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Life Lessons Learned from a Year in Business, Part Three and Giveaway Announced!

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The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.  ~Norman Vincent Peale

This is the first item that someone gave me criticism on. They loved the design, but found the description a tad bit misleading. In my description, I listed one of the stones as only "New Jade". The stone is referred to as "New Jade", but it is actually a type of serpentine stone. After I accepted the criticism and realized that it was not a personal attack, but kind and helpful criticism, I decided that they were right. I now include in my description that "New Jade" is actually a Serpentine Stone. This description is more honest and represents the piece fully.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body.
It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
~Winston Churchill

For the third week in my “Life Lessons Learned from a Year in business” I want to talk briefly about criticism.  This is the hardest lesson that I’ve learned over this past year, and probably the most important. (p.s.  I’m still working on this and probably will be for the rest of my life.)  In business as well as in life, you will encounter criticism.  Accept it.  Does accepting criticism mean change everything? Does it mean that you should give up?  You’re no good?  NO.

Accepting criticism means listening openly, asking questions and thanking the person for being open with you.  Then, weigh the criticism and  depending on its weight decide if action needs to be taken.  Actions taken might extend from a large overhaul, to a little tweaking, to no changes at all.

Accepting criticism is something that I have been fairly poor at for most of my life.  If you don’t know me all that well, you might not know that my degree is in music, specifically Vocal Music.  My husband will be glad to tell you how ridiculous I am about practicing.  I avoid practicing in front of people, even him, because they might think something bad or… heaven forbid, say something critical of my singing.  I’ve yet to overcome that with my singing… and my fears don’t stop there.  Most of the time I won’t even exercise or cook or dance in front of people (including my husband) because I’m too scared of criticism.

I did, however, take a big step in my business toward putting myself in criticisms’ path.  My husband and I live in an apartment building that is specifically for artists and musicians.  We have a great community room in which artists can display their work, have get togethers and meetings, etc.  I decided a few months ago that I would like to encourage people in the building to work on their respective art in the community room together.  On most Fridays, sometimes by myself, and sometimes with others, I have worked in this common space.  More than anything this has allowed me to get over the fright of creating in front of others.  Although I haven’t specifically received any criticism in this situation, I have received suggestions and criticism throughout my year in business.  I am hoping that working with others in this situation will help us to respect each other enough to offer and accept criticism openly.  This type of collaboration can only lead to good.

I find that most of the time, criticism is meant to help.  It generally comes from respect.  If no one is offering you criticism, then you might want to question whether you are actually doing anything.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. ~Elbert Hubbard

And now on to the really exciting news… head over to to learn more about McCloud Designs first giveaway.  The giveaway is actually taking place on my Facebook page, but all the details about the prize and the winner can be found here.

8 responses »

  1. This is amazing!!!!!!!!!! Period

  2. So, true-thank you for the insight into owning your own business! I am enjoying these blogs very much. Love you

  3. Great advice:) thank you for sharing your journey!

  4. Criticism is hard to take, but you have to remember that you are being given great advice!!

    Your the Handmade Wednesday BLOG co-host this week! Check your email shortly for instructions if you want to link-up on your blog!


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