Did you ever present a future situation where you are successful and show others that you are the one who is able to achieve something in life? Maybe you imagined this situation and feeling of seeing envy in somebody's eyes. Seeing that they are feeling miserable compare to yourself? I did.
When we are starting improving ourselves with motivation to prove to others that we are capable of something is better than not initiating any movement forward in our lives. Yet after some time, we should come closer to the moment when we stop caring about external validation from others. When we are doing things because this is who we are, and there is no way of not doing it. When we can't stop pursuing our goals, not because of what other people may say if we quit, but because we can't bear the feeling of not standing up to our standards.
Most probably, these thoughts come to us very rarely, like once in a few months or so, and we think that this is not a big deal. But these imaginations are what holds us back. When we don't have any thoughts of external validation from others - we are free to do whatever is right for us. If what we are doing won't work out, we won't feel ourselves as a failure because we were doing what our true self calling was telling us to do. There was no way for not doing it - we fail, learn, and go back to work.
We need to be self-aware to see if we do particular things to get external validation. When we talk to somebody, we don't need to say about our successes, unless we are sure that it will inspire that person. And sadly, there are not so many people searching for inspiration. The same applies to social media. If we are not influencers who make money by producing content online, why are we need to show off? The people we are going to impress by posting things online most probably aren't the people we should care about impressing anyway.
To reach our goals is to become the person capable of reaching them, become the best version of ourselves. And sure, this person doesn't give a single fuck about what some people from the past will think about him, he hasn't walked such a long path to prove anything to somebody, but himself.
Next time you find yourself imagining these situations think about your better future self and if he would search for validation from others or not. As more you become aware of it, as more freely you'll be able to work on your goals, without neediness to prove anything.