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“Don’t let people’s compliments go to your head, and don’t let people’s criticisms go to your heart”

Lysa TerKeurst

In order to be successful as an artist you will have to get comfortable with being visible. 

However, putting yourself out there doesn’t come easy for everyone. 

Often fear of rejection and criticism is at the root of this. Fear that our music will get rejected, fear that we will be criticised for promoting ourselves, fear to be judged for our appearance, etc.

Sound familiar? Well, I can assure you, you are not the only artist struggling with this. We are creative, often sensitive, beings. For us it can be extra hard to deal with criticism and rejection, simply because what we create comes from within us. We tend to be emotionally invested in our work because we put a lot of ourselves into our craft. 

So when someone rejects our music, it feels as if they are rejecting us. 

The truth of the matter is: rejection and criticism are part of life, and quite frankly, they come with the job! If you want to turn your music into a career, you have to be willing to become visible and put yourself out there nonetheless.

However, this doesn’t mean it has to be a constant struggle. Here are some mindset shifts to help you deal with criticism and overcome your visibility fears.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

The good news is: criticism won’t kill you! In fact, if you adopt the right mindset it can even help you grow and further your career.

Don’t take it personally

Accept that you will experience rejection and criticism sooner or later, but don’t take it personally! At the end of the day it is just an opinion. It doesn’t mean your music is bad, it doesn’t mean there is no potential or that you don’t have talent. And it definitely doesn’t say anything about your value as a person. 

Eat rejection for breakfast

Accept that it comes with the job and that you can’t please everyone. Nor should you want to. If you try to be everything to everyone you’ll end up being nothing to no one. 

Rejection is redirection

A few years ago me and my writing partner at the time wrote and recorded a topline for a big act in the Trance scene. Unfortunately they decided it wasn’t what they were looking for. Even though I didn’t take it personally and understood that it just didn’t fit the musical direction they wanted to go in, I definitely felt disappointed.

A few months later we came across this producer called Photographer and I was blown away by his sound. In my eyes his powerful sound and my full on vocals were a perfect fit. So we sent him the rejected topline and when he sent it back with his production I couldn’t believe how amazing it sounded. That track – Find A Way – became a huge hit and it is still one of my favourites till this day.

Through this experience I learned a beautiful lesson. One that Marylin Monroe already understood a long time ago when she said “Sometimes good things fall apart, so that better things can fall together”.

In other words, do not despair when your music gets rejected or an opportunity falls through, life may have something better in store for you.

Adopt a growth mindset

Yes, criticism is uncomfortable. But not all criticism is bad. Feedback and constructive criticism can be an opportunity to learn and grow. 

This is how I deal with criticism – or at least I try, I am only human too ;). 

I ask myself:

Is the feedback well intended?

Is it coming from someone I respect and whose opinion I value?

Do I agree to some extent with their comments?

If the answer to these three questions is yes, then I will take it on board and explore how I can improve. If the answer is no, I move on knowing that I can’t please everyone.

Be you

Another reason why artists fear becoming visible, is because they think they have to be someone they’re not. That in order to be successful you have to look a certain way, talk a certain way, be a certain way etc. That their real self will be rejected.

But if there is one thing I’ve learned through the years it’s that there is a place for everyone. Especially online. No matter what your interests are, no matter what subculture you identify with, no matter how you look or sound, you will be able to find people out there who resonate with you. 

So please don’t be afraid to be yourself, to do things your way, to experiment with different sounds etc. 

Let go of the fear that the real you will be rejected. When you are your authentic self you will attract the right audience for your music: your own tribe of die hard fans who love you for being you.

It is time!

Don’t let fear of criticism hold you back any longer. It is time to embrace who you are, step out of your comfort zone, stop playing small and start smashing your music career! 🙂

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