“The woman who doesn’t require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.”
“Everybody is looking for validation, no matter who you are, and I think that’s a need of the human condition – to look for affection or recognition or validation.”
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
It would be silly to suggest you don’t.
If you type in ‘seeking validation’ in google you get about 341,000 results in about .57 seconds and … well … they are almost all about ‘approval seeking behaviors you need to stop. ’
Basically what this means is that if you went solely by what you could find online you could quite possibly think that you should simply ‘damn the torpedoes and go full speed ahead without anyone’s approval or validation at any point in the trip.”
Basically this suggests “fuck what other people think … fuck approval.”
That seems slightly out of whack from reality to me.
I am not going to suggest you should be waiting around for someone to validate your behavior or your existence … but … it kinda seems to make some sense to receive at least some validation ‘nudges’ on occasion.
Maybe just to make sure your head hasn’t got too big … or too small.
Maybe just to make sure you are still … well … doing the right things and making the right decisions.
You absolutely should not assess self-worth from solely from external validation. That is not only crazy but basically means you are chasing Life and not leading Life.
All I am suggesting is that external validation, when viewed as some sign posts in your Life road, ain’t a bad thing.
And, yes, even good external validation can be tricky.
Most people seek validation <for who they are, their behavior, response to a situation> because they worry they cannot be objective … that they might be prejudiced by their own beliefs.
We are all influenced in some degree by our own personal perspective on things.
But here is the big problem looming in front of you if you do not trust yourself because of this self-distrust … you are then assuming the external validators will actually be objective themselves.
99% of the time that is a really really bad assumption.
You may assume that they don’t have the same prejudices as you.
They most likely don’t have the same things at ‘stake’ so are at least one step removed from any natural stress of the situation.
They will definitely have their own prejudices, perceptions, beliefs and attitudes.
While we all want that occasional validation from someone else because we consciously discount our own feelings, perceptions and opinions … you have to be careful to not make someone an expert even if they aren’t qualified to actually be an expert.
Here is what I know about validation and business leadership.
Decision making Validation.
Even the best decision makers can get slightly overwhelmed. Not overwhelmed in terms of “I cannot make any more decisions” but rather ‘it is hard to reflectively assess decisions when smothered in decisions’ <note: this is important because most great decision makers adapt and assess contextual learnings>.
Part of what makes good decision makers good is decisiveness once decision has been made. Occasional validation maintains the decisiveness muscle.
You will need it on occasion if you are in a leadership role with responsibility.
This one varies by person.
Some people need this a lot — kind of like every day.
One last thought on leadership validation.
And this validation can be required in a variety of ways … maybe you want to make sure you aren’t too much of an asshole, maybe you want to make sure you are communicating effectively … maybe you just want a general sense that people think you are doing an okay job as a leader.
The worst business leaders look for shallow validation – better than predecessor, well liked, ‘strong’, etc. they tend to seek a linear ‘cause & effect’ validation which tends to reside in the ‘look who is at the door’ type feedback.
The best business leaders look for deeper validation – the organization is optimistic, vision is embraced, confident of future success. They tend to seek what I call “ripple validation” which tends to reside on the horizon type feedback.
We all need some validation on occasion.
And I get a little concerned when the only advice out there is about ‘how to ditch approval seeking behaviors.’
I kind of wish we had more ‘effective ways to gain some validation to maintain effectiveness’ type advice.
Because we all need some validation on occasion.