Have you been hated on lately? If you’re successful, whether in the corporate or entrepreneurial worlds (and throw in female for good measure), you’ve certainly come across your fair share of haters—I know I have.
According to the urban dictionary, a “hater” is defined as “a person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.”
At first, it bothered me. I was used to being liked and having a lot of work friends. I had a lot of friends outside the office, but somehow, as soon as I hit certain milestones (promotion, awards, press) I lost friends. I saw the eye-rolls. I heard the whispers in the hallways.
What I’ve decided is that it’s Murphy’s Law: the more successful you are, the more haters you’ll have. (Just ask anyone in Hollywood.)
I thought maybe things would get better as an entrepreneur, but they didn’t. The potential for success is magnified when you have your own business (as is your risk), and the haters follow suit. The more successful your business becomes, the more they hate; the more you fall (or fail), the happier they are. (Schadenfreude, anyone?)
Over the years, I’ve learned that you can either let the haters get to you or you can let them fuel you. I’ve decided on the latter.
I was recently pitching my new business, The Bullet, to a journalist at one of Canada’s largest publications. My pitch had a lot to do with the future of news, and why I think The Bullet’s so important, but it also had a lot to do with my past ventures and my experience as an entrepreneur. I was willing to share what I’ve learned over the years and how I manage to do it all (and let’s be honest: I don’t do it all perfectly, but co-parenting and running two businesses is no walk in the park). Instead of the journalist simply saying that the story wasn’t a fit, they asked my PR rep why they should cover the Bullet or me, when “sweetspot.ca isn’t even around anymore.”
You can imagine how I felt when I got that feedback. Not only was it totally irrelevant to the current pitch, but it doesn’t have very much to do with me as a businesswoman. (FYI, journalist: sweetspot.ca was incredibly successful until I sold it to Rogers. But that’s another story.)
That misinformed journalist reminded me that there are always going to be people out there who seek out the negative; those who don’t support you, who will never support you, and in fact, may even go out of their way to knock you down a peg or two. It’s happened to me, and it’s happened to so many of the women I work with. The key is this: you have to realize that the better you are at your job, the harder you work, the more successful you become, the bigger your hate club is going to get.
The first time you experience it, you might want to cry (well, you probably will cry); you might want to stop speaking up in meetings; you may be afraid to make that next call.
But you have to fight it.
Your hate club wants to see you do all those things. They want you to fail. So the best thing you can do is succeed: work harder; speak up more often; continue down your path. Show them that their words will only fuel your fire, and maybe then, they’ll sit down and shut up.