What’d I Say: The Power of Validation

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Posted November 7, 2012 by J Matthew Cobb in Features
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Valuing a forgotten life lesson: Learn to value yourself

I’ve learned the meaning and to accept the consequence of the word “no” since I was a very young lad. Today, “no” is just as affirming to my soul and my destiny as the word “yes.” To me, it doesn’t have the sting that most people experience when they hear it. I’m actually cool with “no.” To me, it just affirms that it was not appointed for me…at that time. Those closed doors and shut opportunities only create perseverance for the next obstacle.

I don’t need a degree in psychology to learn that silence coming from your peers is the earthly basis of rejection.

I know we live in a society where we must co-exist and work together, epsecially to achieve certain personal goals. But I’ve learned that the best and most effective work you can apply is the work you apply on yourself. When you do that, others will start to believe in you and invest in your future. Still, I’ve learned not to totally depend on them. That’s because I don’t expect for them to write my destiny; I am in control of that.

I’ve been working on my skill as a journalist for years. And I know I’m not the best in the biz. I’ve never claimed to be the brightest bulb in the bunch. I can say I am improving. I am growing. But still, in this competitive industry that I have decided to labor in, I expect to hear “no” in my path. But lately, I must admit that I’m hardly hearing “no.” Instead, I’m getting a lot of silence. I don’t need a degree in psychology to learn that silence coming from your peers is the earthly basis of rejection.

I hate to air my personal business, but I feel like these examples from the chapters of my life will help validate my point. I submitted an article to a local paper to be published and all I got was the runaround. No action. No resolve. The article started to get old and I must admit, I became a bit impatient. Simply because I thought there was value in what I wrote. So guess what I did? I decided to publish the story on my brand, HiFi Magazine. There I knew my work would shine under my auspice. Despite the disappointing outcome, I still value that local paper. And if the opportunity came around for me to represent another story to them, I would do it – with a little bit of reluctance. But I learned a very valuable lesson from that experience: Don’t wait for others to validate you. Instead, learn to validate yourself.

I know that superficial quote sounds a bit crazy, since validation usually comes from superiors, from the pros, the experts. But when “no” has been your friend so long – while teaching you fiscal responsibility, patience, humility and determination – you learn how to invest back in yourself. And when you do that, you start to believe in yourself. And that produces hope.

2012 has been a very rewarding year for me. I never would’ve thought in my wildest dreams that I would be writing essays for an amazing array of artists like Aretha Franklin, Isaac Hayes, Gloria Gaynor, KC & the Sunshine Band and George McCrae. And all of that happened this year. I remember when Big Break Records, a UK record company, first approached me to work for them in late 2010, and I was completely floored. I almost didn’t believe it. That’s because it always was a childhood dream to compose liner notes for albums. After reading those words of wisdom scribed on the gatefold and flap jackets of albums coming from talented music archaeologists, I was inspired to write. The faith and confidence coming from the good folks at BBR sparked a renewed flame of validation in me. And today, even the silence from my peers and “haters” inspires me to move forward. I don’t need them to like me or support me. It would be nice for them to at least acknowledge me, but that’s not even necessary. I validate myself, and companies like BBR will see the quality of value that illuminates from my work.

Sorry BBR for the unexpected plug 🙂


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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