What others say about you is influenced by their perception. That perception can be jaded by a multitude of influences. The truth is that you are not as good – or as bad – as the way other people describe you.

Even if they have a fairly accurate perception of your character, the words people say about you represent their best attempt to relay their thoughts. Some people communicate their thoughts well, while others struggle to make their point.

Their accolades and criticism may not be completely accurate. However, there is something in their mind that drove them to offer up their opinion of you. Champions realize that their response to feedback can make the difference between success and defeat.

As a champion, there are three things to consider when it comes to accepting accolades and criticism:

1) Always be thankful – even if you receive criticism that you believe is intended to be hurtful. Being thankful doesn’t mean you are automatically accepting their statement as true. Rather, it represents your gratitude for the effort the other person made to share their thoughts with you. If you believe the person intended to hurt you, remember that a kind word turns away wrath.

2) Consider the validity of the statement. Take a good, honest look into your own heart. Did their accolade point to a genuine strength of yours, or was it simply intended to make you feel good? Did their criticism shine light on an area you need to improve, or was it born out of their own personal bias or misunderstanding? If you are struggling to clearly understand whether their point was valid, ask someone you trust for their honest opinion.

3) Take action. If you find their statement to be true, then it requires a response. Not necessarily to the person offering the accolade or criticism, but a response in your life so that you may grow stronger. In the case of an accolade, find a way to build on your strength. In the case of criticism, work on improvement.

Has there been a time in your life when you responded appropriately to an accolade or criticism? What was the outcome?