Welcome to another Ask Katrina. This question today is:

“Katrina, why do I feel like I need praise, and yet, I don’t want to need praise?”

As high-achieving high performing women, we don’t want anybody’s approval, right?

We believe that when we seek that approval, we feel like we’re going to hold ourselves back. We are strong enough and we don’t need approval to dictate what we can and can’t do.

We don’t want to feel like we are waiting on approval before we take action.

We look at other women around us that we know are approval seekers, and we see them as weak.

We say things internally like, “I don’t need approval, I get approval from myself, I’m good.”

And I will tell you that that’s true, you probably do get a lot of approval from within yourself, because you hold yourself to a higher standard than anyone else could. (I know from personal experience.)

Yet at the same time, we all still have a human need to receive praise.

Praise vs. Approval

Now, praise and approval are two different things, and therein lies the key to this.

First, you must break those two words apart in your brain: praise and approval.

Praise is, “You did a really good job with that,” or “That’s definitely one of your gifts.”

Or, “You look great in that outfit. I love that new haircut.”

That’s appreciation and praise.

And a lot of women cannot accept praise, because we view it as approval.

And we’re like, “I don’t need your approval, stop trying to make me accept it!”

It’s not the same thing.

So again, recognize that praise and approval are two totally different terms.

Praise is someone appreciating you for who you are.

On the other hand, approval is a type of feedback that once you receive it, you change your behavior.

Many times approval seekers think that they are not worth anything or they aren’t valuable unless someone else sees that value in them as well. That’s definitely NOT you!

Praise is Feedback

Second, acknowledge why we all need praise in the workplace and recognize that it is 100% normal to seek praise.

When we tied our shoes or rode our bikes for the first time what happened?

Most of us got praise!

So what did we do?

We did it again! The praise helped us know we were on the right path.

So when we are doing something new, we aren’t seeking approval, we are seeking validation that we are on the right path with our actions and results in this new role.

This is really important.

Praise in the workplace means “I’m doing the right thing. I’m showing up in the right way. I’m doing the right work. I’m contributing in the right capacity. I’m adding value.”

In this instance, we’re seeking certainty. That’s what praise gives us.

So if we separate the definitions of praise and approval, then step number two, we acknowledge why we need praise in the workplace, then this two-step process it’s going to free you to then go and ask not simply for praise alone, but for feedback.

Because really, what you’re looking for is, feedback. Feedback, when we do something correctly, is praise. Feedback, when we do something incorrectly, is constructive feedback.

We all wake up every morning wanting to do the right thing.

And if we’re out there floating on our own for long periods of time, any human is going to start wondering, “Am I doing the right thing?”

We do gut checks, but we also need someone to say, “Yeah, you’re on the right path,” or “Nah, you need you need to come over here a little bit.”

So recognize that we all get frustrated with ourselves because we aren’t women who want praise or feel like we need praise. But with clarity in definitions and an understanding of what we are truly seeking, praise is a normal request.

So if anytime you’re sitting there thinking, “I really wish that somebody would just tell me that I’m doing a good job,” and then you get aggravated with yourself because you don’t need praise, give yourself some grace.

Think through what we just walked through. Recognize that praise is just feedback and you want to know that you’re doing the right thing.

Then allow yourself to ask for feedback.

Say, “Hey, I really love some feedback on my performance. Tell me what I’m doing well, so I know what to keep doing. Tell me the areas that I need to improve so that I can grow through them.”

Ask for feedback.

When you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you consistently earn praise and positive feedback as a first-year exec:

1. The Recession-Resistant Executive Career Builder
This 1-hour, self-guided, online program is exactly what you need if you are worried about thriving in an environment of layoffs, restructures, and overall changes in your corporate landscape. —Click Here.

2. Join Our Career Confidence Case Study
I have a new female corporate executive case study group here at Legend Leaders. If you want to know what to do in your career (clarity) and how to do it (confidence) in 60 days, you should learn more about this case study. Send an email to info@legendleaders.com with the words “Case Study” and we will send you the details.

3. Work with me and my team privately
Maybe you want clarity, support, and accountability but you prefer the 1:1 environment vs. a group or self-paced program.  If that’s you, Send an email to info@legendleaders.com with the word “Private” and tell me a little about yourself and what you’d like to work on together.  I’ll follow up with you from there.

4. Get a Strategy Session 

And if you’re not sure where to start or if you think you’re on the right track but simply want feedback, then a 15-minute call is the solution for you.  Simply schedule a call that fits your schedule —Click Here.