“When you need validation, you use people for it.”
– Carol Dweck, MINDSET: The New Psychology of Success
How Would You Respond?
- Do you tell your partner you love them multiple times a day because you simply want to share it or because you need to hear it back?
- Do you throw yourself into your job because you’re passionate about it or because you’re avoiding dealing with the real issues in your life and the accolades you receive at work make you feel valued?
- Do you acknowledge constructive feedback as an opportunity to learn how someone perceives you or do you fight back and defend your image?
- Do you constantly speak up in meetings or a classroom because you have value to add to the conversation or because you’re trying to prove how smart you are?
Let’s Face It. . .
Many of us hustle for validation. I recently attended Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend and Oprah shared that even the most famous people will lean over after an interview and ask, “So, how was it? Was that okay?” Validation is a necessary component in our lives but it has dangerous consequences when we start hustling other people for it.
What I’ve Learned About Validation:
- We all have a human need to be affirmed emotionally – to know that we matter.
- Validation is a necessary component of love and belong. When two people are giving in a relationship their love is full of validation.
- Praising an individual’s efforts and choices creates a growth-mindset whereas praising intellect or talent creates a limited-mindset.
- The need for validation becomes unhealthy the moment you need the feedback to affirm who you are and validate your ego’s self-created image.
- Your intent will always confirm whether you are hustling people for validation or not.
- Many people don’t validate themselves so they use other people for it.
- The dangerous side-effect to validation is that it acts like a drug you use to prove how smart you are, how attractive you are, how hard of a worker you are, or how good of a partner you are.
- Your constant need for validation becomes exhausting for the people around you and for yourself.
Real-Life Examples of the Need for Validation
- Look on Facebook or dating apps today and you’ll see picture after picture of people pimping out their bodies in their desire to be liked.
- Listen to an argument between a couple and you’ll notice an individual listening to be right vs. listening to understand.
- Listen to a team meeting in many of the Fortune 500 companies and you’ll hear leaders who dominate the conversation and foster a negative culture of groupthink.
There Is a Different Way
- First, you have to become aware that you are hustling other people for validation. So ask yourself, “What actions and responses am I hustling others for as a need to feel better about myself?”
- Second, awareness always gives birth to responsibility: the responsibility to make a different choice going forward.
- Third, take Taco Bell’s CEO Greg Creed’s advice: “Quit trying to prove that you belong and act like you belong.” People who act like they belong show up every day as their authentic selves – flaws and all. They allow themselves to be fully seen. The intent behind their actions is a need to honor their voice and contribute to the greater good. People who try to prove they belong are often driven by their ego and the intent behind their actions is a desire for the three Ps: praise, promotion, and/or pleasure.
- Finally, start today be learning to validate yourself. One of the best ways to do that is by rewriting your “I Am ____________.” Joel Osteen did a sermon called The Power of I Am and he says, “What follows these two simple words will determine what kind of life you live…The I AMs that come out of your mouth will bring you success or bring you failure…What follows the I AM will always come looking for you.”
- Write your three I AM statements today and post them where you see and say them every day.
Remember: you cannot transform your life until you transform your mindset. When you start to use the power of I AM for your favor you’ll stop hustling other people for it instead.