We’ve all been there. We see something someone else has made and it’s not to our taste. Our default is often to judge, to make blanket statements about how “good” or “bad” it is. Or maybe a friend or colleague asks for an opinion and all you can see is how much better you could make it.

Here are a few rules of thumb:


1) Look for the good.
The way we think of others often mirrors some of our strongest underlying self-criticisms. You may not even hear your inner critic’s specific thoughts any more, it may just manifest as an anxious vibe before, during, or after you create. If you seek the good in other people’s work, you’ll notice a corresponding appreciation for your own.


CASE STUDY 1:

I see a necklace that’s a mass-produced electroplated pendant on a chain. I have judgements. Strong ones. They’re not kind. Mostly based around all the areas I’m most insecure.


My own fear is that I’m not creative enough. That my work isn’t authentic. That I’m bad at having a business. My inner critic says that I should be original, true to my aesthetic and technique preferences, and working on high margin projects.

2) If your opinion hasn’t been solicited, don’t critique.
Let each person have their own growth process. Some things you gotta learn by doing them yourself. I like sharing favorite sourcing spots and brands. I feel like someone can take or leave that resource without feeling judged.


CASE STUDY 2:
Some things you just gotta do yourself.



3) If you feel the need to comment about a problem, propose a solution. That’s the best way to get what you want. If you don’t have a solution, then acknowledge that, too. This is just a good interpersonal practice and transfers into relationships, work, or dealing with a company.

4) If your opinion *has* been solicited, make sure you choose words with care. Be clear about what’s working for you, and what might accentuate that. Assist in construction, not destruction.

CASE STUDY 3:
Started with this and wasn’t crazy about it.



Asked a friend and he said, “I like where this is going with the color and placement. You might want to consider pulling the green and simplifying.”

5) There’s no shame in asking for help.

CASE STUDY 4:

Right now, lighting is a work in progress for our Facebook videos - if someone’s an expert, it would be great to get some thoughts on light brands and positioning, or favorite resources to learn about studio lighting!

- Erin, Dakota Stones