Do you ever hesitate before hitting the real (or metaphorical) send button on something you know will put you smack in the bulls-eye for criticism?
Maybe it’s a risky new program that is a big dream of yours, a controversial blog post or even a push-back to a client who’s gone down the rabbit hole.
There is that inhale where you pause—for a moment or a few days—thinking that you’d be better off staying silent. Playing small.
So you don’t send it. Or you water it down. You talk yourself right out of a big moment.
It’s happened to all of us, myself included.
So when I watched ex-Cowboy Drew Pearson make his announcement at the NFL Draft this weekend, I had to make sure you saw his moment (even if you detest football). Because you will never—and I do mean NEVER—look at trolls the same way again.
If you’re not a football fan, let me explain it this way. The Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles HATE each other. It’s a long, storied rivalry. This NFL Draft was in Philly with oh, maybe 60,000+ Eagles fans in the audience. You can see a tiny spot of Cowboys fans—maybe a couple handfuls—in a sea of Eagles green.
For you and me, that’s the equivalent of standing—live and in person—in front of everyone who’s ever said that our ideas were stupid, that we didn’t have the right degrees or pedigree, that our hair/height/gender/weight/race/religion/orientation was wrong—aka every troll that’s ever crossed our path.
Pearson didn’t just ignore the boos and the catcalls—he EMBRACED them. Leaned into it like it was a shower of deep compliments—he even thanked the Eagles fans for giving him a career.
He had game.
He had swagger.
He embraced his trolls.
And so can you.
Because how cool is it to have trolls anyway? It means you’re putting yourself out there, sharing ideas, annoying a few people who have nothing better to do than drag you down.
Of course not everyone is going to love you—and maybe even a wide swath of the population will hate you (die-hard sports fans are the perfect example).
And really, how fabulous is that? Because no matter how many trolls you’ve attracted, you have a pocket—maybe like that little speck of cheering Cowboy blue—who are applauding you and the difference you’re making to your audience.
Focus on THAT.
The next time I come face-to-face with a troll (or get slapped by one in social media), I’m going with Drew Pearson. A mega-watt smile, arms waving and a big ole’ thank you on my lips.
I’m getting my swagger on…who’s in?
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