When we ventured into into the industry of our passion, we very quickly became privy to the clear front runners. These people inspired us and made things that we admired. Their success and their drive served as a motivation to us. Likely, they still continue to inspire and motivate us to do even better. As we continue to grow our own skills over time, it’s easy to lose sight of how far we’ve come. Subconsciously (or even consciously), we seek the approval of those people we’ve been looking up to.
This is completely natural and in and of itself is not a harmful thing. However, if we become consumed with seeking their approval, it can potentially blind us to other more important things. How often have you found yourself wishing your favorite idol would follow you back on Twitter, or “like” what you published? Why is this? Is it because you would then feel as though your work is something of value? There’s nothing inherently detrimental about this, but it can easily skew the value which we place upon on our own work, and even ourselves.
The trap is falling into thinking that you haven’t “made it” until you get that approval. Of course, this is certainly not true. “Arrival” is a fictitious state.
It’s important to remember you’ve come a long way since you started. Believe it or not, regardless of where you are, you are an inspiration to someone. When we’re too focused on seeking the approval of our heroes, we become oblivious to the influence we have on others. As you’ve grown, other people have begun to look to you. You may or may not feel like you have these people looking to you right now, but as you progress, you will acquire those people. Your influence will evolve into quite the responsibility. It’s a valuable thing, and you don’t want to miss out on it because you’re too caught up in seeking your own approval.
Let the heroes remain your heroes. They motivated you and gave you the drive to make it this far. They did that much for you already, so don’t worry about their approval of your work. If they give it, that’s great. If not, it’s still ok! Be happy for their example, and focus on being an example to others. As far as recognition is concerned: do good work, and continue to do good work. Stop worrying about recognition and approval and focus on improving your skills, making great things, and being an example to whatever influence you have right now.