To impress, used as a verb, means to make someone feel admiration and respect, according to Google’s definition. Being impressive is to evoke admiration through size, quality, or skill: grand, imposing, or awesome. We use this word to say something like, “She really impressed me,” or “That’s an impressive view of the ocean.”

As a noun impress means the act of making a mark, or the characteristic mark or quality of a person or attribute.

“The characteristic mark or quality of a person” is what I’ve been thinking about. As I write my memoir I make comparisons between two sides of myself: the pre-heart attack me and the post-heart attack me. It is as if my life is new in the past four years and I’m a young student of life.

While I’m not interested in impressing the world in the sense of the verb, being grand or imposing, I am interested in leaving an impression, leaving a mark. And the post-heart attack me has been considering the way I impress people, the mark I leave with them. I’m conscious of the fact that sometimes there is just one chance.

Being negative, disagreeable, and complaining leaves a certain impression. Being impatient in line, rude to a store clerk or snippy to a customer service rep in a call center, leaves a certain impression. When I’m in an ugly mood I don’t even like to be around myself, and I am realizing how my negativity can impact others. I want to be mindful of, rather than careless with, my mood.

I encourage us to consider the way we impress as we move through the many roles in our days: spouse, friend, coworker, parent, customer, patient. Impress upon people openness, friendliness, decency and positivity. Some say that what we put out into the world, the energy we project, comes back to us ten-fold. Intentionally impressing people with positivity will bring back positivity in return. Let’s see what happens if we are intentional about impressions!


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