Validate [verb] ~ demonstrate or support the truth or value of; to make something officially acceptable or approved, especially after examining it.
I know I have started this post with a loaded word – validate. What can I say I like to address the elephant in the room.
Who validates you? What or Who gives you a sense of belonging, purpose and meaning beyond yourself?
The younger idealistic me would have answered: “I don’t need anybody to validate me. I can validate myself. I know what I want and I’m going to go out in the world and get it.” Whilst some of that is still true, the older, wiser, less naive me realises that I don’t live in a vacuum, and as such I do not exist in this world alone. To be successful you need a team to make it work. A family. Your support system. Like-minded, similar-goal-reaching people to bounce off. These people validate you. With these people you exist for far more than yourself and your personal goals.
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of feeling inadequate and inept when you enter an industry like ours fresh with little or no ‘know-how’, clinging for dear life to the one thing you know for sure, and that is that you want to be and actor, writer, director, or producer. It is an even bigger minefield for someone who is entering the industry via a non-conventional route. Where do you start? Who do you turn to for validation? This, my friends, is a very important question to answer because turning to the wrong person will very quickly see your dreams and aspiration disintegrate into dust!
Don’t let your insecurities seep in now and don’t bring up your defences just yet. Seeking validation is not a sign of weakness. When we seek validation we want to feel like our work has the added support or action from someone other than ourselves. We want to know we’re doing a good job, or know where we can improve. Knowing whether our script is on the right track or our production ideas need tweaking can only enhance our creative output not damage it (unless you have the wrong team around you!).
Validation is important, embrace it, propel your career in ways you never imagined and remember we’re all making it up as we go along.
Tips / Advice
Here are some practical things you can do to get you off the ground:
1. Join a group(s) with like-minded people. Attend their events if they have any.
2. Take classes and workshops. But don’t be a perpetual class-taker or workshop-attendee, apply what you learn.
3. Start building relationships with people you meet – who knows they may lead to future collaborations, so keep an open mind.
4. Most importantly, stand firm in your values and your purpose. Do not allow other people to impose theirs onto you! Know who you are and what you bring to the table.
This is where I put you on the spot and challenge you to take action. In the coming week:
1. Join a group / class / workshop.
2. Connect with at least one person in the industry who you’ve met recently. Arrange to meet for a coffee.
Just two actions, I think you can manage that. Get into the habit of doing this, perhaps start with doing this once a month then increase the frequency when you get comfortable to fortnightly, then weekly. Watch how your creative family begins to grow.
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