Do you ever feel like it’s never enough? Achieving goal after goal, all you want is more. You want people to recognize you; you want people to realize how damn hard you’re working. You want to be at the top, but once you get there, there is always a new ladder to climb. This chase for validation is not only exhausting, but it leaves us only temporarily satisfied.
So how do we step off the treadmill?
Tune into this week’s episode of The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast to find out!
Read the episode's transcript here:
Have you ever felt this need for validation? Let us know! Do you have a topic or case that you’d like us to talk about? Reach out! We’d LOVE to hear from you, so please email us:
[00:00:05] Kim Ades:
Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™ and the Co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back™. You have just stepped into The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast, and I'd like to introduce to you my incredible, amazing, unbelievably awesome co-host, Ferne Kotlyar. She also happens to be my daughter. Ferne, welcome.
[00:00:29] Ferne Kotlyar:
Hello, hello! For those of you watching online, don't you think we look alike?
[00:00:33] Kim Ades:
Just a little.
[00:00:36] Ferne Kotlyar:
[Laughs] Hello, how are you today?
[00:00:39] Kim Ades:
I'm really great. How are you?
[00:00:42] Ferne Kotlyar:
Also really great. I'm glad to hear it.
[00:00:46] Kim Ades:
Our energy's up, we're in the right zone, so it's a great day for a conversation. What are we talking about today?
[00:00:55] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah! So today I wanted to talk about the idea of constantly needing validation. So you're at work and you work super hard, but you're doing it for kind of a reward. Some award at the end of the year, some financial bonus, whatever it may be. That idea that you work for a reward and you're just never really satisfied until you get it and then you kind of... You get it, you're happy, and then you move on to the next one, the next big target, the next big recognition.
[00:01:30] Kim Ades:
[00:01:30] Ferne Kotlyar:
How do you kind of step off that treadmill?
[00:01:33] Kim Ades:
So are we talking about like a tactical or a tangible sign of your achievement or are we talking about validation from others? Like your boss who gives you a high five or who says "good job". Are we talking– What are we talking about here?
[00:01:50] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, I guess a bit of both. So kind of the big targets, winning whatever award, getting the honor of doing a speaking engagement, whatever it is. But along the way, because those are kind of big steps, along the way little recognitions, like "great job" or "wow that was incredible".
Or at the end you give a presentation and someone gives you feedback and you wanna hear positive feedback. Sure, some construction is helpful, but you need that positivity, otherwise you kind of feel really bad about yourself, you think everybody doesn't like you, you feel like your work isn't being recognized, you question why you're working so hard.
[00:02:32] Kim Ades:
Yeah. So it's interesting because one of the things that we are finding with– because we're doing a lot of work with the young professional market lately with The Journal That Talks Back™, and we are trying to help companies address some of the needs that younger people have that we don't see as prevalently with an older market.
And so, it seems that young professionals have a much, much higher need for that validation. They have a higher need for recognition, they want their work to matter, but they want somebody to tell them that their work matters.
And when they don't hear that positive feedback or any feedback, it really hurts them, it really, really bothers them. And so what we're trying to do is help organizations or leaders in organizations recognize the need for that validation. Having said that... You're about to say something?
[00:03:31] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, I was gonna ask, do you have some sort of prediction of why that might be? You can say no.
[00:03:39] Kim Ades:
I mean, what we see is that young people deal with a lot, right? There's a lot going on. Social media plays a huge role in designing and cultivating their own self image of what is going right in their world. And so they are receiving all these inputs and all of those inputs serve to... They create chatter in their brain.
There's a lot of chatter in a young professional's brain, and a huge amount of that chatter is self-evaluation. "Am I doing okay? Am I liked? Am I valued? Am I fitting in? Am I good enough? Am I smart enough? Am I attractive enough? Am I tall enough? Am I thin enough?" Right? There's this constant chatter going on in their brains, and I would say we all have chatter, but for a young professional we see that it's elevated, it's at a higher level, and that chatter plays funny roles with people.
So if organizations don't understand that that chatter exists and how it serves to play tricks with a young professional, and we're not addressing it, we're missing the boat. So it's really, really important for organizations and leaders in organizations to understand that that's taking place, to understand that there's a whole bunch of self doubt when somebody young starts a new job and is performing and they're looking outside of themselves for that validation.
It's important to keep in mind that that's a requirement that will help keep a young professional engaged and swimming in the right direction. Okay, so having said that, it's torture. It's torture to have a constant need for validation, right? It's hard to live that way. It's hard to be in the body or live the life of a person who's constantly seeking external endorsement. Whether it is from an award or from a high five, doesn't really matter.
If you are not feeling valuable unless you're receiving some kind of acknowledgement, then what you're doing is you're structuring your life such that everybody else is in control of your emotional wellbeing. That's a big, big problem.
So on the one side, we wanna help companies become aware of this need and be sensitive to this need and address this need. On the other side, it's like an empty pit, right? Like, it's a need that is very, very hard to constantly fill. But for that person who has the need for validation all the time, they're living in a state of misery. Right?
So, if your boss looks at somebody else longer than they look at you, or if your boss spends time with, you know, Joanne longer than they spend time with you, or if your boss is acknowledging someone else instead of you, like, that's a big problem.
And so what we wanna do is we wanna fortify this young person who's in constant need of validation and coach them and understand that their wellbeing and their emotional state needs to be separate from that validation, that they have value just because. And of course, they were hired for this job, they have skills, they have value that they're bringing to the table and to relax about it. Right?
So there are two sides to this coin. Side number one is on the side of the employer who needs to be addressing this need for validation. And on the other side, it's the employee who is struggling without validation. And what we wanna do is we wanna help build their emotional resilience so that they are not so dependent on external validation.
[00:07:50] Ferne Kotlyar:
Do you think that that kind of constant need for recognition, do you think it ever helps people accomplish more because they constantly have these goals, this desperate need to be recognized, so they try really hard to accomplish these goals, and they actually accomplish a lot more than someone who doesn't necessarily want that. Of course, at the detriment of their mental health, but do you think that they accomplish more?
[00:08:13] Kim Ades:
Well, that's the thing. So do they accomplish more? I think they accomplish more... Materially, practically, tangibly. But do they live a better life? I would say no.
[00:08:30] Ferne Kotlyar:
But is there kind of a way to have both?
[00:08:32] Kim Ades:
Is there a way to accomplish a lot and live an amazing life? Sure there is. But not when your soul is tortured. If your soul is tortured because you're not getting the validation you want, your life is not in the best place it could be. And so my interest from a coaching standpoint is helping you live a life with greater ease, peace, exhilaration, and joy. And when you do that, you're able to accomplish a lot more without the torture. That's the goal.
So do you need to have that internal friction, that unease in order to accomplish a lot? I would say no, you don't have to have it. You need to have drive, you need to have ambition, you need to have a focus, you need to have resourcefulness. You need to have all of those things. Do you need to have internal strife? I would say no.
[00:09:31] Ferne Kotlyar:
Absolutely. So what would, let's say you were coaching somebody like that, what would kind of be the first steps to tackling this issue? In a broad sense, of course, every person's different, but...
[00:09:41] Kim Ades:
I think it's very important for people to realize their patterns of behavior and their beliefs. Okay? So, when you constantly feel bad, low, distressed, depressed, anxious, when you're not getting external validation, do you realize that it's happening here, here, here, here, here, and here?
First of all, let's look at the pattern. Second of all, let's look at how you feel, and now let's help you understand that the feeling doesn't come from not getting the award. The feeling doesn't come from the fact that your boss went out for lunch with Joanne and not you. The feeling comes from the story you're telling about what it means.
[00:10:24] Ferne Kotlyar:
Tell me more about that.
[00:10:26] Kim Ades:
So if my boss goes out with Joanne, then in my brain that means he doesn't like me as much. It means that I'm not so important. It means that my job is in jeopardy. It means that I'm not doing good work. It means that, right? So I've just made up this whole entire story.
[00:10:44] Ferne Kotlyar:
Sounds like a big extrapolation.
[00:10:46] Kim Ades:
But that's what people do. That's the stuff that creates anxiety. That's exactly that. And so, those beliefs that I've just uncovered are the source of my unhappiness. It's not the events. And so number one is we show the pattern, number two is we teach people about where their emotions come from. Their emotions come from the way they think, their emotions do not come from external events.
[00:11:17] Ferne Kotlyar:
Interesting. And so how do you shift their thinking?
[00:11:21] Kim Ades:
We empower them to say "Hey, you're always feeling bad. Wouldn't it be great if you felt less bad? Wouldn't it be great if you were in control of how you felt instead of your boss?" And I'm just using this as an example, right? And so everybody wants that, and so now they're tuning in, they're paying attention.
[00:11:41] Ferne Kotlyar:
Absolutely. So to kind of sum up what we've spoken about today, the kind of the overarching question was about that need for validation, how do we address that?
Well, I guess on one side, you wanna help companies understand what that need is and that it's really prevalent in a lot of people, a lot of young people particular. And then on the other side, you wanna help those young people kind of step out of that constant need because they're really putting their emotional wellbeing in the hands of somebody else, in the hands of those that give them that validation. But I just wanted to add that– or ask, I guess, is it really just young people or is it...?
[00:12:24] Kim Ades:
It's not just young people, it's all people, it's a lot of people. Some people have a higher need for validation than others, but we find that right now young people have a heightened need for validation.
[00:12:31] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:12:32] Kim Ades:
And really the thing is that when you learn the mechanics of emotions, like when you start to understand that your emotional state is self-driven, you're in control of it, it's in your hands, it's a game changer. It empowers you, it gives you the strength to create more of what you are wanting in your life.
But if you don't understand that and you don't know how to take control over it, then you're left with that feeling of internal torture. And we really don't want people to live a tortured life. We want people to live a wonderful life, feel good in their skin.
[00:13:19] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, absolutely. The other day Adrien... So, we're waiting for his permanent residency card and he's been waiting for two months just for them to send him the card. He got accepted, they just need to send him the card. And we just heard yesterday that they rejected his picture because he was smiling too much when he really– or because he didn't have a neutral expression when he really wasn't.
And he told me and he just like wasn't– he didn't react. He's just like "so I sent them a new picture, like immediate". And I'm like "but aren't you upset?" He's like "Hmm I don't have time for that". I was shocked. I was like, I would be so, so upset. Like just really, really upset. And he wasn't at all and I was so impressed. And one day I'd like to get there.
[00:14:08] Kim Ades:
Good. He's a good influence.
[00:14:09] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:14:10] Kim Ades:
Way to go.
[00:14:10] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:14:11] Kim Ades:
Tell him I gave him a high five for that.
[00:14:14] Ferne Kotlyar:
Okay, I will. He'll need that validation. I'm kidding. [Laughs]
[00:14:19] Kim Ades:
[Laughs] All right, good. So for those of you who sometimes feel like you're really, really looking for external validation and it hurts you when you don't get it, perhaps we should talk. It would be a good time to have a conversation.
Go to frameofmindcoaching.com, we have a link there that enables you to schedule a call with me, actually. So do that. I would love to talk to you again, frameofmindcoaching.com. If you wanna reach me directly, it's Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. And how do they reach you, Ferne?
[00:14:52] Ferne Kotlyar:
Please email me. That's Fernekotlyar@live.com.
[00:14:56] Kim Ades:
All right. Amazing. Thank you guys. We will see you next week. Have a great week.
[00:15:01] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:15:02] Kim Ades: