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Overcoming the Fear of a One-Star Book Review

I had just hung up with Dr. Laura Bush, my book editor. She and I had spent the last hour talking about the structure of my book and bounced ideas around the key points I’d make. I felt a rush of excitement. I was writing a fricken’ BOOK—something I’ve always dreamed of doing. I love watching my favorite books pile on top of my nightstand. I love embodying their teachings. The thought that someone else would feel the same way about my book makes me giddy. 

“Checkout their reviews on Amazon,” my brain randomly suggested. From time to time, I’d surf through reviews of books doing market research, but I hadn’t ever surfed through reviews wondering if other readers felt the same way I did about the book. This time, I was on a mission to peek at their bad reviews. There’s no way the books I love could possibly have negative feedback. 

I quickly typed a title in the search bar. When I clicked on the five golden stars that appeared next to the book, all the reviews unfolded. Each star had an overall percentage that appeared on the right-hand side. Holy smokes! Out of the whopping 4,727 reviews, 2 percent were ONE star. No way! How could other people hate a book that changed my life? I had to investigate. So I clicked. Dozens of lengthy and incredibly passionate one-star reviews popped up on my screen. I felt uneasy. 

“I don’t know what all the hype is about. This book is terrible.” 

Eek. I definitely didn’t agree with this review, but I kept going to the next review. 

“This book was a waste of my time.” Panic quickly erased my excitement. I started searching my absolute top favorite books. They all had readers that didn’t want to finish the 

book or angry consumers. My brain went into overdrive. Shit! What if I got bad reviews? What if people hate my book? Like really, really hate it. What if it’s known for being the biggest face plant in history? 

Tears steamrolled down my face. 

What if I can’t handle the negative feedback? 

Here I am, a multiple seven-figure business owner with thousands of raving client testimonials, daily messages grateful for the work I’ve done for women entrepreneurs, and all I can think about is what the potential worst-case review might be. 

I took three deep, somatic breaths and revisited my fear. 

We carry a belief as entrepreneurs (and in life) that we can get to a place where we don’t feel fear. The truth is you never stop feeling fear; you just learn how to dance with it. 

Innately, I know what I teach and how I teach isn’t for everyone. I know with certainty that some of the information I provide my clients doesn’t land the first time around. I know that some people are so set in their truth that they find it impossible (right now) to coexist with another truth. And I also know that I’m not meant for everyone—and that’s the point: when you’re in alignment with someone, you’re going to be out of alignment with someone else. I witnessed this real time. The books I cherish and recommend, others have despised. No matter how good I thought they were, others very loudly disagreed. 

So, what’s the likelihood I’ll receive a one-star review? Very likely. Now does that mean that I suck, my book sucks, and everything I’ve been doing up until this point has been a waste of time? Hell no. Is it also true that hundreds, if not thousands, of humans are going to pick my book up and it’ll change the trajectory of their life? YUP! 

Multiple truths can exist at once. Instead of focusing on what I don’t want, I’m going to focus my efforts on the readers that align with what I do. Remember, fear doesn’t magically disappear at a certain level of success. Here’s how I’ve learned to move through any of my fears, including the fear of a one-star review: 

Step 1: Feel Your Feelings. 

We are all walking around responding to our trauma. I have deep-seated trauma around not being seen and not being liked. Emotions are intended to move through us: E-motion. Motion. Movement. Have you ever seen toddlers throw a tantrum because they weren’t allowed to stick their finger in an outlet? They scream, yell, and kick until they have nothing left. As a child, you grew older, were told to stop crying and suck it up already or you’d go to your room. You kept burying your feelings until they boiled over and sometimes exploded. Instead of following this pattern, I know my feelings are temporary. Because I know that, I feel them, but I don’t dwell in them. I’m sure they’ll pass. 

Step 2: Ask to See Things differently. 

It’s difficult to welcome a new perspective when your emotions are at their peak. Don’t rush it. Wishing fear or sadness away is silly. The only way to is through. Pray to God, ask The Universe, ask your inner knowing, “How can I see this differently?” I didn’t get an immediate response with my prayer. It took about six hours before it fell into my head. You know that feeling when someone asks you if you remember the name of the kid in kindergarten who threw up during the national anthem and you can’t recall the kid’s name immediately, but it’s resting on the very tip of your tongue? Then out of nowhere the name pops into your head. That’s how this feels. “Make it a chapter” plopped right into my mind when I was riding my 

Peloton. Huh? The whole fear of a one-star review completely left my mind the minute the new thought hit me. HOLY SHIT. Make this drama of me potentially getting a one-star review a chapter. What an amazing idea! If I had tried to wish this fear away, suppress it, or ignore it, I wouldn’t have shared my vulnerable experience with you. 

Step 3: The Worst-Case Scenario 

When we experience fear, we often go to the worst-case scenario. We don’t always realize that we’re already living our worst-case scenario. Most of us fear quitting our 9 to 5 jobs. When really, if it doesn’t work out, you’ll wind up exactly where you are now (back at your 9 to 5 job). The real question is not “Will this happen?” but instead, “Can I handle it if it does?” For me, I had to ask myself if I could handle my worst-case scenario. I didn’t ask myself this question during my heightened emotion. I waited until I could fully see my fear for what it really was: can I handle someone who doesn’t agree with me? 

Ab-so-fucking-lutely.

Melanie Aubert

Melanie Aubert is a corporate dropout turned multi-seven figure CEO. Over the past three years, she has helped hundreds of women entrepreneurs rise to six- and seven-figure incomes by dismantling outdated marketing and sales tactics. Coining the phrase “where massive impact meets big checks,” Melanie has introduced a uniquely feminine, soul-led approach to business. Find out more about Melanie and her Rich Man mission on her website.

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