This message is for any wedding pro who’s afraid to go for what you REALLY want because of what people will think.

Earlier this month, Jeff and I presented at the Wedding MBA before over 1,000 wedding professionals. It was by far the largest audience we’ve ever addressed in person.

(Jeff’s thoughts just before going onstage: “Don’t throw up. Be confident. Don’t crap your pants.”)

I felt pretty good about our presentation and our performance. Jeff didn’t lose control of any of his bodily functions and we got some good laughs.

Then we got our Survey Results. *Gulp*

We got some great feedback…and some not so great feedback. We got called “cheesy” more than once, and one respondent even said they had to walk out because our presentation “just wouldn’t start!”

Truth #1 – Negative feedback hurts and tends to steal all the attention.

Of course, there were dozens of positive comments in there, too. But the ones that struck my heart like flaming arrows were the negative ones.

Do you know what I mean?

Any time we really, really care about something, it’s scary launching that into the world because when someone doesn’t like it, it hurts. And someone isn’t going to like it. Guaranteed.

Truth #2 – You have to put yourself out there if you want to reach more people, but the more you do, the more criticism you get.

Our couples rarely gave us negative feedback. In 13 years of weddings I remember TWO not-completely-happy customers. (Of course, they still haunt me…)

Now at Book More Brides, we’re exposed to thousands of wedding vendors every month. Some of them love us, and some of them hate our guts.

Truth #3 – If you really want to make a difference, be your bold, authentic self…but be ready when the haters come out of the woodwork.

You’ll reach more people and get to make a real impact on the world. You’ll have more supporters than ever before, and more critics, too.

I can only imagine what it’s like to be under constant public scrutiny like President Obama, Rush Limbaugh or even Miley Cyrus. They have entire websites devoted to ripping them apart! And they’re also an inspiration to thousands or even millions of people.

If you’ve been holding back about putting your true passion out there because “some people won’t like it,” you’re right. Not everyone is going to like what you do. Not everyone is going to appreciate who you are and what makes you special.

But when you let your light shine brightly into the world, you will draw fans to you like a beacon. The brides and grooms who are the right match for you will find your authenticity irresistible, and you will attract amazing opportunities into your life.

Hey, I definitely don’t have this one nailed yet. Every negative criticism echoes in my head. But I’m learning to accept it, let it go and refocus on the positive impact I want to have in the world.

The secret to changing the world is courageously being the change that you want to see.

The best fruit is found when you “climb out on the skinny branches.” And it’s the scariest thing you may ever do in your life, but it’s also the best feeling you’ll ever have, realizing that you CAN do it and that you ARE making a difference.

So don’t give up!

You don’t have to dive into the deep end today. Just take one small step that makes you just a little uncomfortable.

Be a little more true to yourself today than you were yesterday, even if that’s as simple as telling someone the truth when they ask, “How are you?” instead of automatically answering that you’re, “Fine.”

What do you think?