CeCe Marizu, Account Executive 

People across the globe are glued to their television sets, live feeds on the Internet, and any form of social media that reveals the results of the Summer Olympic Games.  Along with the cheers and tweets of excitement come the critics.  You know who you are. 

You’ve been watching the swim competitions wondering why Michael Phelps isn’t winning gold every swim or why Ryan Lochte didn’t secure the gold on the 4×100 freestyle relay.  There’s so much more to a race than the “I watch swimming only every four years fan” realizes. 

The truth is that an athlete has dealt with the critics their whole life.  For most it started with the nagging parent that gave their whole perspective after every race or game.  Then it progresses to the coach who can find a big or small detail to work on every practice.  As an athlete gets older their teammates also find ways of critiquing certain aspects of a performance.  And then for those that make it to the biggest stage come the ultimate critics.  They are the critics that can find something wrong with the near perfect performance. They’re the critics that haven’t seen the practices or hard work and think they can perform better than the athlete. They’re the people in the stands, behind the TV sets, on their computers, and behind microphones that provide the motivation to keep working harder.

In any aspect of life you have to learn to take criticism.  If an athlete can take the criticism from the fans that don’t even understand their sport, you should be able to take criticism from people in your career.  An athlete takes the criticism and uses it as an incentive to get better.  At work if you’re willing to take that constructive criticism you’ll be a step ahead of other people in your field and develop tougher skin along the way.  My father would always tell me to listen to what people had to tell me and take it constructively, respect everyone from the bottom to the top, practice patience, and work hard even on the most difficult days.

In the case of work, if you aren’t spending the extra time on a project or client someone else will.  If you work on an assignment and another co-worker finds a mistake and informs you, correct it without thinking they did it to make you look bad.  I have learned that the people who want to see you succeed the most are the people who take the time to call out the mistakes.  Mistakes are the portals to success as long as you don’t make the same mistake over and over.  The key is to learn from them and pay closer attention to detail.  I’ve been told countless times that attention to detail is crucial.  Like an athlete fine-tuning their biggest strengths and weaknesses, a professional worker should fine-tune the details they think they’ve perfected to the details that need the most improvement.  

Now I know you may still watch the Olympics thinking you could swim better than some of the athletes, but someone is probably also thinking they could outperform you on your own job too.  Are you ready for that competition?  Are you ready for the criticism?  You may think you’re the Michael Phelps of your office, and in that case you have a target on your back.