It’s what every artist and entrepreneur wants to hear: “ You did a great job!” “You completely nailed it!” “ Wow! You are amazing!”

All of us crazy, genius, artists and treps crave acknowledgement. It boosts our confidence, provokes persistence, and can pull us out of a slump faster than any drug. It’s also the shiny bait that lures us to reach our highest level.

And for some, that’s enough! Making ends meet as a starving artist or a struggling business owner is (secretly) plenty to deal with. We all know someone like this. As talented as they are, they could easily spend the rest of their life reveling in the praise and sympathy of their friends and family: “You work so hard!” “It’s a tough world out there.” “You should be proud of what you’ve already accomplished!” The payoff of support and empathy easily outweighs the daunting challenge of growth and change.

However, for others it’s not enough. They know that applause is just a temptation to repeat the same thing over and over, and praise is a sweet cookie that often spoils your appetite to persist.

Important because recognition from others validates the essence of our creative work, and makes us feel relevant. However, when it comes to where we’re headed and how we’re going to get there, we’re on our own. And no amount of praise can replace the insightful, criticism or advice from a trusted, experienced confidante, who is committed to see us achieve our very highest goals. Not like trading compliments for criticism, more like when we begin to see inside the mechanical nature of kudos and praise, its bankruptcy becomes apparent.

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