Where Do You Find Yourself?


Do you seek validation from others?  Maybe you seek validation from a boss, a spouse, a parent.  Some seek validation from an accomplishment, doing a good job, being at the top of the class, getting a promotion.  It’s possible that you identify yourself by the role you play – Computer Engineer, Father, Wife, Daughter, or Chief Bottle Washer.  Those things are a piece of you but not you.  They are not the essence of you.

If you lost that role tomorrow, would you disappear?  If you fail a class and lost your class standing would you implode?  You are you regardless.

Do you define yourself from things outside of yourself?  Many do.

Where does that come from?  I watch people with children today and so much of what is rewarded is “Good Job!”  While the praise goes a long way, as a child feels the love, the child is learning to focus on the fact that they will be ‘good enough’ when something outside of them is ‘good enough’ in other people’s eyes.  It will drive them to external motivation which means they will need someone else to help them accomplish things.

We all have within us the ability to be internally motivated but we wait for someone else.

Instead, has anyone asked you, when you are seeking approval, ‘how do you feel’ about it?  What happens when someone asks you that?  You have to dig deep inside to reach those feelings about the job you just did.

That can be an uncomfortable place for many of us as we learned to be ‘good enough’ for others opinions of what is good enough for them.  Now having said that, it is a fact that we are graded in schools.  We are appraised on the jobs we do at work.

How do we get around it?

Feel proud for who you are, not what you accomplish.  Feel proud and comfortable with how you personally approach a task. Feel proud for how you showed up.  It seems like simple, some what obtuse things but it can help you refocus on who you are, how you would like to be recognized and how you show up when being yourself.

Many are so focused on what everyone else wants and what everyone else thinks that they have a hard time when asked what are your goals, or what is your purpose.  Don’t beat yourself up.  You probably have never thought about it because you were never asked.  It’s okay that someone doesn’t like your work.  If you show up with confidence that your work is good, you can then have a discussion about some of the things that they don’t like without taking it personally.  It’s not you that they don’t like.  It’s not you they are critcizing.  You are not the work, you did the work.

So every time you do something, finish a task, write an email, take a moment.  Look at what you did.  How do you feel about it?  Does it represent you?  Is it your voice talking through the project? if so, then reach your right arm up in the air, bend at the elbow and reach down and pat yourself on the back!


Comments are closed.