There is nothing more creatively stifling than looking at something through the lens of, “What would [person] think of this?”
Sure, if you’re working on the form or function of a product, it’s good to know your users. But if you worry about someone’s pure opinion of you as an extension of your work, you are playing a losing game.
Instead, try embracing the liberation of realizing that to almost every person on this planet – you are nobody. And that’s true for everyone! Even artists at the top of their game are known only by a small fraction of the human population.
You are an unknown quantity whose work won’t be seen an appreciated by the vast majority of people. That is, unless and until it is truly exceptional.
And that’s the blessing. To do truly exceptional work, you need to take risks. You need to follow your gut and your inspiration, and you need to do it for you.
Until you get outside of the lens of other peoples’ thinking, you are likely to create derivative work that is compared to what came before. The safe choice. And that work will provide less value and be less interesting.
Do what you want to do. Your best work is waiting to be created.
One of my favorite books on this topic is Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday (affiliate). It’s a great reminder of how important humility is.