I ask myself this question regularly. It's a preventative measure to help me avoid getting side-tracked.
Humans are wired to seek approval from other people. We want to feel accepted. We want to be part of the inner circle. Even if we think we're immune to it, we still fall for it. It's survival instinct.
Unfortunately, this desire to be accepted can take you on the wrong path without you even noticing.
To stay on course, I ask myself this very simple question: "Who am I trying to impress right now?"
If I like the answer, then all good. But if I don't like the answer, I need to change something.
Early in my career (and it still happens), I put so much energy into impressing certain people, for the wrong reasons. Whether it was industry leaders I wanted to accept me, peers I was trying to compete with or my own family and friends, I was always seeking external approval. I spent so much energy just chasing one or two people's acceptance, I eventually forgot why I was doing it.
The desire to impress isn't always negative. It motivates us to get better, to take care of ourselves. But asking this one question, regularly, has helped me stay on my path: Who am I trying to impress, and why?
Hi, I'm Tobias, a German designer living in New York. I'm the author of this blog, nice to meet you!