Why Peer Validation Feels So Good

Have you ever had an idea and asked yourself, “Is this any good?” Or maybe you’re one of those super-confident types that tells themselves, “I know this idea is good!”

If you’re like me, you’ve fallen in to both camps. And regardless of where you stand, chances are at some point self-doubt has crept up while you’ve been working on a project or are in the process of trying to complete something. It’s natural to doubt. And doubt can be good. But doubt can also hold you back or slow you down from following-through or moving forward with that amazing thing.

Two weeks ago, after posting this article about my mountaineering training plan, I invited people to come run stairs with me. No one did. While I wasn’t extremely discouraged, it did sting.

Then last weekend Andrea and I attended MEC Outdoor Nation’s Toronto retreat – a weekend where over 135 18-30 year-olds hung out and brainstormed ways to inspire others to get outside. While there people mentioned time, money, and motivation as barriers to getting out more. Thinking about my invitation for people to train with me, we came up with a plan to invite people to train with us every week. When I stood up and told the group about the plan, several others came over and said they wanted to help. We then brainstormed and decided to host a different free outdoor activity in Toronto every Wednesday at 7pm. We call it #DiscoverYourWild.

The group of us stood in front of the room and presented this idea and everyone voted us in the top 3 ideas! It felt amazing and validating and inspiring. We received some funding to help us move this idea forward, but the votes were the most rewarding part. There’s something truly gratifying about people whose opinions you value and respect saying, “We think what you’re doing is worth doing…and we want to help you succeed.”

Last week we hosted our first activity – a 5km run – and 6 people came out. Thinking about the week before, when no one joined, I was so touched when I saw people showing up that week. More importantly, I felt motivated to keep going.  I know my peers are paying attention and want me to succeed. In turn I feel accountable to them and this idea and I think that is one of the best kinds of motivation.

What’s an idea you’re working on that you’ve presented to a group of peers? Or maybe something you’re still unsure of?

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