How to respond to your haters

 “This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of.  I can’t believe you have sold books on it.”

I had a radio interview on Wednesday. Evidently, a stranger listened in and felt the need to email me his thoughts. I guess in his mind, my content is stupid. In fact, according to his 2 sentence email, it’s the stupidest content he’s ever heard of.

  • Imagine this email arrived in your inbox.
  • Imagine this email referenced a book you wrote. 
  • Imagine your book shared your story in a vulnerable and personal way. 

Reread those words and let them sink in S-L-O-W-L-Y.

 “This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of.  I can’t believe you have sold books on it.”

How would you respond to this criticism?

Your response reveals your current level of awareness

I’m not going to lie. When I first started speaking and writing ten years ago, comments like this would rip me open:

  • They’d stick with me for days, weeks, and months.
  • They’d make me write back lengthy replies and defend myself.
  • They’d fire me up and cause me to take on martyr’s posture. 

But now, I just smile—sincerely. My perspective has since changed. I’ve learned if you put your message out there, then be prepared to get a few haters. And when you do, REJOICE. Here’s why:

  • Your message connected.
  • Your message was clear.
  • Your message was critiqued.

Criticism isn’t your biggest problem, obscurity is. (Tweet This Share on Facebook  or Google Plus | Post on LinkedIn).

Remember, if haters spent the time to communicate their criticism, then your message connected with them. It also found its way above the  5,000 other messages that confronted them that day. Chalk this up as a win. Although you’re goal isn’t criticism, when you get noticed because your content legitimately caused a reaction, then celebrate.

You can rush to defend or clarify, but do you want to? Is that your calling? You can spend bundles of “sideways energy” and accomplish nothing more than being distracted from advancing your mission.


  1. When I get comments from haters I READ them.
  2. I then REFLECT. “Is there any truth to what they’re saying? Can I grow and get better?”
  3. If helpful, I REALIGN and then keep advancing.
  4. But if their comments are untruths, I REJECT them and keep focused on the real goal in front of me—Igniting Souls.

Remember, not all comments come from True Friends. According to Michael Hyatt, you also have Honest Critics and Unhealthy Trolls.

Compliments and criticism both mean you connected

This week I also received a compliment:

Before starting THE DEEPER PATH, I was full of excitement, passion, and courage contained in a jar… like one saves pennies for a rainy day. As I walk the path of my journey, I have been able to open that jar and start using those talents. The results are evident. I walk different, feel more confident and aware, my vocabulary has changed, some say that I have physically changed. Thank you Kary for sharing your talents and thank you to this wonderful tribe  for supporting one another as we continue igniting our souls on fire.

Although comments like this lift me up, I don’t let them distract me either. I celebrate them, but they’re not the goal. Compliments can sideline you just as much as criticism. If you have lovers and if you have haters, rejoice that your message is connecting.

With your message in mind, remember connection is what you’re after. Not compliments or criticism.


QUESTION: How do you respond to haters?

(Please comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. And if you know someone who needs to read this, please encourage them by sharing this post)

  • Daniel Evans says:


    As you know, one of the questions asked during the marketing phase of a newly published book is what would be your response to criticism concerning your book. The author can write whatever he desires. However, the proof is in the pudding of reality. You have passed the test by taking criticism and creating a lesson for others to learn. You are a great leader and set a positive example for many. It is no surprise that your tribe is increasing and your content continuously changes. You actually use life’s lessons to teach others. That is much better than using every lesson to write a new book. Although, a new book would not be bad either. Blessings upon you for much success!

    Continue igniting souls! Jesus faced similar critics.

    Daniel Evans

  • Johanna says:

    Connect…what a beautiful word. To bring together in order to establish a link. Yes! When I think about haters, connection is the perfect word to describe the moment. I define haters as the individuals reaching out for a moment of connection. Some become curious and courageous and will chart their course for growth. Others will never find the valor. Haters will always be on the sidelines, some just cause but others because are desperately seeking clarity. The most productive thing one can do is continue forward. No distractions. Keep focused on the melody line and continue writing the notes on your opus!

  • KimG says:

    A wise perspective and a must read for speakers, writers and leaders!

  • Ron Tester says:

    I like your perspective. It seems the writer of the email you received has issues of his own. Poor guy.

  • Kimunya Mugo says:

    Kary, we get these ‘distractions’ all the time. What is always at the top of my mind is that everyone is entitled to an opinion. There is nothing much I can do about that. However, what is most critical is my response to that opinion. I can choose for it to affect me (stall my progress) or effect me (inspire towards becoming a better leader). I just quit my job this month and many are approaching my wife and asking, “How are you guys going to survive?” What they don’t understand is that we are now living our dream, what we were called to be, and above all, responding to someone greater than ourselves… our Maker. With that as my prism to what I do, the criticism becomes just but a speed hump on the road. The journey continues…

  • Kary, as you know, it’s the fear of hearing this type of statement that prevents some people from pursuing a dream; and you know I was one of them. Two years ago I would have been crushed if someone had said this about my work. Now I welcome a critic by displaying confidence. Thanks for the clarity.

  • I hear you Mike. Thanks for your honesty. I was at the same place. You’ve overcome these fears…and now your impact has exploded.