Processing Praise, Ignoring Crickets & Why We Need Validation

Processing Praise, Ignoring Crickets & Why We Need Validation

As I was listening to this conversation Chase and Chris Ducker were having (the audio of which is below this post), it made me think of something all entrepreneurs struggle with.

There is a feeling of validation that we all expect to feel whenever we share or publish something online.

You know the feeling. You finally hit publish on a blog post, send an email newsletter, or even post a photo on Instagram and then there is silence.

You wait, hoping that people will like, retweet, reply, comment, share or do other vanity metrics.

You want to be validated. You want your ideas to resonate with other people, your wit and humor to be laughed at, and your completely original airplane wing photo to go viral.

But why? Is it normal? And how do you make it stop? That’s what we’ll discuss in this essay.

Chris’s Story

In the audio conversation below, Chris talks about how it took him a while to feel validated from what he was doing online.

At first he was getting no comments, no traffic, and no momentum.

He even talks about how he felt that during a pivot he made rebranding from Virtual Business Lifestyle to a personal brand domain: ChrisDucker.com.

He wanted external validation from his audience and peers that the change he made was the right one. (I’ve had the same exact feeling after a similar change too.)

Even though he knew it was the change he wanted to make. Even though he had worked with Corbett over a few months to make it happen.

He still wanted validation.

Why You Want to Be Validated

Validation is normal. You want to be loved, liked, and appreciated. It is human.

Here is what Oprah Winfrey said about validation on the finale of her show after 25 seasons and over 4,500 episodes.

“I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted validation. If I could reach through this television and sit on your sofa or sit on a stool in your kitchen right now, I would tell you that every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire. They want to know: ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?’

Understanding that one principle, that everybody wants to be heard, has allowed me to hold the microphone for you all these years with the least amount of judgment. Now I can’t say I wasn’t judging some days. Some days, I had to judge just a little bit. But it’s helped me to stand and to try to do that with an open mind and to do it with an open heart. It has worked for this platform, and I guarantee you it will work for yours. Try it with your children, your husband, your wife, your boss, your friends. Validate them. ‘I see you. I hear you. And what you say matters to me.’” ― Oprah Winfrey

You see? Movie stars, politicians, professional athletes, and everyone in between wanted validation and that is what pushed them to achieve.

How to Self-Validate What You Make

Now, validation in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In my opinion the addiction to needing to receive it is though.

Checking your stats, comments, or shares can become your default action when you are bored or switching between tasks.

How many times have you refreshed or reloaded something when you know it was just updated a few seconds ago? That is exactly what the feeling of validation I’m talking about feels like.

What you need to do instead is replace that habit with another, positive habit.

Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, discusses in his book how you can’t just quit a bad habit, you have change it.

“Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.” ― Charles Duhigg

So let’s break this validation habit down.

  1. Cue – You want to feel validated by people for something you made.
  2. Routine – You check your email, stats, comments, shares, etc. and you see that someone favorited, liked, or replied.
  3. Reward – You feel validated and good about what you’ve created/shared.

What you need is change up the routine step.

What Chris says in this chat (and I’m paraphrasing here) is, “After that pivot you need that validation… I’m to the point in my career where I have pretty thick skin. I don’t need to show my expertise. I know I know my stuff. Deep down I know that. When I produce a piece of content that doesn’t get many comments I’m not overly concerned by it.”

Know that what you are creating is what you should be making and have that be your validation, not whether some stranger leaves a comment, double taps a photo, or clicks retweet.


When you share something and feel the need to be validated, look inward, not to vanity metrics.
  or copy + Facebook


The Conversation with Chris Ducker


Chris DuckerBlogger, founder of Virtual Staff Finder, and author of the new book Virtual Freedom. Note: There is colorful language in this chat.

A special thanks to Chris Ducker for having this candid conversation with Chase about his new book (of which we have a special offer below), pivoting to new branding, and his love of Larry Bird.


Sparkline / Fizzle Special Offer:

Chris has put together a special little offer just for readers of The Sparkline. If you order just ONE copy of Virtual Freedom on Amazon by 12-midnight today, April 1, Chris has generously offered to give you the bundle that was available for pre-ordering five books, for purchasing just one. This includes the following:

  • Virtual Freedom Book (sent from Amazon).
  • 3 Additional Case Studies not included in the book.
  • Access to the Reader-Only section of the book website.
  • 35-Page Companion Workbook ($27 value).
  • 5-Video Training Series exclusive to book readers only ($197 value).

All you need to do to get access to all your bonuses (which will be released April 15, if not a little earlier!), is simply forward a copy of your receipt to Chris’ hard-working PA, Jam at jam@chrisducker.com and put the word SPARKLINE in the subject line!

Remember, this is a limited offer. You must order on Amazon before 12-midnight today, April 1, 2014.

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  • Carolyn Mycue

    Whoa! Great info and a generous offer to boot! Thanks so much Chris & Caleb!

  • http://apragmaticpath.com Stephen Mueller

    Nice article. I have to agree with our natural and unending desire for validation from others. I think this is what pushed me to give up using social media for a year, but now that I have come back I notice some of those same feelings I saw before, all of which point for a desire for other people to validate what I am doing.

    I think being aware of this definitely helps. Often times when I notice that I am looking for validation, I can break myself out of it.

    • Caleb Wojcik

      Completely agree. I’m doing a test right now of not following anyone on Twitter or Instagram just so I can break the “idle moment, must check something” habit.

  • http://www.joebeckman.com Joe_Beckman1

    Great post! Part of this concept, in my mind, is about control. We want to control so much (including other’s validation of us) and we forget to believe everything that you wrote in your final paragraph. As Byron Katie says, “how do I know the wind should blow?…it’s BLOWING.” Trust that things are happening for a reason and that we’re important and good enough simply for producing the work, not good enough because we get a ton of comments.

    • Caleb Wojcik

      Exactly Joe. Internal validation. Love it.

  • http://www.TheSpreadsheetGuru.com/ Chris Macro

    This article really hit home for me. I am constantly checking my email for notifications or checking my site stats. All of this just causes noise throughout my work schedule and wastes a TON of time that could be used doing something productive! One method I am currently implementing is using a calendar to schedule a set time where I am “allowed” to check my email or site stats. It’s so hard to follow but it’s already helping a bunch! Way to keep pumping out great/practical stuff!

    • Caleb Wojcik

      Setting aside a time of day to do the exact things that distract you (like email or stat checking) is a great solution! What are you going to do when the urge strikes to do those things though?

      • http://www.TheSpreadsheetGuru.com/ Chris Macro

        One thing that has helped me is actually logging out of my accounts. That way I actually have to put in effort to see that addicting data! Usually it’s enough of a delay to make me realize that I’ve got to stick to my schedule.

        • Caleb Wojcik

          Perfect! Deleting the apps, putting them in folders, and removing the automatic login are all great ways.

  • http://www.herviewphotography.com/ Darlene Hildebrandt

    I already have the book, it arrived yesterday. Can I still get any of the bonuses offered??

  • Faith Watson

    This was a really great offer. I followed up on it yesterday, and emailed Jam–were we supposed to get a confirmation or response back in any way? (I didn’t) Or maybe that that is on the way…

    • Caleb Wojcik

      I’ll email Jam this comment and ask. I’m sure they’re swamped on launch day.

      • Faith Watson

        I am sure also, but I was thinking there would be an acknowledgment. Since there was a timing deadline, I didn’t want to miss out b/c of a missed email–I could resend/fwd a copy if necc. Thanks Caleb!

    • Caleb Wojcik

      FYI, I asked Jam she said “All bonuses will be sent on April 15″.

  • http://www.kevinbradberry.net/ Kevin Bradberry

    I heard Chris on Pat Flynn’s podcast and expected him to look older. Hmph.

    • Chase Reeves

      HA HA HA!

      • http://www.kevinbradberry.net/ Kevin Bradberry

        Mmmm, validation.

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    At the end of the day we have to remember why we’re doing this and who we’re doing this for.

    • Caleb Wojcik

      Exactly.

  • Caleb Wojcik

    Awesome! Twice a day is a reasonable number for that.

  • Anthony Newman

    Awesome article, Caleb! And a great chat between Chris and Chase, as well. I have struggled with a need for validation my whole life. Even as i sit here now, this need worms its way into my day job. My first venture into blogging was largely a journal-style site where I talked about myself. When I got that first comment, I felt the RUSH that comes along with it, knowing that someone out there cares about something I wrote. Contrarily, there was some of my best, deepest-dug stuff on there that went largely ignored. I literally sat there some nights after clicking Publish, refreshing and waiting for comments that didn’t come.

    The struggles laid out in this article are definitely things I’ll have to work on if I want to be successful. Great stuff! You’ve given us a lot to think about.

Up Next:

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