The world is filled with people trying to impress one another in one way or another, so much so that I find that it has become nearly impossible to spot authenticity these days.
It really takes me some time to tell if you are being authentic… as opposed to being full of it.
The easiest way I can tell the difference between the two has to do with whether or not I feel someone is trying to impress me. It is kind of a litmus test. The more you try to impress me, the less chance there is that there is anything to be impressed about.
Here are some ways you can spot the makers from the fakers and some characteristics and traits of people who try to impress their way to success:
You Talk Too Much
A good rule of thumb to follow (I’ve discussed this before) is that the walkers never talk and the talkers never walk. The more you tell me how great you are, the less I believe there is anything about you that is great. Life is a program of action, repeated action creates our habits, and our habits define our character. Nowhere in that does it say anything about character having to do with running your mouth. People tend to overlook the extreme benefits that come from their power to listen .
You Use Big Numbers
There is a time and place for everything, and I have come to refrain from using any ‘showy’ numbers unless I am in a meeting where numbers are necessary (such as an investor or sales pitch). I cannot tell you how many people lose me in an instant when they blurt out some big arbitrary number to impress me or someone else. I remember talking to someone last year who’s company had no revenue to speak of yet was telling me that he guaranteed me he was on his way to building a billion dollar business (no typo- with a B). Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not against high aspirations, but you need to know when to draw the line between believing in what you are doing… and sounding like an idiot.
You Impress Others To Impress Yourself
I believe the biggest issue with trying to impress others is that you are attempting to use an outside job to solve an inside problem. Trying to impress begins in elementary school and, if not caught early, gains more momentum as you progress through life to the point that the only way you can feel a sense of accomplishment is through the approval of others. Again, a complete outside job to solve an inside issue. As it relates to business, trying to impress is very high on the list of business mistakes and can only act as an impediment to the progress of any business. The more you focus on others, the less focus you have on you, and both you and your business will suffer.
You Never Stop
The problem with trying to impress others is that it can only last so long and, the moment you think you succeed at impressing one person, you are off to try to impress the next person. I know this from personal experience as I tried impressing people for a very long time. Trying to impress people is an endless infinite road with no finish line as it becomes literally impossible to run out of people to impress so you spend your entire life trying to find new people to impress. When, on the other hand, you only have one person to impress (yourself), a sense of accomplishment is always within reach.
You Are Compensating
Another thing to keep in mind is when someone tries to impress you with one thing, they are very often compensating for something that they lack in another aspect of their lives. For example, I had a friend who was (and still is) extremely well off (understatement). All he talked about were his homes, his cars, etc. etc…. it was quite exhausting to say the least. His personal life, on the other hand, was a complete disaster. It is interesting to see how so many people talk about what they are great at (their strengths) while trying to cover up what they ‘suck’ at (their weaknesses).
My Definition Of Being Impressed
I am aware it may sound a bit weird (and conceited) when I say that I only am concerned about impressing myself, however my definition of ‘impressing myself’ is quite different than you may expect. My version of being impressed has nothing to do with ego. I have a very simple 2 point formula for impressing myself:
1- I try my best
2- I act with good intentions.
That is my definition of being impressed with myself.
Again, impress is not really the correct word, however I use it to make this simple point…
If you are going to try to impress anyone, the only person you should ever worry about impressing is yourself.
Here are some characteristics and traits of people with whom I am impressed:
– Give without expectation of receiving in return
– Help people anonymously or without seeking praise
– Accomplish something without telling someone
One last thought… Unlike most things, trying to impress people seems to have an inverse relationship with amount of time you work at it. I have found that the more you try to impress and seek approval, the less you will succeed at gaining this approval. Conversely, when you stop caring about what others think of you and start doing things for yourself, you will be amazed how impressionable you become.
The moment I try to impress someone else is the moment I stray from my path. Stay on course!