Have you ever got caught up in trying to impress people? We all want to be liked and respected and even admired; this has been the case forever. But in today’s world, the focus is so heightened on our image, our status, and our achievements. And these are all focused on impressing people, perhaps even impressing ourselves.
But what about impact? What about making a real difference in the lives of others? Because that’s all about impact.
So, what’s the difference between impress and impact?
Well, it’s subtle, but it’s important. When we try to impress people, we’re focused on ourselves. We’re trying to show off and get people to like us. We’re putting on a show. When we focus on impact, however, we’re focused on others. We’re trying to make a positive difference in their lives. We’re putting their needs first (now that’s impressive).
Now, you might think that making an impact requires a lot of hard work and effort, but that’s just not the case. There are plenty of ways you can have a big impact with a small amount of effort. Here are five simple things for you to try out and see what happens:
Give the gift of attention and focus.
When you’re talking to someone, really listen to what they have to say. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak. Show them that they’re important to you and that you value what they have to say.
Show your own vulnerability.
When you open up to someone and share your own struggles and challenges, you give them permission to do the same. It lets them know that it’s okay to be imperfect and that they don’t have to have everything figured out.
When you’re authentic and genuine, again, it gives others permission to do the same. They don’t have to put on a show or pretend to be something they’re not. They can just be themselves.
Show compassion and empathy.
When someone is going through a tough time, be there for them. Offer words of encouragement and support. Let them know that you care. In fact, that reminds me of a quote I heard from Michael Happel: “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care”.
Say thank you.
When someone does something kind or helpful for you, take the time to thank them. It’s a small gesture, but it can mean a lot.
impressing people might make us feel good in the moment, but it doesn’t really make a lasting impact (impression – pun intended). If we want to make a real difference to our lives and that of others, we need to focus on impact. And the good news is, it doesn’t have to be hard work. We can have an impact just by being present, being authentic, and showing kindness and compassion to others.
So, the next time you’re tempted to impress someone, ask yourself: “How can I have an impact instead?”