You Don’t Have to Get Straight A’s Anymore

We all remember our first performance evaluation. Report cards. We carried them home and presented them to our parents, yearning for their approval. From a very early age we were taught the significance of outcomes. Whether it was getting a dollar for every A, being given a smile or kind word, or avoiding being grounded, we discovered the report card mattered and we needed to be good at what we did. 

We still carry this formative lesson of contingent approval with us. We still seek success to win approval, some of us from parents or spouses, others from colleagues and supervisors.

But just as having to get good grades to please your parents did not instill a love of reading, having to succeed to attain the approval of someone else will not make you enjoy the process. 

To succeed, not just in the outcome but in the process, you need to invest the effort for yourself, not to win approval from others. 

Ann Ortiz began Ann’s Turquoise with a vision, about fifteen hundred dollars, and plenty of patience. Her vision was to create a unique retail store that featured clothing, jewelry, and crafts that couldn’t be found anywhere in the Topeka area, or anyplace else for that matter.

To do it right, Ann realized she had to take her time. “We’ve done this as a slow process, because if we tried to grow too fast, we wouldn’t be able to maintain our purpose.” 

Ann’s store is doing better than she could have imagined—and she someday might consider opening a second location when the time is right. She says opening a store taught her “that if you really enjoy and love something, it shows through your work. It’s shown me what an individual can accomplish. What you do doesn’t have to be the biggest, best business in the world to be your business, to fulfill your dream.” 

More than nine out of ten people felt, when they were children, some need to demonstrate competence to earn or deserve parental love. For most, this pattern remains in adulthood as they continue to use their career to seek approval from loved ones despite the anxiety and disappointment this pattern can produce. 

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