what Dr. B did in the book as well, with the exception of perhaps sending reply all…(I’ll admit it, I’m not as highly evolved as Brene is, especially when it comes to criticism from the cheap seats in the back.) In fact, I probably would have asked Pamela how many keynotes she’s given and books she’s written in reply too.

My point: We all have Pamelas in our lives. The haters, the annoying, the always-corrective-perfect people who hand over their opinions freely without being asked for it are always going to be there if you’re doing anything remotely new/creative/different or interesting. I’m not going to sugar coat this either – it’s flat out annoying. The petty person in me always wants to invite the critic sitting in the cheap seats in the back to come up on stage and show the rest of us how it is done. But then, before I go and do that, I pause and remember–it’s always easier to criticize than create. Always. And, the more success you have, the more Pamelas you get.  It’s like the universe wants you to be awesome–but not TOO awesome. So, the universe’s method for checking you is handing you more Pamelas. It’s a test of your awesomeness–and ONLY a test.

What do I do with Pamelas? Welp, as I’ve shared here before, I nod my head and listen while they are critiquing my original work (again, unsolicited), then, I let it go out the other ear. Doing NOTHING with their unsolicited criticism is the BEST thing to do. And, as Dr. Brown says, make sure you stop it from leaving your other ear canal if the critic matters to you–if they are an important part of your life–if you value their opinions. The close people to me in my life that matter I can count on one hand, and I don’t even need all my fingers to do it.

After all, ultimately, Pamela’s criticism of you is not about you. It’s about Pamela. And even though she may be clean in the arena, and her face isn’t in the dirt–she will never rise strong while she’s keeping you down. Pamelas never get to Act III or even Act II; they are too busy in Act I shredding everyone else to get dirty by daring to create, and willing to get their own dupas kicked.

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*I can’t get the accent to appear above the last e in Brene’s name in wordpress. Sorry, Dr. Brown, if you’re reading this!

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