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So, naively, I asked him “Does that mean you are happy with the results?” He looked away and shifted his stance, then slowly said “In a way, yes”. My stomach twisted, and I eyed him as coldly as I dared, but in my own head, I understood my mistake. The discount they got was caused by their unfamiliarity with our work. If he admits all is well, our product becomes more expensive.

This was years ago when I ran my first prototyping company. And now you know why I avoided working with big corporations for a long while.

What you do takes a lot of passion and is often a lonely gig.** When you do something good, something great, it’s normal to both want and need validation from other people. It would be hypocritical of me to tell you not to do it, as I do it all the time.

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On the other hand, I will tell you to be careful of over-reliance on client validation. In many circumstances, recognizing your sacrifice or contribution may be beyond their comprehension, against their interest, or both.

Go get your applause by talking to your peer group, your close circle of collaborators, or your fans/followers on LinkedIn, YouTube, Quora, or Reddit. Also, roll your work into a certificate, award, or reference that will distinguish your work in the future.

This week, ask yourself who you have turned to for validation in the past, and probably shouldn’t have. Who would have been a better option?

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