The One Person Whose Good Opinion You Need
Let me ask you …
Do you care what other people think of you?
Do you wonder if someone will notice and compliment your new haircut or phone or car?
Do you tell people about your writing dreams in hopes they’ll respond with an animated, “Go for it! You can do it! You were born for this!”
Because if you do …
That’s cool. It’s normal. We all do it.
But it can go south quickly if you’re not careful.
You see, at the root of it, caring about others’ opinions and wanting approval is really about seeking validation.
And overall, validation is a good thing.
Validation can be a healthy tool — in fact, it’s one of the first things we seek as children. When we try something new, from taking that first step to walking into that first day of school, we look to our parents for a nod or a smile to tell us what we’re doing is okay.
As we grow, we turn to teachers and coaches for praise and reassurance.
And as adults, our bosses, colleagues, and friends become a key source of encouragement.
That’s because seeking validation is part of the inner process that helps you build self-trust and confidence. Whether you’re growing up, trying something new, or stepping outside your comfort zone, you really benefit from having someone show you that you’re on the right path.
But here’s where it gets dicey:
- When you seek validation because you want to please others more than pleasing yourself.
- If you compromise your own desires over what you think others want.
- When your own self-validation takes second fiddle to the opinion, approval, or recognition of someone else.
“99 Likes and 67 Comments! I’m the Big Cheese.”
To make things even trickier, for the last decade, social media has amplified our need for validation.
Surely you know someone who frames themselves and their identity based on how others respond to their posts, who constantly checks what they’ve posted to see how many Likes, retweets, shares, and comments they get.
And they feel awful about themselves if they don’t get to a certain number.
Or they feel elated, validated even, once the Likes and shares and retweets start piling up.
Maybe you’ve experienced this emotional seesaw yourself …
Because right now, over 3.2 billion people around the world use social media daily, and in the U.S., almost 70% of adults are at least on Facebook.
But this isn’t meant to be an attack on social media, and certainly not on the need for validation.
What I want you to take away from this message is recognition for when your need for validation is justified, and when it’s doing you no good.
The thing about life as a writer is that a lot of it is solitary. A lot takes place inside your own mind, and if you’re a freelancer, a lot of it happens away from others in the same industry.
As writers, we’re all subject to the emotional highs and lows of wins and fails …
We’ve all felt that burst of creative genius that gets our fingers flying across the keyboards …
And we’ve all experienced the sludge of anxiety and the fear of failure that brings our output to a halt.
But there’s a way to break the cycle, healthfully and for good …
Look Behind the Mirror for Answers
The first step is to recognize why you’re seeking validation. Is it because you’ve never done something before, and you’re not sure if you’re doing it right or if you missed the mark?
Or is it because you’re worried that what you wrote or submitted or emailed or proposed is awful, that your talent is lacking, and that you’re two shakes away from giving up?
The thing about copywriting that I feel grateful for every day is that it’s a learned skill.
You can come in with talent, sure … but even then, you can always improve.
You can come in as a genius, with accolades that precede you … but there will still be more to learn.
And no matter what your background or ability, you always bring something to the table just by way of being an individual with an interest in writing and a unique life story and voice.
This evens things out between beginners and veterans. I’ve worked with some of the top copywriters in the industry and marveled at how they jump on copy calls and open their copy up to critique.
They’re not looking for someone to validate their genius. They’re looking for feedback on what is strong, what is weak, and what might be improved based on interpretation from others.
Because that’s what copywriting is all about — connection with others.
So it’s fine, and even a way to grow, if you ask whether you hit the mark with the copy you submitted. It’s professional to ask if something can be improved, and if so, what the recommendations are.
But it’s not necessary in this career to hope you’ve got genius-level skills, or to fret that your writing stinks and that nobody will like you once you submit it.
More important than acing your copy projects right off the bat is your willingness to accept constructive feedback and your attitude about learning and improving.
That’s healthy validation, right there.
The Person with All the Answers You Need
The second step to curbing an unhealthy validation cycle is to examine when you’re seeking validation.
And that’s because for many people, it’s become a habit so engrained in our daily lives that we don’t even recognize we’re doing it.
But when you recognize and acknowledge the behavior, you can call it out, stop it, and switch to a more effective way to find validation.
To figure out any mindless validation habits you’ve picked up, start by taking a break from social media. Go cold turkey and you’ll immediately eliminate all the anxiety that comes from stressing over how your photo or clever comment is being received.
Next, pay attention to what you do throughout the day. Are you organized and on-time, or rushing and coming up short? In a journal, write down what you do that’s working and where you can improve. From there, get to work on those improvements and you’ll find you’re building up self-validation that helps you acknowledge your own talents and skills.
Finally, don’t ask others for validation. Ask yourself instead. You’re the one person whose good opinion you need. If someone does praise you for something, recognize it, thank them, and then stop. Don’t go around the room and see what everyone else thinks.
Remember, at the end of the day, validation is a great tool. It’s a way to affirm your steps forward, and an avenue for staying positive on your journey — in this case, your writing journey.
Do you have any questions about the journey to becoming a copywriter? Share with us in the comments so we can help.
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