Up until a month ago, I was that person who secretly was always seeking applause from my peers and family. I would see friends share their latest accomplishments and watch the great feedback they would receive… and I wanted it too. However, I wasn’t sharing any of my accomplishments because nothing I’d been working on had been accomplished, yet. But what I was actually seeking was recognition for the work I was putting in.
And not receiving recognition for the hours spent on certain projects, that may in fact take years to finish, was really starting to take a toll on me. I started to feel like I was creating stuff for no reason (as if anything I would do should ever be based on the opinions of others…), all because people weren’t clapping for the progress I was making.
However, my mindset on this whole subject matter changed when I read, Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity by Tyece Wilkins. In her book Tyece talks about not needing applause while building her foundation. Reading this was like a slap back into reality. First, the fact that she even made reference to it in her book made me realize my feelings weren’t unheard of. Second, the way she broke the subject matter down when I interviewed her for my blog, really renewed my mind on this issue of craving praise while building something. So I posed this question to her:
Tamika Burgess: How do you keep going during those times when no one is applauding the effort you’re putting in toward accomplishing something?
Tyece Wilkins: I don’t expect applause from putting my head down and doing the work. It becomes easier to keep going when we don’t expect praise for doing what’s required. Most people don’t know when my head is down and I’m doing the work. I worked on the book in silence. I am working on things right now for 2016 that people simply don’t know about and won’t know about until they launch. It’s only important for me to know and appreciate the relentless amount of effort I put into something. People don’t need to throw accolades when I’m shooting in the gym. I want the pat on the back once I win the championship.
As someone who has always done what is considered, “the right thing,” I never really used to expect or receive praise because I did what I was supposed to do. But having moved clear across the country, by myself, away from everything that is familiar, and making the decision to no longer work a traditional 9-5 job caused me to think people owed me some type of praise for stepping out of my box.
But what Tyece said makes complete sense. I had to go back to my previous way of thinking— not expecting praise for doing what I’m supposed to do. Everything that I am currently doing in my life was meant to be. All the countless hours of writing, sleepless nights, editing, attending writing conferences, and participating in publishing meetings are all for the greater good of what is to come. I look at all this prep work like I’m building a house. So while my foundation has been laid, I have to avert my eyes from looking for praise while stacking the bricks. And I will graciously wait for the recognition, applause, and praise once the house is done and presented to the world.
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