In a previous podcast I talked about stolen validation. So let’s back up and talk about the V word first.
As I affirm in The Status Game II I believe that the most important and powerful feeling we can experience as humans is validation. It comes in all forms from all sources – including ourselves. Sometimes we even imagine it. And sometimes we steal it from the future.
So as I said in stolen validation, when you start to work on something or are going to work on something or you intend to work on something and you immediately tell others about it, you get praise and kudos and all the things that go with completing the project. This happens before you even start it. I call that stolen validation. You are stealing the validation you would be getting from your future self
So if you tell everyone you’re going to lose weight and they all pat you on the back because it’s a great idea it has less impact for when you do actually lose the weight or complete the project , etc. It may even remove some motivation.
So as you can imagine I try to avoid stolen validation at all costs. When I start a project I just do it and then when it’s completely done I feel good about it and I pat myself on the back.
If I just suck all the reard out of it before I even start it there may be nothing left to motivate me to do it.
I’m sure taking this to an extreme can cause all sorts of problems with your work ethics, your goals, and even relationships.
I’m not talking about taking this to an extreme, in fact I’m talking about the opposite. But it’s still unreverving for me.
Stolen Validation and writing (fiction)
After for non-fiction books I decided I wanted to get back into fiction. My novel will be out in December of this year. Normally I would simply write the book and focus on it until it is done. Once it was done I would then go through all the steps: marketing, publishing, book signings, all that stuff.
However, that is actually the wrong way to do it. Writing and publishing a book is actually backwards. You are told that you should market your book two years before the book is to be released.
First of all, I look back on the four books I have already written. I published them within a 13 month span. That means in the course of about a year I put out for books, which also means that most if not all of the books did not even exist two years prior to them being published.
Adjusting for this common wisdom way of publishing is difficult. Marketing a book that isn’t even finished is a scary thing for someone who likes to complete a project and then deliver it. Does that sound like you?
I understand that there are things in your life and mine in which we commit to before we do them. Creative or technical projects are typically like that. You give a quote for something before you even start it. However, you don’t post pictures of it or describe it in detail as if it exists; instead you talk about what it is going to be.
That might sound like splitting hairs to you, and if you’ve ever published you may be clicking your tongue at me for even talking about this. But for someone like me (and possibly you), it is an adjustment to promote something that doesn’t exist.
As I go through the journey of writing this new book the “right” way, I am going to be mindful that this is the proper way to do things. It will be a wonderful experience of comparing this to actual stolen validation.
For more about stolen validation please check out the podcast of the same name.
Mark Bradford developed a system to achieve goals, manage your energy and understand and strengthen your path – it’s Alchemy for Life.
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