Validate: to recognize, establish, or illustrate the worthiness or legitimacy of. Every one of us seeks validation on some level. When we are not validated by others, we have to look at whether or not we validate ourselves. Often self-validation is the key to wider, true endorsement.
Have you ever brought up what you thought was a brilliant solution to a problem, only to have it met with puckered mouths and rolled eyes? This lack of endorsement is common. How much of it is a result of a lack of self-validation?
The foundation of validation is verification. This is the concept of establishing your idea. Start by checking some of the facts.
- Is the idea sound?
- Does it solve a known problem?
- Is it based on fact?
- What are the shortcomings?
- What is the chance of failure?
- Are you endorsing the idea strictly because it is yours?
The first three are key to knowing whether or not your idea is a waste of time. The last three require looking at the idea from an objective standpoint.
Be careful when assessing the shortcomings and chance of failure of an idea. The shortcomings are not only the ways the idea could use improvement but also the consequences to others which may not be 100% favorable.
Legitimately determine if the idea has enough merit to succeed. This is difficult for a number of reasons, including seeking endorsement. Rarely is a good idea only embraced by its creator; however, just because others do not endorse your idea does not mean it is bad.
Sometimes, you need to be pitching your idea to a different audience to get it the recognition of validation.
Individuality may stand in the way of your idea. Since we are all unique, our reactions to ideas vary from person to person. Before pitching the idea to anyone else, try taking it for a test drive.
We can presume you already did that in the testing phase (verification) of your idea, but this time, drive on the wrong side of the road. You have the idea worked out in your head, so it works. (For writers, this is being too close to your story.) Changing your perspective may show you ways to improve your idea.
Occasionally, your idea looks just the same when you look at it another way. That is validation.
If you have been through verification and the only reason you are supporting the idea is because you had it, the likelihood of maintaining your own validation is slim. Why? You cannot vouch for yourself to yourself. You know you better than that.
Now, if your verification showed some promise, you can vouch for yourself to others.
- Remember when I figured out the last one?
- I am the voice of experience in this area.
- I would not have brought it up if I had not already tried it.
By supplying valid reasons why your idea has merit is the best scenario, but floating something new on your reputation can get others to validate it. Vouching illustrates the validity of your idea.
Every once in a while, a good idea disintegrates into a bad idea. Any validation of the idea expires. (Go back to example of Copernicus.) Separating yourself from the idea is important. Just because your idea is not valid does not mean you are not worthy or legitimate.
Like parking stubs, some validations need to expire. Our character, belief systems and perspectives change over time. Some of our ideas need to become void. Experience and maturity invalidate many of the ideas of our youth. Outgrowing an idea does not negate self-validation.
It is still perfectly reasonable to say,
…even when the idea is yours. Better to invalidate an idea than to hold onto it after it is void.
Fence-sitting is for the birds. Rather than stand on the verge of validation, verify and vote. Not every idea you have is going to be worthy of validation. Since it is not a reflection of your character, feel free to make a choice. Validate and promote it. Invalidate it and move on. Invalidation is an exercise in remembering the lesson and forgetting the hurt.
Once you have decided which side of the fence is for you and validated your idea, get behind it full force. This does not, however, mean invalidating everything which comes in its opposition. Often, the best improvements come from those who say,
Validation begins with you. Verify, vote and turn the valve.
Do you have a method for validating your ideas before you vet them to others? What is the best kind of validation? Which is more important: validation of others or self-validation?
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(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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