Friday, October 4, 2013

Are You in the Arena?

by Mare Ball  Adventures in the Ballpark

Brene Brown, PhD

Are you familiar with Brene Brown?  She's a motivational speaker whom I saw for the first time on OWN, and I was so inspired with what she had to say about moving forward with your dreams.  

When Brene first began to speak/write, she received some criticism, and it bothered her.  She got snide remarks on Facebook and Twitter about her ideas, but also stupid stuff.  Some people focused on insignificant things, like her hair and weight.  She read everything, and it began to unsettle her confidence.   

Then, she had an epiphany.  She realized "if you're going to be in the arena, you're going to get your butt kicked."  She also realized she couldn't do anything about what other people think. 

So, her next thought was this: "If you're not also in the arena, I'm not interested in your feedback."

It's so easy to critique or criticize others who are playing a game we're not in.  We think we could do it better; look better, handle the pressure better.  Only because we're not doing any of it, and fantasy is always more wonderful than reality. 

As I mentioned last time I posted here, I'm taking a marketing class regarding getting published, and I'm realizing the world is a competitive place with all kinds of people, and compelling people to want to hear my voice is going to be hard work.  Some days, I'm sure I'll get my butt kicked.

But, the bigger lesson is that criticism from people who are in my game are likely going to have significant things to say.  I want to be open to those folks.  If I was looking to start a talk show, and Oprah had a few suggestions, I'd be taking notes.

People who are not in the writing/publishing game....they are welcome to their opinions, as everyone is.  But I want to keep Brene's words in mind.  Writing and getting published are marathons, and I have to keep my eye on the prize.  If people have something to say about my weight, or my hair, or my ideas, but they're not in the arena....I'm (respectfully) not listening.


  1. That is really, really great advice. I’d never thought of it that way- if you’re not doing what I’m doing, then don’t talk to me about what I’m doing! Another thing I always try to keep in mind is that there are what I like to call “emotional trolls” out there. People who will criticize and be nasty for no reason except to vent their own emotional baggage. I have learned that when people call me names or criticize things about me that have nothing to do with anything (like how I look) then their words say a lot more about who they are as a person than they do about who I am. It simply shows that they are angry inside and they choose to take it out on others. Says nothing about me, really.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!! :-)

  2. Kasey, you are a wise woman! unnecessary criticism usually is about the criticizer's own issues. we need to remember that!

  3. Yes, yes, yes! The arena!!! Thank you for sharing.



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