What comes to your mind when you hear some variant of this statement.
“I know this stuff. It’s uh kind of my thing”
“blah, blah is one of my superpowers”
“This is my specialty. Come to me with any question?”
A select few make those statements for no other reason than to offer their wisdom. I also suspect that most people who make those statements believe they do it out of a desire to give.
I take a more cynical view of these things. There’s something deeper at play than a desire to give. This deeper desire offers an opening. As Dale Carnegie put it, to win friends and influence people.
The Burning Desire Nobody Talks About
That desire is validation.
When your colleague raves about his superpower he wants you to acknowledge his greatness. He craves that validation. When we think we are great we desire others to validate that belief.
Here’s another secret. I’m guilty of this too. I do a good job of avoiding those overt statements. I’m able to do it only because I recognize it. Despite my self-control, the feelings still permeate through my body.
If I hear a question about a subject in my area of expertise, every fiber of my being wants to yell out:
“I’m an expert. Ask me my opinion.”
I resist. Instead, I hedge. I’ll make a vague statement. I try to sound humble.
“I know a little something about that. Maybe I can help.”
When I hear the next guy state
“Sure. That’s my superpower. “
A pure desire to help may fuel a response like that. More than likely, a desire for validation also plays a role.
I never mock people who seek validation. It’s part of being human.
Instead, look at it from a different angle. Pay attention and notice when it happens.
Fulfilling someone’s need for validation puts you in their good graces. It creates a desire to reciprocate.
The Secret Behind “Likes”
This morning I saw on Facebook an acquaintance liked two of my posts. Without thinking, I went over to his page and commented and liked his recent post.
Have you ever liked a friends post, story or tweet because they like yours? When someone likes our stuff we feel validated.
This Validation Matters Most
We value validation more from strangers than friends, family and colleagues. When your sister likes your story, you know it might be out of obligation. When a total stranger “likes” our story it holds more meaning. That stranger feels no obligation. We see their “like” as 100% genuine. Have you noticed that in your own experience?
How To Use The Magic Of Validation
First, be on the lookout. Awareness allows you take action.
Second, satisfy their need for validation. Be subtle. Going overboard makes it feel less genuine.
Finally, never ask for anything in return. The act of validating someone’s belief or feeling triggers a natural desire to reciprocate. Asking for something in return also makes your compliment less genuine.