Have you ever had an experience where everything you’ve done in your life – everything you’ve mastered – is needed at that very moment? No other skills are needed; just the ones you’ve acquired. It’s a rush that cannot be explained in human terms.
Doctors, especially, have moments like these. But I’ve never had one – until recently, when I put together my plan to bring the technique of noting “3 good things” to the medical community via apps. Suddenly, everything I’ve done in my life was needed. Public speaking experience, fundraising, social media expertise, good enough tech skills to create a web site on my own, working with doctors, running limited partnerships, and bringing an app to the Apple marketplace as CEO of a tech company.
The light from this thing was blinding. I couldn’t look at it without getting a case of jitters. What if I screwed it up? An old fear of mine from childhood – feeling not good enough, as though there’s something wrong with me that I just haven’t found yet – cropped up.
I needed to shift out of that feeling, and fast. I had no time to waste on self-doubt. I asked myself what I needed. The word “approval” immediately came up.
Approval is not something we’re supposed to need. For decades, therapists and self-help and spiritual gurus have told us: “approval comes from within, not without.” I have a very different take on this. My childhood was devoid of approval. I didn’t receive my first compliment from a family member until I was 35 years old. Think about that for a moment. A life of no praise. The result is a persistent feeling of not being good enough. To heal this feeling, I had to discover that approval comes from within and without – and sometimes the “without” is life-changing.
When I was 35, I showed my sister the outline of an ecourse I wanted to teach through AOL (this was in the early days of the internet). I was terrified of getting another dose of disapproval from a family member. To my surprise, my sister emailed back: “Mark this as a red letter day.” It was the first dose of approval I received from a family member, and it changed my life.
Now, unless something extraordinary happens, I feel “good enough.” But something extraordinary did happen when destiny hit me in the face with my plan to bring “3 good things” apps to the medical community, and those old feelings came back. I need a fresh dose of approval.
I got it from my new partners, all of whom are medical professionals used to having awe-struck moments. It happened after I allowed my need for approval to rise to the surface within me with the use of a single word – Approval – that I made into a word video.
Watch it here, and shift into approval too: