Is it safe to say that many of us care greatly about our image and opinion other people hold about us? If you don’t… I think you are lying. There are a chosen few in the world that actually do not care. I’m definitely not one of them.

I’ve written in the past of the power of perception… the power to impress… especially for the younger professional. It is extremely hard for anyone to be an expert in any industry when you have been in the business world for less than 10 years… perhaps even 20 years. It is even harder to convince someone of your “perceived expertise.” Your initial success is tied directly to ability to convince the potential customer or employer on your ability to deliver… your ability to impress.

There have been times in my life where the majority of my actions are based on impressing other people. I have placed much of my personal worth on the opinions of mentors and managers. I’ve also found that the act of  caring so much about personal opinions can be positive and detrimental to your success.

  • Positive – success is not solely based on your abilities. You must have people around you who truly believe in you. They will support and crush you… pushing you to success.
  • Negative – if you care about every opinion you will become paralyzed when trying to make strategic decisions and speak your mind. There are individuals that you must strive to impress and the majority you should ignore.

The constant stress of succeeding… I need to win this award. I need to be listed in the top 50 “blank and blank.” I must build the reputation and authority to succeed. It is completely draining. I’ve found that it has been helpful for me to focus on the following:

  1. Ignore the trolls. There are many people with opinions on everything… especially in the world of social media and the Internet. Ignore them. Choose to care about the opinions of individuals who you respect. 
  2. Ignore influencer lists. Influencer lists are a dime a dozen and only give you a boost of self-esteem. They are published in the thousands. You shouldn’t ignore all lists… focus on the lists that are created by reputable publishers and driven by data not opinion.
  3. Prove your expertise. It is easy to have an opinion about a certain topic in business. However, if you prove your opinion with numbers it because a fact. Always prove yourself by succeeding with numbers and a met goal… not just your words.
  4. List the influencers. I’ve been blessed to have a couple of mentors in my life that put things in perspective. While I have the constant need of approval from practically everyone… I have a list of individuals that I truly respect. This list represents my life-line to productive brainstorming and support. It gives me the ability to bounce ideas without feeling cornered.
  5. Build on wins. It is important to win every now and then. It is okay to win an award and brag about winning. Create a list of awards and valuable lists.

I struggle with perception and impressions every day of the week. I was told multiple times to “fake it before you make it” and it worked. However… my ability to build actual success has been built on numbers… not opinions.