Weekend Star Article: You Are Enough, You Do Not Need Validation

 

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If you’ve lived long enough, you’ll relate to a person’s need for validation. Subconsciously or not, we’re always asking, “I’m I doing okay?” We go about life wondering if we’re getting it right. At each turn, we look out for signs – from loved ones, institutions and other sources – that confirm we’re doing well.

We’re energized by the assurance from what we consider credible sources and frustrated by the lack of affirming words or action.

That said; when should we be affirmed? When do we qualify for the pat on the back?

 

The Lie and Struggle

Our fast-paced modern culture communicates a clear message: do more, be more, get more. We call it: ‘the grind’, ‘the rat race’, ‘the hustle’ – whatever the term – the idea is to constantly break your own record because your life depends on it.

Get a degree, get a job, get married, get kids, buy a home, get more degrees, get a better job, move to a nicer neighbourhood, climb the corporate ladder, climb higher – and the demands never end. Is it ever enough? When at each peak, you’re told to do more.

I’m for hard work and attaining higher levels, but my concern is the nagging inadequacy that people experience with success – a situation where success becomes the struggle.

Society lies to you that you will be worthy of respect (or be enough) as a human being only when you achieve (and keep achieving) higher goals – and not before. It’s a lie because the goal post is constantly shifting. You achieve a milestone only to have another set before you. It can be exhausting when your value as a person is tied to getting or being more.

This lie creates undue pressure. For many, the pressure mounts daily because they’re convinced that they must first acquire more stuff before self-worth is conferred on them. So they grind away, getting more, hardly content and still feel unworthy.

 

See Your Worth

Contentment is the belief that you are enough as a human being at each point in life as you work hard at getting better and attaining higher levels.

For instance, I have a bachelor’s degree and currently pursuing my MBA. But before I get my graduate degree, I appreciate who I am now.

I am adequate and secure in my person as I push for better. Before the MBA, my worth is in place. I make the MBA, it doesn’t make me. Right now, I am enough as a person.

Some people achieve goal after goal and remain confused about their adequacy as persons. It’s a tough place to be because you’re blinded to who you are, what you’ve done and what you already have.

 

Enjoy Where You Are

If no one has told you (or you probably need reminding), I would like to clearly state that: YOU ARE ENOUGH! Yes, YOU. So far, you’ve done well and I appreciate the person that you’ve become in your journey. Right now, you are a person of value. It’s not dependent on how much more you achieve, but the fact that you’re a human being – and that’s enough!

You’re not yet a billionaire, but you’re a millionaire (or not) – for now, that’s enough! You may not be the perfect parent or spouse, but you work hard to improve – that’s enough. You work hard on your job and you’re getting better – that’s enough. Appreciate and enjoy where you are as you plot the next level. Celebrate who you are now and what you’ve attained as you grow. You are enough!

 

 

Hard Work Isn’t Ebola

Supple2Ebola hit parts of West Africa (Liberia, Sierra Leone, etc) and it was devastating. Many people died and life changed as they knew it; very sad indeed. The crazy disease brought economies to a halt.

Just like Ebola killed folks, some people believe that hard work would have the same effect on them. They feel that committing to a course and paying the price for a worthy goal would somehow diminish their person.

From me to you with love: hard work will not kill you. Only do it smartly and you’ll be fine. It’s OK to increasingly give your best in order to achieve your goal.

I almost feel silly writing this post because it’s something we should all understand or so it seems. However, laziness in the 21st century is sophisticated and technology is the excuse. This attitude tries to convince us that hard work is obsolete – forgetting that someone worked hard to make success visible.

Technology is great and social media is fantastic, but none will be a substitute for smart, hard work. Instead, hard workers use technology to achieve more in shorter time. Get with the program and up your game!

The Making of an Entrepreneur

HouseBroadly speaking, four key elements shape the entrepreneur. They are:

  • An Idea

It starts here. It’s the moment that your mind is invaded by an idea; a thought. It happens to the entrepreneur and things are never the same.

The ‘aha’ or ‘light-bulb’ moment captures the dreamer and opens up possibilities. No entrepreneur escapes this.

  • Courage

It’s called ‘having-balls’.

Not many people get here. At this point, you’ve mustered or developed the will power, inner strength and resolve to actually do the idea. It’s on!

  • Perseverance

Every idea is challenged; tested for validity. It’s more like the universe trying to confirm your resolve. Sometimes the test gets intense; that’s why effective dreamers press on to make their idea happen.

  • Perspective

You’ve moved from the idea, grown some ‘balls’ to make it happen, fought the good fight…now that you have your baby, it’s important for entrepreneurs to take some time to put things in proper perspective.

To do this, we archive all the wisdom found on the journey. We learn, grow and change. We’re wiser, stronger and better, ready to do it all over again.

Mistakes: An Entrepreneur’s Learning Opportunity

MistakesThere’s a strong link between mistakes and perfection. For one, every form of perfection was made by imperfect hands – art, music, architecture – every single perfect work was born by imperfect souls.

People who attained high levels of mastery did so by making mistakes – and lots! Hence, perfection is effective imperfection.

In my experience, entrepreneurs hate making mistakes. We want to get it right the first time – always. Sadly, our flawed nature gets in the way and creates an uncomfortable itch that constantly reminds us of our limits. It can be annoying.

Despite our mistakes, we can still be functional if we understand that: perfection is the creative use of our flaws.

When a 3year old makes mistakes, an adult’s typical response is a smile acknowledging the cuteness of the child’s ignorance. In the grownup’s mind, the kid is yet to understand how the world works. The infant is quickly forgiven.

Generally, what we forget as adults is the importance of mistakes. We rarely have systems in place to accommodate and utilize them.

Making mistakes is how entrepreneurs grow. In fact, the presence of mistakes is a sign of growth.

Be Solid!

BeSolid2A few decades ago, marketing was not as broad as it is today. You had a handful of TV, radio and print outlets and a well produced commercial could run at prime time and would reach everyone. Now, there are niche and segment markets, making specialization essential.

In specializing, a business must be very clear on what it can easily deliver or risk the loss of credibility. This principle also applies in leadership. Your offering has to be precise and focused or folks may unfollow you.

You probably are not the best at everything, but what can you deliver effortlessly and consistently? In what ways can people count on you without fear? What aspects of life are you solid in? I see good leaders who look bad because they dabble into areas of weak delivery, make promises and constantly fail people while ignoring their place of strength.

I am a writer. I write every day. I have poured in the hours necessary to develop my gift and I can deliver effortlessly every time without fail. When it comes to writing, I am solid and have credibility.

The War Within: Professional Development Vs Personal Growth

OnecoinEveryone has two faces. They are: the personal and professional face; who you are and what you do. Usually, they’re nonidentical and creating sameness requires hard work.

The pressures of work life often force the individual to focus on professional development and success at the expense of personal growth. You’ll find someone who’s a great investment banker, but has a nasty personality or an amazing surgeon, but untrustworthy. Folks feel the need to increase professional capacity alone because their survival depends on it.

Sadly, it’s costly to ignore any aspect of you. The uncouth professional eventually makes his life difficult because people want to be treated with respect while the incompetent but polite worker is unhealthy to the firm’s bottom-line. Balance is essential.

Honestly, attaining balance is not the easiest task. This is why people lose interest because the demand on their time leaves little or no room for both sides. They find themselves having to choose.

It’s tough, but it can be done. First, acknowledge the need; see why it matters. Then, search for systems that can help you – a book, coaching program, a class or group, etc. Now, take it slow. It’s a journey!

The Rise Of Social Misfits

SFMOMA is ClosingSecurity, peace, stability, “don’t-rock-the-boat”, certainty, a good job – it all sounds like 1975 or years back when folks were advised to go to college, get a great job and raise a wonderful family. What makes you think it’s different now?

Anyone who went against the established standard was declared a social misfit. You had to have lost your mind.

I recall discussing my ‘big dreams’ (in my teens) with an uncle who promptly warned against my leaning. He was afraid to witness the emergence of another heretic. “Fulfillment is only a passing emotion. Don’t buy into that thinking”, were his words. It was too late.

With heightened uncertainty, people still frantically look for the safety net. At a point, the ‘adventure-juice’ is sucked out of them by real life, bills and their daily job demands. In the process, the dreamer dies.

Social misfits now face the same challenges that their counterparts endured in 1975.

~THE SAFETY MYTH

The 2008 global financial crisis proved to the world that when the going gets rough, it’s possible that – not even an Ivy League education can save you. Fault lines in the comfort zone were evident. Security never felt so unsafe. It was a mess!

These days, safe feels more like scary. As a result, depression is now a normal state for many people. Some mental health professionals believe that a good number of folks have no idea that they’re depressed…it’s that normal. Simply making it through the day seems to be the preferred success story.

If safety means daily living in fear, count me out! If it means waking up every morning to go to a job that I hate, I’m not interested. I know the bills have to be paid, but there’s got to be a better way.

~THE NEW SAFE

What does the future hold for you? What do you see? Does it make you nervous? Where do you find certainty?

These are troubling questions.

More so because global changes are happening at a mind-boggling speed and the face of safe is constantly altered.

So what’s the way forward?

Difference!

That’s the new safe.

In order to deal with the crazy state of things, playing it safe has been proven ineffective. This is the time to not fit in. Become a social misfit.

The pressure of modern times is pushing humanity to the place where people have to dig deeper within to find real solutions to the challenges that they face.

This is the wrong time to be like everyone else because challenges appear with amazing complexities; we have to dig deep and this is close to impossible when we’re busy living factory-fitted lives.

Fitting in sucks! I tried it – didn’t work for me. In the process of trying to squeeze into a mould, we ignore our uniqueness (our greatest wealth). We buy into the lies that, who we really are, cannot thrive in this world. We die within…now, that sucks more!