September 17

First Responders

First Responders

By Deborah Johnson

September 17, 2016

expectations, mindsets, persistence, personal development

First Responders

First responders are among the first people to respond and assist at the scene of an emergency. They include firefighters, military, police and certain medical personnel. I have a special appreciation for those first responders as my father, uncles and now son are/were all first responders as firemen and policemen.

When in public service, whether a speaker, musician or politician, sometimes the first responders are negative responders. What do I mean by this? Negative responders bring criticism. Criticism can be crippling, flattening out your world with accusations and even false claims. Many deal with the poundage of negative criticism of an attendee, or even a parent, boss or colleague. (taken from book: Stuck is Not a Four Letter Word)

How Do You Respond to First Responders?

First Responders -Goals for your Life

How do you respond to those first responders that bring undesirable comments about your work? Most people, myself included, entertain thoughts of quitting when a negative response is received. This recently happened to me with a seminar I led. After the session, I received many written positive comments from attendees. I also received encouraging emails after the conference thanking me for presenting.

However, when the main organization sent out survey forms, the first responder and only responder who chose to respond to my seminar was extremely negative. In fact, most areas on the survey were rated rather poorly and low by this person.

My first response was defensiveness; even trying to figure out who would send in such a negative response through the organization. I also felt like never presenting another workshop for this conference. It took many hours of preparation for a seminar where I basically donated my time. I had to mentally get beyond this single evaluation and noticed the last comment on the evaluation which was, Didn’t hit what was expected, and needed another approach. At this point, I started asking myself what I could learn from this negative evaluation.

Crippled by Criticism?

I could choose to be crippled by the first responders comments or move forward and make sure I lay out clear objectives for individuals such as this attendee for any future sessions. At the same time, I realize that some first responders with any product, organization or venue will continue to be negative responders. There are some individuals who take it upon themselves to be very vocal and pessimistic and they will never change.

However, I have a choice. I can choose to move forward with graciousness and an attitude of lifelong learning, or an attitude of defensiveness and anger that will cripple my creativity and focus. I choose the first. What choices do you need to make to not be crippled by criticism?

 Deborah Johnson is all about using Creativity to expand your business. Get Unstuck and get rid of Bad Code with the book Bad Code: Overcoming Bad Mental Code That Sabotages Your Life! You can reach Deborah the following ways: Twitter: @DJWorksMusic; YouTube:; Facebook:; Websites:;

Deborah Johnson

About the author

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain® and former president of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. She also hosts the popular podcast "Women at Halftime." Deborah provides tools to create your ideal lifestyle and work at mid-career or during the halftime of life, getting unstuck. You can live your second half fulfilled, focused and free! Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of multiple books, over twenty albums and musicals and speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.

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