Jason Liem explains how to transcend the cycle of seeking validation and emerge as a genuinely resilient professional

Over the last few years, I’ve collected common mindsets from my coaching practice with clients from a broad spectrum of life and society. These collections of mindsets are soberingly ubiquitous and commonplace. Unfortunately, these mindsets spring from the self-critical voice that we all carry around. You know this voice – the one that suffocates your self-confidence, fortifies your self-doubt, and fills your head with ruminative thoughts.

I’ve gathered them into a format called The Contrarian’s Playbook: The Common Mindsets Ignored by Resilient People. In this article, I want to explore a prevalent non-resilient mindset: Play #11 – External Validation: The True Measure of Self-Worth. Resilient people learn to take the contrarian approach to Play #11 and balance external validation with inner approval.

The Client

Fulvia, a talented marketing manager, was entrusted with launching a high-stakes campaign for her company. The pressure was immense, and she sought validation from her colleagues and superiors at every step. She meticulously crafted her strategy, hoping for their approval and receiving mixed feedback. This constant cycle of seeking external validation left her feeling overwhelmed and doubting her decisions.

Our coaching journey began with exploring the idea of inner approval. Our sessions taught Fulvia that her self-worth shouldn’t hinge on others’ opinions. She delved into self-discovery, identifying her core values, strengths, and unique qualities. This introspection became her compass, guiding her decisions with authenticity and confidence.

The turning point came when Fulvia encountered a pivotal decision point in the campaign’s development. Instead of seeking immediate validation from her colleagues, she stepped back. She evaluated the situation through her newfound self-awareness and embraced her inner approval. She made choices aligned with her values, regardless of potential criticism.

As the campaign unfolded, Fulvia encountered challenges and setbacks that are typical of marketing. However, her approach had shifted. Rather than seeking validation after each hurdle, she turned inward for reassurance. She acknowledged her accomplishments and progress, independent of external praise. This internal validation was a wellspring of confidence, enabling her to weather uncertainties with a steady resolve.

Fulvia’s interactions with her team also evolved. With her newfound authenticity and self-assurance, she fostered more genuine connections. She provided support without compromising her well-being, recognising that her value wasn’t tied to others’ opinions. Even when facing constructive criticism, she received it with openness, filtering the feedback through her values and aspirations.

Fulvia transformed her professional journey by personally tailoring Play #11 from The Contrarian’s Playbook. She no longer felt compelled to fit into molds defined by others. Instead, Fulvia embraced her unique narrative and approached challenges with resilience. As her campaign concluded, she celebrated her accomplishments based not on external accolades but on her cultivated inner approval.

Fulvia’s story is a testament to the power of seeking validation from within. Through self-discovery and the practice of inner approval, she navigated the intricate landscape of her career with authenticity, confidence, and unwavering resilience. Her journey highlights that by prioritising internal approval, individuals can move beyond the cycle of seeking external validation and, in doing so, emerge as truly resilient professionals.

The Knowledge

In the dynamic landscape where external opinions and societal expectations often sway, Fulvia’s journey exemplifies the power of shifting to inner validation. As an experienced executive coach, I’ve witnessed how the contrarian approach to resilience guided Fulvia towards a profound shift, urging her to shift her focus inward and cultivate a robust sense of inner approval.

Fulvia’s story underscores the impact of seeking validation from within rather than perpetually seeking external affirmation. In a world where approval-seeking can trap us in a cycle of perpetual discontent, Fulvia’s resilience blossomed when she grasped that her proper foundation lay within. She navigated the complexities of her career with a newfound understanding that her self-worth is rooted in her judgment, grounded in a deep awareness of her values, strengths, and distinctive qualities.

The essence of Play #11 unfolded as Fulvia embarked on self-discovery and introspection. Through our sparring sessions, I guided her through practices that cultivated self-awareness and self-compassion. Through this process, she learned to validate her accomplishments and decisions, unburdened by the sway of others’ opinions. This wellspring of self-assuredness enabled her to maintain confidence despite the unpredictable tides of external circumstances.

Fulvia’s transformation underscored her choice to disregard the constant need for validation from others. This shift unlocked a path to authentic growth and a more accurate understanding of herself. She gracefully sidestepped the emotional roller coaster that often accompanies seeking approval. It’s essential to clarify that this contrarian perspective isn’t about dismissing constructive feedback or isolating herself from others’ viewpoints. Instead, it’s about filtering external input through the lens of one’s values and aspirations.

In her relationships, Fulvia’s evolution was evident in her healthier dynamics. Armed with the wisdom of inner approval, she offered genuine support to others without compromising her well-being. She understood that her value was distinct from the ever-shifting opinions of others, allowing her to foster authentic connections. This transformation equipped her to face criticism and setbacks with resilience, free from the emotional turmoil that would have once derailed her.

Fulvia’s narrative echoes the invitation of this contrarian approach – to release the shackles of conformity and embrace the power to author her narrative. With inner approval as her compass, Fulvia made choices aligned with her values and stood firm in her uniqueness. Through this shift, she encountered life’s challenges with an unwavering sense of self-worth and authenticity, a testament to the power of taking the contrarian interpretation of Play #11 – that is, cultivating inner approval and not solely relying on external approval.

The Lesson

As an experienced executive coach, I’ve been honoured to accompany professionals through outstanding growth. Fulvia’s story embodies the core of making healthy changes. In a world that often fixates on external opinions and societal acceptance, Fulvia’s experience is a testament to the power of turning inward for validation and cultivating authentic resilience.

Take-Home Insights

The trap of validation-seeking

Resilient individuals acknowledge the pitfalls of constantly seeking validation externally – dependence on others’ opinions, self-doubt, and a sense of inadequacy. Prioritising inner approval fosters a more stable foundation.

Balancing act

Fulvia’s relentless pursuit of validation led to anxiety and second-guessing. Transitioning to inner approval allowed her to celebrate achievements and embrace room for growth.

Turning setbacks into catalysts

Fulvia’s pivotal moment of realisation stemmed from a challenging campaign that shook her validation-centric approach. Setbacks act as catalysts for transformation and self-discovery.

A shift in perspective

Embracing inner approval necessitates acknowledging imperfections and understanding that genuine growth thrives without constant external validation.

Nurturing the growth mindset

The growth mindset propels individuals to prioritise progress over perfection. It encourages learning from experiences, viewing setbacks as stepping stones, and celebrating small victories.

Essential principles

In reading about Fulvia’s journey, I urge you to explore your own pursuit of external validation. Fulvia’s story underscores the significance of cultivating a growth-oriented mindset, embracing imperfections, and elevating progress as the cornerstone of resilience.

Jason W Birkevold Liem helps people to think about their thinking so they are better at managing themselves, others and situations. He achieves this through an informative and engaging process that educates people about the brain, cognitive psychology and ... (Read More)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *