Stop Seeking Approval to Live the Life You Want


The list of complaints about Generation Y is miles long.  We are lazy. We’re entitled brats who don’t know what it means to work hard for a buck. We’re whiny. We’ve heard it all before.

But we know the truth.

What they don’t know is that  more than anything we want to look like we have life all figured out. We want to look like we are mastering our universe. Monday through Friday, many of us pimp ourselves out in button-down shirts and polyester pants to head to jobs that have us  living paycheck-to-paycheck because we are hesitant to admit we are scared.

We aren’t afraid of getting our lights cut off. Making credit card payments late is unpleasant, but we don’t fear that.  We aren’t terrified of eating MSG-ladden Ramen Noodles for a few more years.

Nope. What are we most afraid of?


We are scared of everyone thinking we are failures if we aren’t hustling in some profession that half-way resembles what we got a degree in. We are afraid of people telling us that we are wasting our potential. We are afraid to really question the status quo because we are terrified that some gatekeeper in a corner office will think we are too radical. We fear that our chance at corporate success will be snatched away from us if we say what the HELL is going on here?

Too many of us are running scared and doing what we are “supposed” to do out of fear of being told that we are wasting our time.

We have young professionals who are out there busting their ass for wages that are so low you have to laugh to keep from crying. There are way too many of us working for free in hopes that we will catch a break that never seems to come.  Why? We want to follow the rules they set out for us (even though they suck) because we need to make it look like we have SOMETHING figured out.

We are too busy looking for people to validate us, our existence, the circular path that we seem to be on. If Gen Y is guilty of anything, it’s of tirelessly seeking approval for doing things we really don’t care about.  No, not because we are lazy. Far from it. But because we have been taught to strive to get the stickers. You know, the ones that say “Good Job!” in bright, neon colors.

Question: Who are we trying to impress? Who’s opinion of ourselves are we trying to save face for?

When you start to get too caught up in putting up a front for the sake of others, you have to ask yourself, who’s version of your life are you trying to live?

Everyone isn’t cut out to be an entrepreneur. I get that.  Many people have no desire to create a Fortune 500 company. That’s totally fine. But you owe it to yourself to be the C.E.O. of your own life. If that means you have a gig at Chuckie Cheese on the weekend so that you can spend your week days working on your goals, so be it.

Getting ahead starts with getting over yourself, and getting past the fear of people thinking you are foolish because you aren’t doing what you “should” do. Yes, people might give you the side eye if you admit that you quit a full-time job to work in a restaurant because you felt it was more conducive to your goals. Yes, maybe people will think you are wasting your time. But if you feel so passionate about your goal that your heart sings, then why should you care what others think?  We have to let that go.

Building a fab life starts with getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Why? Because when you aren’t somewhat uncomfortable with some part of your existence it means that you have become complacent.

Complacency is never fabulous.



  1. B Harvey says:

    Thank you for this. I have been on the verge of a divorce but stuck because I have been afraid to talk to my very conservative parents. I’ve been living in a horrible situation because I was too dependent on someone else’s approval. As a result, I’ve been dying inside.
    This is one more ounce of courage for me to do what I have to do. As a friend recently reminded me, “I am a grown ass woman!”
    Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Lauren says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been little dying a little everyday from my full-time job I’ve held for the past 6 months since I graduated college. I gained 30 pounds and I went home crying everyday from my “good job” because I was simply so unhappy. But I made a decision to live my own life and stop worrying about everyones’ opinions or expectations because at the end of the day, I have to live my life, not them. I am leaving my dead-end assistant job to start a nonprofit organization and to work abroad for a few months.

    Your line: “Yes, people might give you the side eye if you admit that you quit a full-time job to work in a restaurant because you felt it was more conducive to your goals. ” spoke to me deeply.

    Thank you again for the support and inspiration!

    • Amber J. says:

      Lauren, this is always so great to hear! I needed to read this post again, myself. Go forth and be freakin’ fabulous!

  3. Tiffanee says:

    Wow, this is so on point!! I was just discussing this with my friends…i think about my passion every day…and within the last few months I have decided to make moves instead of excuses! Life is too short!!

    Great Post!

    • Amber J. says:

      “I have decided to make moves instead of excuses because life is too short.”

      Fabulous! That is a great way to sum it all up. Life is way to short not to do the things you really want to do.

  4. Hi Amber, I don’t think this is restricted to Gen Y. The constant approval seeking, the selling of our souls, goals and values in order to keep food on table and stop are grandmothers from making snide comments that we should have become a nurse – effect so many of us regardless of age.

    No one wants to be openly criticise, have to deal with the “i told you so” brigade, or step out on a limb and lose a leg. But like you said, complacency is never fabulous.

    I really enjoyed this post, it made me think=alot

    • Amber J. says:


      I think people in general are really wired to seek approval from others because at the end of the day all we want is love. I’ve heard that we grow out of this as we get older and become more comfortable in our skin, but I think it’s good to think about now, who’s approval are you trying to get exactly?

    • Amber J. says:

      I just finished this book by Dr. Lisa Masterson called, “Paper Dollhouse”. It’s basically her life story. This one saying from the book is on repeat in my head: “Nothing beats a winner but a try.” It’s hard to step out there and risk looking foolish, but I think it’s something we have to do if we really want to build our fab life. My very favorite quote is: “I’m not afraid to lose if it means I could win.”

  5. Sherelle says:

    I just LOVE your blog Amber! I try to read when I get a chance. I think I fit in somehwere between wanting great credit…and wanting to do something no one in my family has done. I just have to listen to myself, and stop thinking so hard about every little thing. I just cannot be stuck in this office for 2o years, only to say, “Well, at least I have benefits, and my life is somewhat stable.”

    Good luck with everything,

    I’ll let you know what I’m hoping to work on, as soon as I get it together! My mind is all over the place half of the time…lol!

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