In a northwestern US city, a woman from out of town parked her car in an attended lot and walked across the street to shop. Hoping to get a discount on the cost of parking, and not famliar with local idioms, she asked, “Do you give validation?”
“Certainly,” replied the store’s manager. “You are an excellent person and I love your hair!”
That might have been worth the cost of the parking. I mean, who wouldn’t pay a couple of dollars for the kind of validation that she got?
Mark Twain said, “I can live two months off a good compliment.” But then he also said, “If you can’t get a compliment any other way, pay yourself one.” I suppose sometimes that is the only way we can get one.
I’m a strong believer in the power of affirming other people. One time I facetiously told an audience that I have never in my life received a standing ovation. They gave me one–and I’m here to tell you it isn’t nearly so satisfying when you have to ask for it. Nevertheless, I never underestimate the importance of positive encouragement in a life.
There is immense power in affirming others. Leaders who get results know this. People who draw others to themselves and who motivate others to great action are almost always those who encourage more than criticize; who compliment more and reprimand less.
Perhaps the woman’s question is the correct one after all. “Do you give validation?” I hope I can always answer YES.