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.
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.
- Cue – You want to feel validated by people for something you made.
- Routine – You check your email, stats, comments, shares, etc. and you see that someone favorited, liked, or replied.
- 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.
The Conversation with Chris Ducker
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.