The other day, I was sitting in FABO Cafe, talking to the owner of the cute little coffee shop that just opened in the Fall.  Amy, a former consultant, has risked everything to open this shop – she gave up her job and invested a ton of her personal worth into the business.  Amy and I were chatting about how difficult it is to be a small business owner because it seems like sometimes people only focus on the bad and not the good, even if the good is overwhelming.  I could relate to Amy because of the Husband’s small business.


The Husband has a business mantra that he repeats all the time: “A negative referral has ten times the impact of a  positive referral.”  When people find something to complain about, they complain loudly.  Rarely do they sing praises quite as loud.  It’s easy to walk into a business and find all these things that suck about it – maybe the food is a little cold, the receipt won’t print out, or the lighting in the bathroom is out – without thinking about the intense personal investment behind it.


I’ve been reflecting over the last year because tomorrow is my 27th birthday.  Year 26 was a big year for me; most notably, I published my first book.  Talk about opening yourself up to criticism!  As a writer, I can think of nothing more difficult that having other people read your work.  I know that sounds funny because I write for the public every day, but there was something so scary about people reading and ranking my first book, and I know that I’ll feel the way about my second and third books.


I imagine the way I feel about people reading my books is the way Amy feels every time she opens the door at FABO or the way the Husband feels whenever a patient steps through the door.   We all know that people’s first reaction is to look for the bad, not the good, and that makes putting ourselves out there hard.


Don’t get me wrong – I am all for constructive criticism.  I believe that, by truly listening to constructive criticism, you can shape your project into something outrageously wonderful.  Did you know that my book was rejected by a dozen publishers before it was fought over by two?  Watching my work get rejected over and over again was hard, but it made the final book stronger AND it prepared me to handle rejection in the future.   


For the last month or so, whenever I walk into a shop or open a book or read a blog or try a product, I make myself think about the person behind it.  It’s not just a shop, book, blog, or product – it’s someone’s dream.  It’s someone’s time, sweat, tears, relationships, and hopes.  There is a person behind everything we experience and critique. 


Now that I’ve fully realized this, my criticisms has become so tempered!   I’m trying to focus on being proactively kind whenever I walk into a store or open a book.  I make an effort to search for the positive in a way that I might have searched for a negative before.  And when I do have a compliant, I’m trying to first list all of the positive qualities that I noticed. 


Making the effort to be proactively kind when I might’ve otherwise criticized is really adding to my overall positive outlook, too – so it’s a win/win!  I find that now I don’t get as grumpy when small things go wrong at a business.  This attitude also made me feel more grateful and appreciative, which I think is really important.  I don’t want to charge through life like a cannonball, destroying small bits of everything I come across without even stopping to think about what I’m really damaging – another person.


Do you have a job that opens you up to criticism from your coworkers or the public?  What are your thoughts on criticism, rejection, and being proactively kind?



  • Michelle April 25, 2011, 8:08 am

    I recently started a new job and I can really relate. It’s tough because I’m still “in training” but people are really demanding.

    • Caitlin April 25, 2011, 8:10 am

      Congrats on your new job! How exciting 🙂

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 25, 2011, 8:12 am

    This is a great topic Caitlin. I work in a job where often, when people come to ask me about something, it’s because it’s gone wrong, not because things are working as they should. Although it’s certainly not as bad as I imagine being a dentist or doctor is (since the majority of people seem to dislike going to both!) it certainly has its nasty days. I’m going to remember what you’ve written about today and make a conscious effort to be proactively kind too. Like you said, there’s a real person behind everything and sometimes we forget about them!

  • Khushboo April 25, 2011, 8:12 am

    Another awesome post! Judgement goes a long way and has a lasting (and sometimes damaging) effect on how a person feels about themselves. Similarly, so do praises. I now make it a point to tell someone if I for example like their outfit or commend them on something which they have done/achieved! I know how good it makes me feel to hear these things so why not transfer the positive energy..?

  • Callie @ Callieflower Kitchen April 25, 2011, 8:14 am

    This is a great way of thinking. Getting caught up in the negatives around you is the best way to ruin your own mood, as well as hurting someone else. No one is perfect so nothing will ever be completely perfect, but that doesn’t keep it from still being awesome!

    Also, love the picture of you and Maggie on the sidebar 🙂

    • Caitlin April 25, 2011, 8:15 am

      Maggie says thanks, Callie 🙂

  • Tami April 25, 2011, 8:15 am

    this is something along the same lines…i hate getting my blood taken, who really loves it I guess…but that one gal always does a great job. i asked her for her supervisors telephone number and called her and told the supervisor that is has an excellent employee and told her all the nice things that lady has done for me over the past few years (i have hypothyroid so I get my blood taken a few times a year)

    i think people just need to be nice and thoughtful and caring towards one another.

    • Caitlin April 25, 2011, 8:16 am

      That is awesome. Way to go out of your way to make someone else feel better!

  • Mrs. Muffins April 25, 2011, 8:17 am

    Love this. I have always worked in a service job, whether waitressing, or my current job as a hairstylist. I’m always kind to my clients and I always give them my very best. Yet there’s always that person who comes in and you can tell they just WANT to find something to complain about. So not matter how amazing their service really was, they complain. It’s a breath of fresh air when people come in with the intent of being kind. When a client appreciates the time and effort that goes into every cut, I feel valued.
    Now that I’m in the process of starting a new venture (a blog) I’m nervous that it will be picked apart but if it goes well, it WILL be a dream come true and that makes it so worth it.

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine April 25, 2011, 8:24 am

    I think blogging opens you up to a LOT of criticism, and I’ve definitely learned to develop a thicker skin because of it. It’s taught me that I’m the only person I have to prove myself to, but it’s also made me realize that constructive criticism and helpful suggestions can really push me to do my best. If nothing else, criticism motivates me to work harder and be better, which is something I can apply to all areas of my life! You can’t expect everyone to like what you’re doing, but you can learn to take those negative comments and turn them into a positive thing.

  • Freya April 25, 2011, 8:26 am

    This post is so well written. I think blogging has made me realise that we DO need to look at the actual person behind the blog/business/book etc. Having a blog 100% opens you up to criticism which is tough, but only when it’s phrased bluntly. There’s nothing wrong with it if it’s constructive, and especially if it comes with a compliment too. Cos compliments make up for criticism and negativity 🙂
    But I think I’m leading to a ramble…basically I like your idea of always finding a positive thing, and being proactively kind. I think (in evolutionary terms – holyheck I’m studying too much) it’s natural to look for negatives and err on the side of caution [as it were] because it’s safer. It’s something people need to really look at in general.
    Again, I feel like I just rambled and haven’t really said anything! Maybe I’ll shush – basically I love this post, and I think you make an awesome point about needing to be proactively kind 🙂

  • Tammy Root April 25, 2011, 8:27 am

    Hi Caitlin,
    I have a job in academia. I am constantly criticized — whether it is for a paper I write, a presentation I give, or a research idea. I think going to grad school has “taught” me to be critical — that’s what we are paid to do! But, it is so against my nature, that I have a hard time dealing with the criticism and unsupportive nature of this job choice (one reason my career is changing paths!).

    Anyhow, my motto has always been, “You never know when you’re creating a memory for someone else.” Make it a positive one. 🙂

    Speaking of, I need to write a glowing review (or two) for your husband’s practice — Holistic Wellness Center of Charlotte — he is FANTASTIC and so knowledgeable!

    • Caitlin April 25, 2011, 8:28 am

      Thanks Tammy 😉 We REALLY appreciate the proactively kind comment!

  • lindsay April 25, 2011, 8:27 am

    I really love this post! 😀 I try to keep the same attitude when I enter a small business/shop/etc.

    By the way, since you’re turning 27, you’ve already lived Year 27. Tomorrow starts your 28th year! 🙂

    • Caitlin April 25, 2011, 8:28 am

      I just flew forward into the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuture!!! LOL

  • Lisa Fine April 25, 2011, 8:29 am

    Such great points, Caitlin. I sometimes find myself in a rut with getting overly critical about things, and often step back and think about how I want to focus more on the positives.

    There are so many good things in life [I often think about how my mom says how good we have it compared to so many other people in the world], that what is the point of complaining, if it isn’t going to make a difference?

  • marie April 25, 2011, 8:36 am

    I’m really glad you wrote this. (I wrote a similar post a while back:
    Bloggers have so much influence over their readers, and often I see them making the most absurd, subjective commentary about a restaurant (“the soup was bad!”), which can incite their readers to boycott (“Oh, good to know, I’ll never go there!”). Before posting a negative review I think writers should really consider whether there is any substance or value to their criticism.

    • Caitlin April 25, 2011, 8:38 am

      Loved the post you wrote!

  • Priscilla April 25, 2011, 8:42 am

    Posts like this are the reason why I have been reading your blog every day for well over a year. I don’t comment very often, but I want to say thank you!

    • Caitlin April 25, 2011, 8:47 am

      Thanks for being proactively nice Priscilla 🙂 Hehe.

  • Melanie @ Trial By Trail April 25, 2011, 8:48 am

    What an amazing post Caitlin! Thank you for reminding me to think more positively and to criticise less. I’ll make a point from now on to remember to give businesses positive reviews. It’s so easy to forget!

  • Alayna @ Thyme Bombe April 25, 2011, 8:48 am

    I love this so much! The chronic complainers in life have always been my nemesis. It may feel good for a moment to bash someone or something but it feels even better to routinely practice compassion and just plain chilling out!

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg April 25, 2011, 8:49 am

    I don’t really talk much about my job on my blog, but I do have lots of customer contact, which means that they might not always like what I do or how I do things. That opens me up for criticism on a daily basis!

  • Paige @Running Around Normal April 25, 2011, 8:52 am

    That’s such a good way to look at things! I think that when I enter a little unique shop, but really even franchises were probably someone’s dream!

  • meghan April 25, 2011, 8:54 am

    I have been reading for years but this is one of my first comments! Great post!
    I work (more of a hobby its my second job) as a group fitness instructor, after every class I get positive comments.Every once in a while I get a negative comment and it is at least 1000 times as powerful as the positive ones, I shouldn’t let it be but it is.
    The thing that bugs me the most is I have never gotten a negative comment to my face, people have complained to the club manager or on the clubs twitter page.
    I wrote a DM to the girl who complained about me on twitter about my music and asked her what she hated about it “do you hate britney spears in general or just her old school stuff i love” she never wrote back. If you are going to say something negative about someones class on twitter or otherwise I think a good rule is at least be willing to offer feadback, I spend hours putting together playlist.

    Also a great song to get over negative fead back “Mean” by Taylor Swift. She wrote it the first time she got a negative review, WAY before she ever had a record deal.

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:58 pm

      Thank you for reading for so long 🙂 I appreciate it!

  • Brittany (healthy slice) April 25, 2011, 8:55 am

    What a great post, and exactly what I needed to read today. I own a small business and somedays I just feel like it beats me down. The highs are high and the lows are low.
    I agree that it doesn’t hurt to be a little more kind than usual because everyone you meet is struggling with some kind of battle- whether it be personal, business or internal.

  • Molly @ RDexposed April 25, 2011, 8:57 am

    Never miss a chance to say a kind word. One small compliment can change a person’s entire day! And possibly your own!

  • Anne G. April 25, 2011, 9:04 am

    Thank you for this awesome reminder! It’s so easy to criticize without seeing the impact that it can have.

    My job is pretty much based on criticism. I’m a translator, but since I’m just beginning in the field, someone revises all my work. It’s hard to be criticized and have my mistakes pointed out to me all day long, but it is most definitely character forming. And I’ll remember how I feel now when one day I am the one revising the work of a young translator!!

  • Amy Levin-Epstein April 25, 2011, 9:04 am

    Yes — as a freelance writer I face rejection and success in equal amounts, and some days the scale definitely tips towards the former! Before I launched my freelance career, I was an editor, working with freelance writers, and am sure that I could have been kinder and gentler at times, as well as firmer at others. It’s a great lesson to put yourselves into your clients, managers or colleagues shoes…

  • Meryl @ Scribbled Musings April 25, 2011, 9:05 am

    I love this post and will definitely practice your advice. Since starting substitute teaching I have been criticized A LOT. And it’s usually to my face through incredibly hurtful language from students (k-12). Once I caught a student tweeting about me being a bitch for requesting she do her work and put her phone away. I also waitress and it really makes my night when diners simply tell me I’m doing well. OR even ask me how my night is. Knowing criticism hurts, I should be more reluctant to use it.

  • Lee April 25, 2011, 9:06 am

    I’m a graphic designer so I’m basically always being critiqued on my work. Sometimes it’s really hard to hear that something I did isn’t good. But I think that it always helps in the long run and it’s important to remember that. I also have to often remind myself that if someone doesn’t like a specific piece of my work, it doesn’t mean that I’m a horrible designer or even that they think I’m a horrible designer.

  • Parita @ myinnershakti April 25, 2011, 9:07 am

    What great insight! I actually had someone leave me a pretty nasty comment on my blog this weekend, and it made me think about all of the things you listed. Putting your hopes, dreams, fears, successes, failures, etc. out there for all to see is NOT easy, and I think all of us can attest to that. It actually take a lot of courage. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes, and for someone to judge or be negative, well, it’s just plain mean. It hurts but it also helps with the whole growing thick skin thing! 😉

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:58 pm

      Mean comments are a good thing 😉

  • Carly (Swim, Run, Om) April 25, 2011, 9:11 am

    This is a fantastic post, and is something I really needed to hear/read.

    First, to answer your question: My job is extremely public-oriented. I’m part of a team that puts out a daily newspaper! We get all sorts of comments, and many days it feels like we will never get anything right. There are so many problems … we’re too conservative, too liberal, there was a typo on 7A, the wrong crossword puzzle ran, and why in the world did we stop running a certain comic strip?? It can be nerve-wracking, but it also makes the compliments that much sweeter.

    Personally, I’ve noticed that I’ve been more negative lately. A lot of is due to stress … my emotions are right under the surface and if a person is particularly irritating, I’ve been more likely to be snappish and rude than in the past. It’s something I plan on working on over the next couple of weeks.

  • Lara @ six times the yum April 25, 2011, 9:13 am

    I’m really glad you wrote this. I agree completely. If I ever have a bad experience with a business , I try to be proactively kind when giving constructive criticism to the owner/employee instead of going to somewhere like Yelp and bashing the business. This way, the business can work to make their company better for future customers because I made them aware of my problems; complaining on Yelp, online forums, or wherever else doesn’t do this because the business cannot easily become aware of the problem and cannot fix it. Great post, and I’ll try to be even more proactively kind in the future!

  • Marci April 25, 2011, 9:13 am

    I have a similar habit, but for people low on the totem pole, like the receptionist at a doctor’s office, wait staff at restaurants, salespeople at stores, etc. I always try to be extra nice to them and not complain because they are the faces of a company and usually not the decision makers. And I’ve been there and hated taking blame.
    I also think it’s easier to complain, especially with social media when companies are listening. I think we feel empowered by having a keyboard without talking face to face and it makes a difference in the feedback.

  • Joanne April 25, 2011, 9:16 am

    First, Happy Anniversary of your Birthday. YOu better do some GREAT celebrating!
    Second, on criticism…I like to address the positive first and then “suggest” anything that might be viewed as criticism. No one likes the same thing and we have to allow for personal preference. Some people see every minute detail and over exam, others enjoy what they see on the surface.

    I’m open to criticism as long as it is offered in an unaggressive tone. We learn and progress that way. You have to make mistakes and be open to hearing about them in order to achieve.

  • Maria (RealFitMama) April 25, 2011, 9:17 am

    As a small business owner (Maria’s Deli in STL) I totally understand this post. My husband and I put everything we have into our little deli. It’s small, it isn’t really pretty or chic or trendy or cool, but it’s ours, it has GREAT food and we work hard everyday to make it great.
    Jason is a classically French trained chef who decided that the long hours and stressful days weren’t going to work while we were raising a family. So he quit. He went back to school to finish his accounting degree.
    Running the deli is the perfect way for us to be together, be our own bosses and have fun with food too.
    We get a lot of positive feedback, but there is negative criticism as well. The negative almost always comes out hateful and rude.
    That’s one thing I cannot tolerate. If you ever go into a business (big or small) and have a negative experience (big or small) remember that the person you are talking to IS a person and treat them like one. A negative situation can quickly be turned around if you handle it properly.
    Most mistakes are just that, genuine mistakes, they can easily be corrected.

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas April 25, 2011, 9:19 am

    I kind of experience this – in a different way though – and it may not as have as big of an impact. I am a teacher. And let me tell you – parents will be in that door when they think I’ve done something wrong-speaking with the principal – speaking with other parents. If a child has not had me – and may in the future, the parents’ words can alter our relationship before it begins.

    Rarely do I spot a parent in the school praising their child’s teacher. I know many students love their child’s teacher, but they don’t speak of it as much as those who are unhappy.

  • Miranda @ Working Mom Works Out April 25, 2011, 9:20 am

    I just YESTERDAY shared my blog with all 200 of my Facebook friends and family. And I’ve had it since January. I feel very vulnerable. Eek.

    You are incredibly sweet and thoughtful, Caitlin.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) April 25, 2011, 9:21 am

    What an incredibly thought provoking post! My husband is an illustrator and he deals with this all the time. I write recipes and since these are all subjective as to wether you love them or hate them, it opens you up to criticism! This has made me so much more aware of where things come from and who is behind the product. I take extra caution when a company asks me do review their products. If I’m not crazy about it, I talk with them about how I feel about it and then give an over all review of the facts on the product. Great post Caitlin!

  • Ramona @Next Right Choice April 25, 2011, 9:26 am

    I’m not one to be quiet when I think something is wrong. Injustice annoys me, so I speak up about it. I don’t complain about little things that don’t matter. I try hard to make sure that I give praise when it is due. If I get awesome service at a restaurant, I ask to see the manager and praise the employee in front of him/her. I thank people genuinely for providing good service. I try not to take that for granted. A friendly attitude can make a critique more valuable. Good post, Caitlin!

    • Baking 'n' Books April 25, 2011, 9:28 am

      You write recipes??! How does one get into that? 😉

      Sounds like a creative family between you and your husband!

      • Baking 'n' Books April 25, 2011, 9:29 am

        Sorry! I meant that for the comment above 🙁

  • Baking 'n' Books April 25, 2011, 9:27 am

    My job is ABSOLUTELY all about that. I’m in charge of a lot of things – people, activities, protocol, etc. If someone isn’t happy, I hear about it – often. It is quite stressful and part of the reason I (need) want out of corporate. Sometimes I just have to accept that I can only do what I can and not to take the weight of the world on my shoulders…

    GREAT post Caitlin.

    But – wait – ONLY a dozen times? You did great girl!! Did you know the author of the best-seller “The Help” was rejected 60 times??…Katie Couric said so 😉

  • Laurel April 25, 2011, 9:28 am

    I really like the thought that someone put their heart and soul into every business endeavor. That’s so thoughtful of you. I try and keep the whole “everyone is on a journey” thought in mind every time a waiter/cashier/driver on the road is grumpy or less than nice to me, because it helps to forgive meanness and focus on the fact that we all have bad days.

  • Meredith April 25, 2011, 9:28 am

    Hi Caitlin,
    I gave my sister-in-law your book for Christmas and she loved it. Well, when we were visiting with her on Easter, she told me that last week she went into the bathroom at school and found dozens of Operation Beautiful notes! She took pictures of them to show me, and I encouraged her to email them to you. I thought you should know that someone is spreading your message at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan.

  • JenRD April 25, 2011, 9:40 am

    What a great topic! I think it is a worthwhile thing to do, in professional and personal life! I have been on both sides of it. In my old job, I often received negative criticism (NOT constructive) from my boss. This did not have the effect of motivating me to try harder and be better at my job; instead it filled me with self-doubt, making me so self-conscious of every move that I made even MORE silly mistakes!

    Now I do some volunteer work for a professional group, where I have had to give out feedback in various areas. I find that the best way to motivate people is to use the “sandwich” technique. I start with some stand-out positive point, then the constructive criticism, and finish with another positive comment. Usually works well!


  • Krista April 25, 2011, 9:49 am

    I love this post – and not just because we seem to share a birthday! I think it’s so important to look at ways to compliment and be positive whenever possible. I also think that sometimes you have to give people the benefit of the doubt – who knows what’s happening with the person we’re wanting to criticize?

    One of my girlfriends is the most positive person I have ever met and I see all the good that comes into her life because, no matter the situation, she always has a smile and a kind word. Whenever I feel the urge to be negative, I try to think of her and how she would handle the situation – it’s not always easy, but when I accomplish it things almost always end well!

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:56 pm

      HAPPY early BIRTHDAY!

  • Crystal April 25, 2011, 9:51 am

    Awesome post. Thank you for this!

  • Jess (In My Healthy Opinion) April 25, 2011, 9:52 am

    I love this post! It really made me think.. I especially liked how you said that someone’s blog/business/etc. is their dream.. that is so thought-provoking! I never thought of it that way, and I will definitely try to be less quick to judge. I’m always looking to work on positivity, so thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Sarah April 25, 2011, 9:52 am

    I wish clients would heed this advice! In my work, I find clients are always really happy with what we do, but it never fails that they focus on the negative (a few typos, a report that’s a bit too long, etc.). Since working as a consultant, I have definitely made a point to be both more proactively kind and to always offer a solution. The latter is particularly the case if I am critiquing the work of other agencies, consultants, etc. It’s not enough to say what’s wrong…you need to offer a solution to help them do things right, when it’s appropriate. At least that’s my two cents!

  • Stephanie April 25, 2011, 9:55 am

    My first job as a young 21-year-old was in reception in a non-profit employment counselling agency. I was shocked at how many people – many of them older and nearing what should be retirement – came to us in despair after pouring all of their savings into a small business that failed. Ever since that day, I’ve been very aware of the “person behind the business” and can’t walk by a “closing” sign without a twinge in my heart. You’re right…by opening a business, writing a book, doing something that we really care about – we open ourselves to criticism that can be both constructive and at times unkind. I love that you’re reminding us all to think about the heart and passion that rests behind every small business. I think it’s not only a reason to be kinder…it’s also a reason to go out of our way to support small businesses rather than buying from major corporations, even if things might cost a few cents more.

  • jen @ taste life April 25, 2011, 9:56 am

    Such a great post, Caitlin. I quit a job to become a life coach just over two years ago, and I’ve tweaked my niche some, but in the process I’ve learned just how hard it is to be self-employed. As a writer, a coach, a doctor, any business owner! When you own your own business no one just gives you a paycheck, and your “boss” is your clients, your readers, etc. It’s really stressful to have everything be on you, you know? I completely relate to everything you’re saying, and love the intention of being proactively kind. Good call.

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:55 pm

      Being self-employed is so so so so hard, I agree. The benefits rule but it is very challenging!

  • Lisa (I'm an Okie) April 25, 2011, 10:02 am

    Great post Caitlin.

    People put their hearts, sweat, tears, and hopes into projects and things they are passionate about. All people want is for others to see that passion and appreciate it. I think it’s a great practice to find SOMETHING positive in anything, because let’s face it, regardless of how bad things are…there is always something good in it.

  • Stefanie-Anne April 25, 2011, 10:06 am

    This post kind of made my day. Thanks!!! I think your next book should be positive living 🙂

    A little reminder can go such a long way. It’s funny that the simplest things are often the most forgotten. Whenever I’m having an internal struggle about making a decision… most of the time if I just ask myself to look at the situation in a right vs. wrong perspective the choice becomes SO easy!

  • Susan - Nurse on the Run April 25, 2011, 10:10 am

    I’m a nurse, which basically means I’m on the front lines for everything that could go wrong…a back up in the x-ray department, the lab losing a pt’s blood, doctors not writing an order for Tylenol, the food being bad/not what the patient ordered…etc etc etc. It’s a huge operation working in a hospital, and people are already unhappy because they’re sick, and then throwing everything else at them just makes it worse, and people will DEFINITELY let you know. Even when it’s clearly not your fault! I used to take it personally, but I’ve developed a much thicker skin, although I definitely think it’s one of the reasons for people leaving bedside nursing. Positive comments are so few and far between in my field that just one positive comment or thank you goes a long, long way. As a former server (served my way through nursing school), I experienced the same thing, and I definitely try not to blame servers for anything that may go wrong…unless it’s really, really obvious. I’ve been there and I understand how it works.

    With both of these experiences, I’ve realized it’s SO important to be nice and thankful to other people…you never know what the real reason is, and often the person who gets yelled at isn’t at fault at all…they’re just the one on the front lines.

  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good April 25, 2011, 10:10 am

    Such a good reminder, Caitlin. I also try to remember that I don’t know anyone else’s full story either. If someone is driving like a maniac, maybe they are rushing to the hospital. If someone is grouchy, maybe they’ve received some really bad news. Etc. I try to give the benefit of the doubt.

  • chelsea April 25, 2011, 10:15 am

    Great post Caitlin! I agree, kindness means everything, whether you are a consumer or a seller, a writer or a reader, a cook or an eater. As a Christian, I always try to let the light from God shine through me all the time, meaning that I try to have my cup flowing over with love and kindness. If I am in a situation and someone comes off unkind or hateful I try to just remember I have bad days too, and this particular person could be having a horrible day. I think my go with the flow personality works on the favor of not being overly critical.

  • cathy April 25, 2011, 10:18 am

    awesome blog post, caitlin!
    life is just so much happier when we choose to focus on the positive and not the negative.
    i am considering ways to get my handknitting out there for sale: etsy, a local indy store…i’ve been hesitating because of the fear of rejection. thanks to your reminder about your book rejections, i need to realize i should just go for it!
    thanks so much for sharing your thoughtful ideas!

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:54 pm

      You should go for it – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

  • chloe @ 321delish April 25, 2011, 10:19 am

    I have been working on “paying it forward.” I often take for granted all of the fortunes that I am given every single day. Paying it forward is one REALLY great way to say thank you. If everyone pays it forward…we will all be in a better place 🙂

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels April 25, 2011, 10:19 am

    My old job was pretty hard and I was criticized about 20 times more often than I was praised and my boss and executives didn’t work on site so it was just me and my 25 employees who always had lots to say when I made an error. One of the best moments of my career (and it came about 5 weeks before I left) was when one of my employees asked to see me in my office and closed the door and said that our most recent annual general meeting (this thing is so huge it’s like producing a theatre production) was so great that she wanted let me know. She said “I know how hard you’ve worked on it, and I felt like you should know that you did a great job. In all the years I’ve worked for this company, in many different locations, this was the best meeting I’ve been to.” I cried, a lot. It meant so much to me 🙂 I’ll never forget how grateful I was for her to take the time to share her kindness with me.

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:53 pm

      That is SO SO SO SO nice of your coworker!

  • Saima April 25, 2011, 10:21 am

    an awesome message!! I am currently working with children and while I do like it i would LOVE to work with the elderly….during my externship training I was working at a nursing home where the patients were often neglected or abused by the nurse’s aid!! believe it or not….just a smile, caress, asking how they were doing was not only a big boost to them but also to myself!! i remember being JUST happy with their reactions!! Being kind goes a long way!! 😀

  • Amy April 25, 2011, 10:22 am

    I love this. Reminds me of my favorite quote: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

    I do a lot of peer review/critique in grad school, and my technique is the same as someone mentioned above: Find the positive first, and then make suggestions for change. There’s beauty in everything…it deserves to be recognized!

  • Ashley @ Feeding Ashley April 25, 2011, 10:24 am

    This was such a great post.
    I can definitely relate to this. I was so afraid of sharing my blog through fb or tell my friends and family about it because I didn’t want to be mocked or called ridiculous for doing something I love.
    I try to see the positive in everyone and be “proactively kind” when I set foot in a small restaurant or store. Mistakes happen and it’s not usually a persons fault so there is no reason to make them feel worse than they might already feel about the situation. I know I’d be embarrassed and flustered if I was working at a cash register and the receipt didn’t print out.

  • Leanne (Bride to Mrs.) April 25, 2011, 10:29 am

    Such a well written post.

    I think if everyone tried to be just a tiny bit more kind, this world would be an amazing place.

    This is a perfect thought to begin a new week with.

  • Kristina @ spabettie April 25, 2011, 10:31 am

    I love this post and your new outlook, Caitlin! having run businesses where I am more than the owners right hand, doing 100% of the accounting and daily operations, I have a pretty good idea of what pride of ownership feels like, and just what goes into keeping it all together. it’s where I got my favorite “add money and stir” phrase, and where I think I learned to be prepared (and graceful) for anything. it certainly changes your perspective when you are out in the world – with businesses and individuals in general. 🙂

  • Amara@GirlinaWhirl April 25, 2011, 10:37 am

    Food businesses are the hardest to run! I’ve run a small catering business for years, and I always plan on some sort of disaster. You count on your suppliers, your help, the client, the venue, etc. and with so many variables it’s complicated. It took me a long time to learn though that my attitude also influences the outcome and makes it seem better or worse to the client. Grace under pressure can reduce negative feelings and criticism from others, although not eliminate it for sure..

  • April April 25, 2011, 10:37 am

    I do not own a small business, but I frequent them (and often go out of my way to frequent them), because I feel the customer service is better. I get the feeling that they are more appreciative of my business and there is more of a personal connection than bigger businesses. It feels good to go into a place and the people recognize you or know your first name – it shows they truly value your business!

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:50 pm

      Small bizs love you!

  • McKella April 25, 2011, 10:44 am

    I’m trying to create my career as a writer, and it’s scary! I haven’t even finished editing my novel yet and it’s hard not to think about what people will love or hate. It’s good to think about a little, but not the the point of paralysis! Putting yourself put there is scary. We could all do well to fight that tendency to find the negetavice and look for the good things first.

  • Shannon April 25, 2011, 10:44 am

    I love this post Caitlin! I have been the target of harsh criticism lately and instaed of dwelling on it, I’ve turned it into a pay-it-forward thought process. There are people and feelings behind the company/ product/ service. The more others remember that, the more considerate we’ll all be!:)

  • Jazz April 25, 2011, 10:45 am

    Luckily for me, people are usually scared of Librarians so they are always happy ( or surprized?) that I am helpful! Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? haha!

  • Amy* April 25, 2011, 10:46 am

    Great topic! Before getting “real” jobs, my husband and I both worked retail. Now, whenever we have a particularly good retail experience, we call and tell the store manager the name of the person who helped up and how great they were. It feels so good to acknowledge people who are doing a good job and working hard.*

  • Michelle@crazyrunninglegs April 25, 2011, 10:48 am

    I write for a living (instructional material – so thrilling!) and I work with editors/quality assurance. Even though I’m not personally attached to the content I am writing (I imagine it’s much harder when writing a book from your heart!), it’s hard to just take the criticism of my work. Especially because it’s hard to tell the tone of the comments. I do recognize that their comments make me better at my job and ultimately we have the same goal, but there is a very fine line between business and personal. I also think you can take anything negative and turn it into a positive. It may not be ideal, but it IS an opportunity to improve!

  • Kelly April 25, 2011, 10:50 am

    HTP makes me want to be a better person and kinder to other people. Operation Beautiful makes me want to be kinder to myself.

    Thanks for writing HTP and OB.

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:49 pm

      You’re welcome 😉

    • Christena April 25, 2011, 5:33 pm

      I agree with Kelly’s comment. You really are a positive person, Caitlin. I think that kindness to others can only happen when we are kind to ourselves. You embody this with your blogs.

  • Amanda @ The Beauty Notebooks April 25, 2011, 10:53 am

    What an inspiring post–thank you for writing this! As someone who has dreamed of being a writer since I was five, I have dealt with the ups and downs of personally exposing your deepest, innermost thoughts to the world for a while. Most of it has been incredibly positive, but rejection hurts to the core. Sometimes it can be hard to separate the work from the person, so if someone does not like my writing, I take it personally. It is good to learn to separate them. Constructive criticism is always appreciated though, for criticism can be a great way to learn about how to better reach out to others. I hope to grow within my blog and start a small business someday and will definitely keep your words in my heart as I go. Thank you again!

  • Amanda @ The Beauty Notebooks April 25, 2011, 10:53 am

    What an inspiring post–thank you for writing this! As someone who has dreamed of being a writer since I was five, I have dealt with the ups and downs of personally exposing your deepest, innermost thoughts to the world for a while. Most of it has been incredibly positive, but rejection hurts to the core. Sometimes it can be hard to separate the work from the person, so if someone does not like my writing, I take it personally. It is good to learn to separate them. Constructive criticism is always appreciated though, for criticism can be a great way to learn about how to better reach out to others. I hope to grow within my blog and start a small business someday and will definitely keep your words in my heart as I go. Thank you again!

  • Emma April 25, 2011, 10:53 am

    i was just hired to help open a bakery and i’m so excited/nervous for the public reaction. the owner has been successful in other bakeries and she is an inspirational female entrepreneur, but i am curious to see how things go!! (it’s in the same city as your last marathon–if you ever make it down again, you’ll have to come in!) but anyway, i’m a highly critical person by nature and i’ve spent a lot of time thinking about being “proactively positive” recently. it is definitely a CHOICE rather than an instinct, but it makes me feel better to find the good in something and spread those happy vibes. this is such a thoughtful post, i enjoyed reading it!!

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:48 pm

      Good luck with the bakery 🙂 Find some local bloggers in your area through!

  • Kristsen April 25, 2011, 10:54 am

    I know that looking at the positive is defiantly something that doesnt come easy. Why is that? I know that there is always a positive, even when the negative is all we see.

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) April 25, 2011, 11:00 am

    I totally agree! I work in a gym daycare, and the people that come in there are crazy. I understand if they’re worried about their children, but most of the time people complain that we have to come get them if their child is crying for more than 20 minutes, and they blame us for not being able to do anything about it. My happiest moment at that job was when one of the moms told me she comes every Friday morning because she knows how much her daughter loved me. It made my day 🙂

  • Andi April 25, 2011, 11:06 am

    I don’t think you could have written this at a better time. I’m not a small business owner, nor do I put myself and my dreams out there on a day to day basis; but I’ve been struggling a lot lately with my own criticisms about the world around me and the negative impact that I know I’m creating. I can’t help but feel totally drawn to something in particular that you wrote: “I don’t want to charge through life like a cannonball, destroying small bits of everything I come across without even stopping to think about what I’m really damaging – another person.” That really hit me hard and brought me to tears.

    Thank you for always sharing your view of how you want to make changes in your life and the lives around you. You’re an incredible person 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:48 pm

      <3 you are an incredible person, too!

  • Georgie April 25, 2011, 11:23 am

    Wow, Caitlin. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been to go through so many book rejections! I’m in shock, I never thought that had been the case. Anyway, now I’m even more impressed with you and and your determination to say what you have to say. You rock!

    Thanks for inspiring me, I just got some disappointing news (a rejection on a job I thought I had landed) and reading your article today was just what I needed. 🙂

    Georgie Fear RD

  • Sarah April 25, 2011, 11:39 am

    This was a very interesting and thought-provoking post. I personally don’t tend to think about the personal effort people put into things and I honestly believe that it negatively impacts on my life when I don’t. I tend to think things are easier than they actually are, and it isn’t until I try that I realise that’s not the case. A perfect example of this is blogging. I used to think it was easy, no big deal, after all anyone can start up a blog and be a blogger. Several years after I started my own blog, I’ve completely changed my mind. The amount of effort and passion that goes into blogging is ASTOUNDING! (So kudos to you for managing to keep it up through sickness, family, work, writing books, etc, etc.)

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that when I lived in the UK I had a much lower tolerance of things not being perfect. My attitude was ‘if you’re going to do it, do it properly, and stop messing about’. No excuses, no compassion. Since moving to North Africa, where people have a much more laidback, laissez-faire attitude to life, my expectations have dropped. It doesn’t matter if the light bulb in the bathroom’s gone – at least they have a bathroom! 😀 And this attitude makes me happier because it’s easier for me to see the good things in life. And it’s the good things that make us happy.

  • Megan April 25, 2011, 11:41 am

    Oh, I loved this post. Such a good reminder to put out there. It’s easy to complain about something impersonal, but not so easy when you remember the person behind it. And I’m all for being more positive 🙂

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) April 25, 2011, 11:45 am

    I am going to defend my dissertation on Wednesday (the day after your birthday! — have a great one, btw!) having just turned 26. Even though I’ve been working all these years, I have doubts that people will take me seriously and know what you mean about the impact of a negative view. Except for me, I am paranoid that because of my age and somewhat inexperienced past, I will never be able to climb out of people’s assumptions. Psychologically, we do tend to focus more on negatives than positives.

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:43 pm

      Good luck on your dissertation!

  • Ellie @ The Mommyist April 25, 2011, 11:46 am

    Loved the post. I always try to look for the good in small businesses and usually give them a second chance if I’ve had a bad first impression, assuming that they were just having an off day.

    I stay home with my daughter and I’m convinced there is no job that opens you up to criticism more than my job. Everybody has something to say about how you parent. Your child doesn’t sleep through the night? You must be doing something wrong. You don’t let your child eat sugar? You’re just setting her up for an eating disorder later in life. Your two-year-old gets upset at the grocery store? You really should teach your child to control their emotions. How do I deal with it? I ignore everyone. I’m sick of it, hardly anyone ever tells you what a great job you’re doing. Never mind the fact that my daughter is polite and verbal and funny. If she can’t sleep through the night and has the occasional meltdown I must be a complete failure as a parent.

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:40 pm

      Oh god, I think Mommy blogs have it the WORST. Stand up for you, girlfriend.

  • Erin April 25, 2011, 11:50 am

    Shout out to the Java Joint! I just ate fish tacos there the other day 🙂 yum…

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:40 pm

      JJ is so good! My fav. Best scenery too.

  • Shari April 25, 2011, 11:53 am

    This just might be my favorite blog post EVER.

    You said it perfectly – too many people isolate the bad (or even search it out, which makes me sad for them) and not the good. Sure, it’s easy to point out something’s shortcomings, but it’s really just as easy to focus on the positive. I am fully and completely of the belief that if we put optimism out there into the world, it comes back to us. There’s too much negativity as it is, so why not make someone’s world a little sunnier by complimenting them on their hard work, their determination, their dedication? Sometimes even the smallest gesture can make a huge difference. We put our hearts and souls into our dreams – knowing that means something to another person or that it’s touched them in some way is such a gift.

    As for rejection – as a fellow writer, I hear you loud and clear. Even before I started the journey to get my books published, I spent a lot of time researching agents, publishing houses, and all the minutiae that goes along with every step of the process. I am a sensitive person by nature and knew I was setting myself up for a long, arduous, and emotional experience. I knew that amazing books have been rejected numerous times, that amazing authors have piles of rejection letters, that it can take dozens of “no” responses before you get the much-dreamed-of “yes.” But knowing and feeling are two different things, and I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the emotional roller coaster of this process other than actually going through it. Like you said, though, every rejection makes us – and our work – stronger. It’s not only my writing that’s grown throughout this journey … it’s also me. I guess I even try to look at rejection with optimism?

    We are what we believe … and I choose positivity 😀

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:38 pm

      Yay, I love this comment.

  • HTP Husband April 25, 2011, 11:56 am

    I am so lucky to have a wife who inspires me everyday!

  • monicanelsonfitness April 25, 2011, 11:57 am

    i loved this post! Good for you. I always look at a way to see the postive even in a negative situation. It is funny too where you live too, I think there are certain energys that can be contagious good or/and bad.
    I love LA don’t get me wrong, but some of the people in this city can complain about the Sillest things…”ummm this is not soy milk”- At Starbucks or “gasp! my dressing is NOT on the side!” I hear that a lot. Anyways, it all comes back to this for me = “Don’t sweat the small stuff and BREATHE!” There is good and love all around…JUST LOOK!!! 🙂

  • Jo @ Jo In the Kitchen April 25, 2011, 12:01 pm

    This is such a good reminder! I always try to think about how I’d feel if I were in the other person’s shoes. You have to be honest and objective, but also considerate.

  • Angela (Oh She Glows) April 25, 2011, 12:18 pm

    Beautiful post caitlin! Being a small business owner/blogger myself, I know exactly what you mean about being vulnerable and open to criticism. I also agree with seeing the person behind the business. No one is perfect and we are all doing what we can with the resources we have.

  • dynamics April 25, 2011, 12:19 pm

    I hate that people are so quick to complain. Me personally, I always search out the manager to compliment his store or employees if I feel they have gone beyond the normal. I always tell a business if one of their employees helped me or made my day more enjoyable. It is fun to request the manager. They always think I am going to complain/get them in trouble. It will makes someones day if you take a moment to praise instead of complain. At the very least offer constructive criticism and top it off with something good. JMO

  • Maura April 25, 2011, 12:29 pm

    Like you, this post was simply beautiful.

  • Danielle D April 25, 2011, 12:38 pm

    Thank you for this post! It is so easy to get caught up in the negative “things” in life and we miss so many positives words/actions/experiences occurring all around us. I really appreciate these words and thank you again for sharing your thoughts!

    Happy Monday.

  • Halley (Blunder Construction) April 25, 2011, 12:41 pm

    This is the kind of inspiration I crave, and it’s always found at HTP. I focus on my internal dialogue and notice the judgments I make of people in passing. The more positive thoughts we put out into the world for one another, the greater the source of happiness is for everyone. It is important not to be too critical!

    • HTP Husband April 25, 2011, 1:36 pm

      Thank you Halley for such a nice comment about HTP!

      • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:37 pm

        That was suppose to be me!

    • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) April 25, 2011, 6:30 pm

      I am with Halley. Your blog has something special Caitlin… It’s why I pretty much always read through the comment section (esp on posts like this). You are a force of good 🙂

      • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 6:48 pm

        Thank you Mary!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife April 25, 2011, 12:52 pm

    I loved this post–It is SO true that too often we focus on the negative….which usually just brings way more negative into our lives anyways! I am all about trying to be proactively kind. Thanks for the great post, girl 🙂

  • Amber K April 25, 2011, 12:54 pm

    This is such an amazing post! I am not nearly as good at finding the good in things as I am at finding the bad. But, I will definitely be keeping my eye out for opportunities throughout every day to be proactively kind.

  • Dee April 25, 2011, 12:56 pm

    Amazing post Caitlin! I totally agree with Danielle and Halley above so I won’t re-hash. I think you are so inspirational. Keep on doing you girl! 🙂

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey April 25, 2011, 12:57 pm

    Such a great post Caitlin! I think with any profession there is some part of it where you could get critized for your work.

    As a teacher, I am a public figure. Even when I am not in the building, I know I can see my students at any time (take for instance this past weeken in Downtown Chicago at a museum!) and always have to be “in a role”. There is always someone ready to critize me!

  • Christine April 25, 2011, 1:11 pm

    I’m a teacher, so we’re constantly under a microscope. Students, parents, administrators, and the public love to criticize. You have to learn to roll with it! Recently I recieved some stellar service from sporting goods store, so I wrote a positive letter to their cooperate offices. They responded with such appreciation and surprise that I wasn’t complaining. A little sad, but it felt nice.

    • HTP Husband April 25, 2011, 1:33 pm

      <3 good for you for being proactively nice!

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me April 25, 2011, 1:24 pm

    I have a tough time with criticism because I’m overly sensitive. Luckily my job doesn’t open me up to it that much. I could never do customer service or anything like that. I’m too scared to be yelled at by customers etc. Yuck!

  • Lauren @ laurenINlawrence April 25, 2011, 1:34 pm

    GREAT post. I think that the Fish Philosophy always comes into play when thinking about keeping a positive attitude. Choose your attitude! I remind myself of this a lot 🙂

  • Stephanie @ Life, Love and Inspiration April 25, 2011, 1:42 pm

    I so appreciate this post. My husband and I just opened our own optometry practice and the personal and financial investment is staggering, but so rewarding. There is nothing more rewarding than a simple “thank you” or “that was the best eye exam I’ve ever had!”

  • LauraJayne April 25, 2011, 1:44 pm

    I think this post is so important – for a long time after my break-up (and really before it, if I’m completely honest), I was negative about every situation. I walked into things with poor expectations, and then was still disappointed when the experience was negative. While I’ve been burned a little (at work), I had to relearn how to be positive, to enter every situation positively, and to expect the best. To be happy, I have to believe that people are good and have good intentions – when I am negative, give negative non-constructive feedback, or have a bad attitude I’m not only negatively affecting my day, I also have the potential to ruin their’s. That’s not fair to me or to them!

  • LauraJayne April 25, 2011, 1:44 pm

    I think this post is so important – for a long time after my break-up (and really before it, if I’m completely honest), I was negative about every situation. I walked into things with poor expectations, and then was still disappointed when the experience was negative. While I’ve been burned a little (at work), I had to relearn how to be positive, to enter every situation positively, and to expect the best. To be happy, I have to believe that people are good and have good intentions – when I am negative, give negative non-constructive feedback, or have a bad attitude I’m not only negatively affecting my day, I also have the potential to ruin their’s. That’s not fair to me or to them!

  • Cat April 25, 2011, 1:49 pm

    Hi Caitlin!

    As a small business person myself, I echo these statements a lot. Just last week I was simultaneously listening to a livid voice mail about how awful I was, while simultaneously reading an email about how awesome my customer service is. It made me laugh. But I’m not going to lie that the negative voicemail stuck with with me ALL weekend. Small business is hard, but everytime I start down this path of thinking I remind myself of the perks of what I do. I may work strange hours sometimes, deal with mean people, but I’m actually doing what I love (not everyone can say that), get to create my own schedule (to an extent) and I don’t have to sit in a cubicle all day! Yay!

    Also, I recently picked up The Happiness Project book. I have to say that it actually made a profound impact on me. It’s helping me power through a tough break-up and deal with some family issues. The best suggestion? “Act the way you want to feel.” which I think is sort of what you’re saying here — I always feel SO MUCH better when I’m kind to people and when I’m kind to myself, so it’s a no-brainer 🙂 I think that my recent ex-boyfriend has been completely shocked by my positive attitude about our break-up, which was AWESOME 😉

    Thanks for this post!

    • CaitlinHTP April 25, 2011, 1:51 pm

      Being happy is the best revenge 🙂

      • Cat April 25, 2011, 5:59 pm


        This post also got me thinking about how negative people can be on social media. It can be such a downer when half your Facebook friends complain about gas or this or the other. I’m much more interested in the light-hearted, funny and positive posts and will hide people if they get too negative. Who needs the extra negativity?

      • Cat April 25, 2011, 6:00 pm


        This post also got me thinking about how negative people can be on social media. It can be such a downer when half your Facebook friends complain about gas prices, or this, that or the other thing. I’m much more interested in the light-hearted, funny and positive posts and will hide people if they get too negative. Who needs the extra negativity?

  • Verna April 25, 2011, 2:17 pm

    After having worked A LOT of customer service jobs, I don’t complain unless it’s really necessary. Like it’d have to be pretty bad for me to say anything. Working with the public in any aspect is difficult in and of itself and I’ve had enough bad costumers to make me learn that the small stuff isn’t that big of a deal.

  • Erin April 25, 2011, 2:49 pm

    That’s why I was so drawn to the Food Network show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” because it’s a half-hour long show full of people just raving about these awesome places with amazing food…very light on the criticism and light on the drama forced into so many “reality” shows these days.

  • Kristy April 25, 2011, 3:22 pm

    I work for an airline, so I’m definitely used to hearing the bad from people! My dad’s a pilot for the same airline, and whenever he lands a flight early, he says “Looks like we got you here about 10 minutes early. Make sure you tell your family and friends, because you KNOW you would have told them if you landed late!” I love that, because it’s so true! Customers are quick to complain about a flight delay but rarely express the good stuff that happens.

  • Megan @ On the Road Again April 25, 2011, 4:09 pm

    Great post, Caitlin. I’ve worked in retail and food service, so I’ve definitely run the gamut when it comes to customer reactions.

    However, I don’t think either of those industries could hold a candle to my current position as a high school teacher (at least not for me). I’ve never felt so personally exposed and open to criticism from the community and the public as a whole. On the flip side, when I do receive compliments from parents & students, it makes a world of difference as I know I’ve impacted someone’s life in a way that could be meaningful to their future.

    All in all, these experiences have taught me to constantly consider the way I react in social/public situations. It is extremely important to think about all sides of an issue before letting emotions get the best of us.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) April 25, 2011, 4:40 pm

    I worked in customer service at a large department store throughout high school and college full of constant complaints and criticisms. When people contacted my manager to let them know how well I’d done in going out of my way I was over joyed. Since then I make a point of telling others what a good job they’ve done in person as well as calling managers for exception service.

    In my current job (pastor/ministry) people feel they can make any criticism that is’s not the way they’d do it. While support and constructive comments are helpful constant criticism hurts. That is why I still find the good to tell someone even if the overall service wasn’t great.

    The sandwich concept is perfect. I liked XYZ, you could improve on ABC, but it was nice to see JKL. It allows for growth while not tearing the person down.

  • Lauren April 25, 2011, 4:44 pm

    All so true, yet very rarely discussed. Negative comments narrow our focus, whereas positive ones broaden our outlook. I think we all can make a more conscious effort to applaud one another’s strengths and always remember there is a person just like us with big dreams behind any business (just like you said), or what have you. Thank you for the reminder! My behaviour will definitely be changed for the better! 🙂

  • Melissa @ TryingToHeal April 25, 2011, 5:18 pm

    I definitely have a job that opens me up to criticism. I’m a field biologist, but am contracted to a wind turbine company. so i have the environmentalist/bird people hating me because i work for a company ready to rip the earth apart and potentially kill birds and bats. But then i have the wind turbine people who don’t like me because i fine the species that gets their projects in trouble and potentially stopped and leaves them without a job. not an easy thing to deal with. homeowners within project boundaries are always pretty harsh with us. It’s never a win win situation for me.

  • Christena April 25, 2011, 5:37 pm

    Kindness is so incredibly important. Whenever I encounter an irate or rude person I consciously try to give kindness in return, but it is sometimes so hard. But you just never know what kind of day some one is having, what kind of terrible tragedy they have been through, what kind of terrible news they may have just received….and one random sweet comment from a stranger can sometimes turn things around.

  • Kirra April 25, 2011, 5:45 pm

    I am teaching ESL and I try to be very positive and friendly with my students, especially to my beginning conversation students. While waiting for coffee, I saw one of my new students in Starbucks today and I was horrified at how rude the server was being to her as my student struggled to order hot tea. I decided to keep my cool and I went up to my student and helped her and I was friendly with the server who was just making fun of my student. I myself have lived in many foreign countries and nothing feels worse! I wanted to go off on the barista, but who knows what kind of day or prejudices she may have – so leading by example helped here and made me feel more proactive.

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) April 25, 2011, 6:26 pm

    “It’s not just a shop, book, blog, or product – it’s someone’s dream.” – This is so true. Thank you for reminding me Caitlin!!

  • Christie April 25, 2011, 7:30 pm

    I absolutely love this post. I’m a big believer that words are very powerful. I try to demonstrate this at my job everyday where I teach new people at a big company. Its easy to just worry about what you aren’t doing right or get mad at the “rude” person on the phone but it’s so much more important to focus on the part you’re good at and to not take out your personal frustration on someone else.

    At the end of class, I get a survey from my students. Not gonna lie, when i first started doing this job, the good went in one ear and out the other but the negative stuff really stuck with me. Not so anymore! Now i realize that i just do my best job and that that 1 negative comment is just one person’s opinion.

  • Pure2raw twins April 25, 2011, 7:47 pm

    I could not agree more Caitlin. Being a small business owner as well, it is amazing the type of fear small business owners face everyday. But everything bad that happens does make us stronger. I think being proactively kind is a great thing for everyone to practice. Ever since opening up my bakery I notice myself trying to do more for other small business owners. I know the struggles and sacrifices they have gone through. But also realize you cannot please everyone. All we can do is do our best and help out others as much as we can. And stay positive.

  • Allie April 25, 2011, 8:34 pm

    this is such a thoughtful and thought provoking post, and exactly why i choose read your blog everyday. great work.

  • Kristen April 25, 2011, 8:54 pm

    Wow, what an amazing post! It is so very true that people always try to point out the negative instead of the positive. I try to be a positive person most of the time, but sometime it’s hard. However, I am not one to complain if there is something I don’t like, because I know that I am not perfect, so I know that everyone else is not either. Again, great post!

  • Julia @ Brides Up North April 26, 2011, 4:33 am

    GREAT GREAT post Caitlin – and HAPPY BIRTHAY for tomorrow!



  • gabriella @ embracement April 26, 2011, 12:33 pm

    What a great post! I actually gave up “complaining” for lent. The goal was more to eliminate complaints that were just way to minimal to focus energy on as well as spend less time around people who were constantly looking for the negative. And your so right, whenever I go to a new place like a restaurant, I notice the bad before I comment on the good. I guess “negative” sticks out more. But after attempting to control my complaints and noticing more of the positive aspects in places and people I feel like I appreciate so much more.

  • Dee April 26, 2011, 2:43 pm

    What an amazing post. Thanks for sharing this insight. I think it applies almost universally, to the fact that a business even with its errors is someone’s dream, and also to what Operation Beautiful is about, that the words you say to people (and yourself) really have an intense and long-lived impact. Being proactively kind in every way and every interaction as much as possible, is an awesome philosophy. It’s very Zen!

  • Tara @ trulysimplebits April 26, 2011, 7:58 pm

    love this post! What a great way to look at life and everything involved in it. Always nice to hear such positive stuff 🙂

  • Jessica April 27, 2011, 12:45 pm

    I am the receptionist/secretary in a small office and I experience this all the time. People rush to get angry with me or blame me in situations where things are really out of my control. It gets really frustrating and I wish that people would extend the grace toward me and other people that they would want extended to themselves. It has definitely made me think twice before getting upset with someone in the “messenger” position.

  • Leiane April 28, 2011, 5:34 pm

    I am an ER nurse, and some days people are SO MEAN I feel like I have been punched in the face. As a matter of fact, I think I would prefer a punch in the face over the hateful way people speak to me.
    However, most people are kind and grateful for my help, and I will go out of my way to be extra nice to people who are nice to me :O)

  • jenna April 30, 2011, 1:31 pm

    I don’t know. I’m a nurse and deal with a lot of complaints from time to time. But really, I can just take it. While I dont agree that people should be outwardly rude, those receiving the criticism should take it for what it is if it’s deserved and learn from it. Protecting sensitivities too much creates greater and greater mediocrity. While I’m not an overly critical person, I dont believe people should be continually patted on the back for a job not well-done. For example, a coffee-shop owner who hasn’t done their homework on the true origins of what a cofee shop should be (given the history of what these places once were), is really just lowering the bar of society by opening a mediocre place that misses the whole point. A doctor who chooses simply to follow the status quo is not doing you or your health any favors, and doesn’t deserve any congratulatory praises. If you’re going to do something and put your whole ‘self’ into it….I question what a lot of people think that really means. It’s going above and beyond with everything in every single detail. And no, most people don’t do that. We shouldn’t pretend otherwise.

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