One thing that high-achieving women have in common is their desire to impress. After all, isn’t impressing others how we get ahead?

It sure seems that way. We’re rewarded for being, looking, and sounding impressive. And that’s not a bad thing –until it is.

It’s when trying to impress stops us from expressing ourselves and being who we really are, that’s when we get cut off from our creativity and magic.

But I get it.

We’ve been made to think that who we truly are doesn’t need air time. But that’s a mistake.

One thing I’ve noticed as a businesswoman, coach, writer, and speaker is that the more I feel the pressure to “impress” the more self-judgment and consequently, the less impact I have.

The main reason is that I hide out until I have it “right,” and I let the inner critic take charge.

that’s not good enough
that’s not very original
you don’t know what you’re talking about
people will judge me
who am I to say that?

And it’s VERY TEMPTING to play small, stay quiet, and wait to get it right.

This need to impress comes from a good place.

We want to add value and make a difference. It’s well-intentioned, but where we miss the boat is when we think we have to be anything or anyone other than who we really are right now, in this moment.

Authentic expression is rich, it’s alive, it resonates. Self-conscious expression– designed to “impress” –falls flat, and rarely rings true. And it’s often so technically perfect and polished that no one truly relates.

So next time you’re thinking to yourself, I have to do/say/be something in order to impress someone. Take a pause and reflect on these questions:

How does it feel when I have the thought, I have to impress? (constricted, pressure)
How does it feel when I replace it with the thought, it’s okay to trust who I am? (relaxed, assured, capable)
What’s the need to impress costing me? (worry, wasted opportunity)
If being impressive didn’t exist as a concept, and it wasn’t even in my vocabulary, who do I get to be instead? (Confident, expressed, me).
What’s possible if I got to be more of that? (Creative, connected, more visible, take risks and have a bigger impact)
Now those of you who may be thinking, “Authenticity? Fat chance! That’s professional suicide.”

Here’s the thing.

As humans, we already know when you’re faking it. We know when you’re phoning it in, we know when you’re selling something or dancing around the heart of something.

In business situations, we operate as though no one can see our vulnerability. But energetically, everyone can sense it already. (Don’t freak out, this is actually very good news.)

So if all of that real stuff is already out there –albeit, under the surface– doesn’t it feel more powerful to stop the need-to-impress-game-playing and just go about being you?

And, listen, if showing up as Who You Are doesn’t go over well, then doesn’t THAT tell you something about the cost of being in that job, relationship, or circumstance?

So, at your next networking gig, big presentation, social post, or team meeting, I invite you to let go of your need to control how others see you.

Instead of being right, focus on being who you are right now. I’m confident you’ll have WAY more fun and attract more supporters, partners, and relaters.

Plus–and this is the coolest part–you’ll give others permission to be themselves too.

[Collective sigh of relief]