In 2011, I wrote an article about Tall Poppy Syndrome.

Sadly, it’s something Change Makers and Industry Thought Leaders STILL have to deal with in 2019.

Even me.

Just this week I had a run-in with someone who I’ve since come to learn has been a serial bully, since childhood.

She left a negative comment on a Facebook advertisement I’m running, which is promoting an upcoming Profitable Podcast Workshop.

To give you some context – I’d created a short video from my home-based studio (giving people a behind-the-scenes look into where I record all of my podcasts) so they could see that you don’t necessarily have to go to a professional studio to record your message.

[Side note: I’ve recorded every single one of my podcasts from this location – even my award-winning podcast, the podcast that has been syndicated on a National Radio station in Zimbabwe, and another podcast, which is syndicated on a local radio station in Australia.]

Here’s her comment, along with my response.

If you haven’t heard the term: ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ before, Wikipedia describes it as:

“a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers”.

There’s one thing you can be guaranteed of as you continue to share your message and increase your credibility and reputation as an Authority in your field – that Industry Thought Leader.

Not only will you capture the attention of your potential clients. You’ll also capture the attention of your competitors and other people, who may not have your best interests at heart.

In fact, because of who they are, they’ll try to hinder your progress through a direct attack on you personally and your work. Or, they’ll try to drag you down with their critical (naysayer) comments and/or actions.

I’m not talking about constructive criticism where someone is trying to offer you advice with good intentions because they want to see you grow and prosper.

I’m referring to the vindictive comments coming from a place of ‘do or die competitiveness’ or out of spite and envy with the sole intent on tarnishing your credibility or keeping you down.

Exactly, like the comment that was aimed at me.

As you continue to share your message and shine your light in the world, here are 3 tips to consider if ever you find yourself being targeted by an online bully.

It was something I had to remind myself of, prior to writing my response, so I’m confident you’ll find them helpful, too.

1.     Don’t stoop to their level

I think the most important thing to do is to avoid retaliation where you come out fighting and throwing negative comments back at them.

Stooping to their level and ‘serving them up a spoonful of their own medicine’ will only serve to take your attention, energy and focus away from what you SHOULD be focusing on – which is to continue the great work that you’re doing.

Action Step: Don’t get caught up in anger, frustration or retaliation – you’re worth so much more! Rather let your light shine brightly and continue to bring your message to the world, so that you can carry on helping the people who you know you are meant to serve.

2.     Realise – it’s NOT about you

It’s important to realise that their remarks have nothing to do with you and the work you are doing, but rather EVERYTHING to do with them and their inability to achieve their own successes.

It’s THEIR stuff – their own issues and lack of self-worth and/or self-belief – and has nothing to do with you!

After sharing my ‘troll’ situation on Facebook, someone reached out to let me know they’d had a run in with this person too. Apparently she was a serial bully and had been treating people with disrepect her entire life.

I had my suspicions, however this feedback validates what I knew to be true. Bullying and negative remarks directed at you are NEVER about you.

Action Step: Remind yourself of your mission and purpose and the people you are here to serve. Listening to the naysayers and critics will only delay you from achieving your bigger mission. Move on.

And, most important of all, is to:

3. Surround yourself with supportive people

Do you feel physically and emotionally drained after being in someone’s company where you have listened to their negative remarks? Being in the company of these naysayers and critics WILL impact your outcomes.

Are the people you associate with constantly telling you why something can’t be done, or why your plans are impossible to achieve? Perhaps that’s true for them. However are you going to let this person’s inability to reach their goals affect your ability to reach yours? I certainly hope not!

Action Step: Surround yourself with supportive people – people who will continue to encourage you to be the best you can be and who will celebrate alongside you as you continue to move from success to success.

The important thing to remember is to hold true to who you are and the work you do; keep your eyes firmly fixed on your goals; and to build a community of like-minded people who will continue to inspire and uplift you on your journey.

In closing, with regards to this situation it was important for me to hold true to my integrity and personal beliefs about treating other people with respect – even after this person had left this negative comment.

Should it happen again, I’ll block and ban her from my page to ensure she doesn’t see any of my content, because I don’t want to waste an more energy in having to deal with these childish, bullying antics.