31/01/2014 11:44 GMT | Updated 02/04/2014 06:59 BST

Are You Addicted to 'Virtual' Approval?

In this age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. we are increasingly living our lives through the eyes (and comments) of other people. Have you ever stopped to think about how and what this means to you on a personal, emotional level? If someone 'Likes' your post does that give you a boost? Is your sense of self dependent on how many virtual 'friends' or retweets you have? Are you unconsciously getting validation via these interactions?

Or, do you feel good for just being you?

Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of social media. In my opinion it's a real force for good - particularly for spreading humour, for collecting positive news and as a force for social awareness and change. And for those of us that by all intents and purposes are lone workers (I do technically work with people all day long as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Coach, but I'm connecting in a different way!), it's great for connecting up to see how the rest of the world is getting on with things. However, I think we need to look at how we interact with it, what it means for our sense of who we are, and how easily we can all be to be so much less productive and imaginative whilst engaging in it.

Healthy connections or a time thief?

How could some of that time be better spent learning something new, or reading something inspiring, or finding ways we can really connect with others in a more meaningful way? How could you create more of the conditions for success in your life - both emotional, career, financial?

Often people get caught up in the scattergun approach to living. Doing a bit of this and that but rarely doing those things with full attention. Our IT busy lives only add to that. Being mindful of where you are at now, with the task you are currently doing can make all the difference.

Are you a Pleaser or a Server?

Super Coach Steve Chandler talks a lot about swapping people pleasing for serving people. I like this idea. Most of us are brought up with an idea that we have to do the right thing. Often our young minds misinterpret this to mean that we have to please the people around us, often at our own expense. This isn't useful to us as human beings. It steals our potential success in life. How much better to serve in a meaningful way - to add value to the world around us. Whether it's by offering someone something that we think might benefit them, or by being the best version of ourselves. Who was it that said 'Be the change you wish to see in the world'? (Ghandi? It's always Ghandi or Buddha, right?) We can all be that change. It doesn't cost us anything except to feel good about ourselves and that can't be a bad thing. This is where social media can be really useful. In spreading ideas or 'memes' in a really positive way. I love that the Huffington is such a place - where we can interact and listen to each other's often incredibly inspiring viewpoints. The Third Metric space here is one of those places, where ideas and social media can interact for a super force for good.

So the next time you're counting up the comments on your Facebook page how would it be to have a think about what that actually means to you and how you can balance out your time to develop a true sense of self, either by posting something just for the sake of spreading a good vibe, or by going off and doing something else entirely.

And if you're not sure, you could always create a Facebook survey and see what all your 'friends' think!