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Internal vs External Validation

“Your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.”

I read this quote on a friend’s profile today and it struck me – how many times have I not moved forward with something because of needing everyone’s validation that it is the right thing to do?

The Need For Validation

I managed to strike up a 30 min conversation with the cashier at FedEx this past week – her friend had just lost his job and she was also stuck in the chaos of wondering why she was here and what job could fit her diverse abilities. As we talked, I realized that ultimately, what was stopping her was her need for validation.

Instead of starting from “What is it that I love doing”, she started from “What is it that people believe I am good at?”. Instead of starting from a position of internal strength, she started from a position of external dependency. The truth of the matter is that your business is your business.

Only you can define what it is you want to do and what you love doing. From an outside perspective, you may appear to be good at this skill or enjoy doing that activity, but that perception is due to more factors than solely true enjoyment. It is based on what your overall attitude is, your mood you are presenting, which side of the bed you woke up on that day, etc.

Internally, however, you can shed all those other factors and look at the only thing that matters: what do you really want?

Once you have determined as close as possible, what it is you want to promote within yourself, that is the right time to start seeking others opinions. However, the objective of this is not to gain validation on whether you are choosing the right path or not, but to gain information from others on how to achieve your desire. Learning from others mistakes or having potential issues to watch out for is invaluable.
Make your decisions from a position of internal strength, starting today. Reflect internally and build your conviction before allowing others to influence your decisions.