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June 3, 2024

Impress Or Impact

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As purpose-driven people who want to make the most out of life and make a difference in the world, we know that our ticket to succeeding with that is by making an impact. But unfortunately there are a few things working against us in that effort that we need to be cognizant of and ultimately, overcome.

Within each of us is our ego. It’s our sense of self and its sole purpose is to keep us psychologically safe and preserve our self-worth. But as with most of our evolutionary biology, the ego has a fatal flaw in that it is optimized to support us in staying safe and secure in the short-term.

This is similar to the well-known tension we experience related to the choices we make on a daily basis, and if we give in to receive a short-term reward or manage to delay gratification.

There are many ways that the ego is at play, but one I want to highlight is the need that we have to impress others.

When we impress, it validates that we are worthy, that we have something to offer, and that people have a positive perception of us. This need comes from the history of mankind where we depended on each other for our survival, and we needed to prove we belonged in the group in order to survive.

But in today’s world, the same need comes out but it actually serves to limit our ability to make an impact. John Maxwell says “If we want to impress, talk about our successes. But if we want to impact, we need to talk about our failures.”

It’s in the vulnerability and sharing relatable experiences that we can more deeply connect with others. Rather than creating separation by talking about how good we are, we bring people closer by talking about what we’ve struggled with.

The ego attempts to separate us. It wants us to feel special, unique, and capable, so it unconsciously influences us to see and share evidence of that. But if we want to play the long game and make a more profound impact on the world, we need to navigate the ego and control it rather than let it control us.

The best way to do that is by choosing to place yourself beside people. Do the hard work with them. Share and work your process in ways that others can see. Lead by example and be humble enough to know that you don’t have it all figured out, and that’s okay.

Try to catch yourself when you find yourself trying to sound impressive, and instead route your dialogue to be of service and be more relatable.

This is something I’ve been trying to do more! Have you noticed?

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