To validate means to “recognize or affirm the validity or worth of a person.” (Dictionary.com). Before we get spiritual and argue that God is the only one who validates us, let’s be real.
Leaders are human and humans have weaknesses. Many of us struggle from low self esteem issues. We are insecure. Many leaders battle feelings of insufficiency and lack of qualifications. Being validated as a leader is not only helpful, it is necessary if we hope to survive the challenges that leaders regularly face.
Receiving recognition from those you lead is nice. Being honored on a special day or with a gift is affirming. When our leaders notice and comment on our work, it can be very motivating. Any time anyone says, “thank you”, we may feel validated.
But I believe we must be careful about who or what makes us feel good about ourselves as leaders.
Increasing productivity can validate us. Being named to a position of leadership, getting invited to speak at a special gathering or receiving an award can build our self esteem. But there is inherent danger herein.
Needing the public recognition or verbal affirmations of others in order to feel like a leader is dangerous. Those who must have a pat on the back may become vulnerable to people pleasing. Additionally, if we can be inflated by praise, we will become deflated by criticism.
I suggest our validity come from deep within ourselves. Leaders must know who they are in Christ. This does not mean that we don’t need the support and encouragement of others, on the contrary. But we can’t place our self concept in the hands of other people.
God called you as a leader, you responded. That response will include days when no one sees or talks about what a great leader you are. We’ve got to be ok with that.
Don’t feel less significant because your numbers are down. Don’t live or die based upon the opinions of others. Don’t count on the affirmations of others in order for you to understand your value.
You have family and close friends. Go ahead and allow them close into your heart and head. But even they shouldn’t be your sole source of validation.
You are valuable, you are needed, you are loved. That’s not validation coming from me, that’s validation coming from God.