I was just “thinking about things” when this thought came into my head: To feel good about one’s work, there are two sides of validation: the internal and the external.
- External validation: somebody tells you, “you’ve done well. This is excellent!”
- Internal validation: you tell yourself, “you’ve done well; you’d set out to do something well and you did it.”
This past year I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on my work. Still, something was missing.
“This is great work,” they’d say, and I’d smile.
Was it really? I’d think, feeling less than satisfied, tinged with impostor syndrome.
Luckily the opposite was true, too.
The work my team and I do are quite regularly behind-the-scenes “enablement” work. Nobody but us knows; no rah-rah; no fanfare.
They’d say nothing, even after I’d done something I thought was remarkable.
Still, this is awesome! I’d think.
And I’d be satisfied. Almost happy.