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Overcomming the Need for Validation

by At the Coach's Table

Master High Performance Coach, Phyllis Reagin is answering a leadership question today. This question is from Denise, a VP of Marketing & Brand Strategy for a large entertainment studio. "Even when I have great outcomes, I need others' validation to assure me that it was due to me. What is that all about?"

Coach's Answer:

People have a locus of control that dictates how they view what is happening to them. Locus of control is an individual’s belief system regarding the causes of his or her experiences and the factors to which that person attributes success or failure. People have two ways that they can interpret what is happening to them:

1. Internal Locus of Control:

This is belief that events in one’s life, whether good or bad, are caused by controllable factors such as one’s attitude, preparation, and effort. If a person has an internal locus of control, that person attributes success to his or her own efforts and abilities. This is healthy when it is accurate. However, if you believe you are the reason for success (e.g., it was really due to the contribution of the entire team) then you are in danger of over valuing yourself and may damage key relationships.

2. External Locus of Control:

A person with an external locus of control, who attributes his or her success to luck or fate, look to external sources to explain what is happening in his or her life. This viewpoint is healthy when you are accurately assessing the contributions of others or reasons impacting your success that have nothing to do with you. It is becomes unhealthy if you find you believe that your successes have little to do with your abilities and contributions. People who view the world this way are also more likely to experience anxiety since they believe that they are not in control of their lives.

Denise, if you find that after objectively assessing your successes, that you were the main contributor but that you need others to confirm this then it is time to work on your mindset. Shifting your mindset requires analyzing your successes and detailing all the reasons for the outcomes. It also requires for you to see yourself and your contributions as valuable. The outcome from this work is to get to the point that you can own your successes with or without confirmation from others.