The late Ricky Nelson sang these words, “You see, you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.” This was from his song “Garden Party” which was about not wanting to play the old standards his fans wanted to hear from his 1950s fame. Instead, Nelson wanted to focus on a different direction with his music–one that meant more to him. In fact, when he first played his new songs live he was booed off the stage during a Madison Square Garden concert in 1971. Fortunately the song “Garden Party” went on to become a hit and Nelson made music on his own terms until he died in a plane crash at the age of 45 in 1985.
What does this have to do with you and me? I guess I can only speak to my own connection to the song because I have always tried to please everyone (and often failed) and my self-esteem would rise and fall based on what others have said (or written) about me. It’s a hard life to judge your self-worth on what others think of you. It’s also a lot of work to try and win everyone over, every day. As one of my friends pointed out to me recently, it’s an impossible task because you really can’t control what other people think and feel about you.
When you put yourself or your work out there (especially on Social Media) you can expect at least one person to either not get it or not get you, and because people are so wrapped up in their own worlds, you may not get any feedback–which can also be a downer. (It’s okay to admit that the amount of “likes” you receive for a posting on Facebook is important.) If you post a picture that is meaningful to you but nobody likes it, does that make it any less meaningful? Of course not.
That’s why it’s far better to be your own biggest fan and to judge yourself based on your own criteria of what constitutes success. It may be that the work is the reward and the results are a bonus. If you know you did a great job but nobody noticed or you didn’t get credit for it, or you know you did the best you could but other factors outside of your control sabotaged the success of something, it’s okay to feel good about yourself and what you did.
I recently put everything and then some into a long project and although the it was a success in every way possible, I didn’t get the positive feedback or respect I felt I deserved, and I was upset. That’s when my friend reminded me that I should personally know I that I did my best and that I was the best and that should be enough. Enough said.