Self Criticism: How Much is Enough?

December 13, 2017 by Jordan Nelson

Last week, I wrote an article about taking on an event last minute that in retrospect I felt I shouldn’t have taken. Surprisingly, the comments section for the article took a direction I didn’t originally anticipate and exploded with comments insisting that I was being to hard on myself.

But was I?

It’s hard to define the exact place where our self criticism crosses the line into beating ourselves up. For every person that line may be in a different place, but the line exists for everyone. We will all have times where our behavior, actions, or performance don’t quite measure up to our internal standards. For me, my wedding two weekends ago was one of those moments. While I chose to use that experience to learn and grow, many felt that my assessment of my performance was simply too harsh. To those who felt that way I ask “Who knows myself better than I?”

Each of you reading this has undoubtedly had a wedding that fizzled out slowly, a sales call you didn’t book after an hour on the phone, or a consultation that lacked a spark. Our knee jerk reaction after those situations is to blame the situation, followed quickly by criticizing ourselves. The next step, however, should be an honest moment of reflection.

What went wrong in that situation? How could I have spoken, acted, or performed differently to improve that moment? What did I fail to do that can be avoided in the future?

There is no shame or wrongdoing in criticizing ourselves; it’s necessary in recognizing our flaws. “There’s no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone,” is a phrase I live by, and telling ourselves that everything is peachy when we know we messed up does nothing to help us improve. The danger, however, comes in spending all of our time criticizing and dwelling on our mistakes. There is a lesson to be learned in every situation and we should move from mourning our mistake to planning our next step as swiftly as possible. While many viewed it as such, my previous article was not about piling blame and shame upon myself; it was the result of an honest critique and a determination to change. Sure, there were things that were out of my control (which aren’t worthy of our concern) but there were also a handful of things I did have control over that could have altered the outcome.

Always be kind to yourselves, but also be willing to face your mistakes and look for ways to improve continually.

Jordan Nelson Jordan Nelson (58 Posts)

Jordan Nelson is the owner of SLC Mobile DJ in Salt Lake City, UT. A native of the tiny southern Utah town of St. George, Jordan began his mobile DJ journey as a junior in high school. After traveling to Salt Lake to attend the University of Utah, Jordan completely revamped his business and invested heavily in sales and master of ceremonies training, turning his $400/event company into a $1,500/event company in under a year at 22 years old. Jordan developed a strong passion for lighting and lighting programming during his early DJ years and has written 2 books for mobile DJs on the subjects. When he is not spending his weekends at weddings and events, you can find him at the local gun range or hiking with his beautiful wife.


Filed Under: DJing Weddings, Mobile DJ Business