Lessons in Leadership and Life


Can you be, TOO Passionate?

Originally posted December 3, 2011

On the wall in my office I have a framed picture of a beautiful golf course situated along a serene stretch of sand.  The title and caption says:  Passion, There are qualities which one must possess to win… definiteness of purpose, knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to posses it.”  I picked out this poster a number of years ago, because I am very passionate about my life and my ambition to continue to learn and be the best person I can be at home and at the office.   With that being said, can your passion sometimes be too much?  Can your passion be overcome by emotion?

Passion vs. Emotion

I remember a time, in one of my previous positions, when I gave a presentation in front of my associates and received very little feedback.  We were having our monthly senior managers meeting and I decided to give a 30 minute presentation titled:  Leadership for Excellence.  Basically, I was presenting a brief discussion on leadership strategies, promoting systems and business development.  I was warned by my supervisor that this group may not have been extremely receptive to the “leadership fluff” from an MBA.

Despite this warning, I whole heatedly believed in what I presented and spent quite a bit of time and passion preparing and presenting this topic.  During the presentation, I noticed a few of my associates doodling or just not paying attention.  I tried very hard not to let my emotional dissatisfaction get in the way of my message.  At the end of the talk, I was emotionally drained and quite frankly “irritated.”  I spent hours of research, preparation, and time putting the presentation together and I felt like it was for nothing.

Somebody was Actually Listening

The interesting thing is that a couple of months later one of the other managers told me he implemented the KPI (Key Performance Indicators) that I discussed in my presentation and he was very happy with the results.  Surprisingly, he thanked me for the information and we went on to have a great discussion about our teams and ways we were working to improve overall performance.

Stay Passionate, but control your Emotions

I have been fortunate to have a great group of people in my life and they keep me grounded.  Whenever I feel emotions kicking into something I am doing, I try to consult with them first about what to do.  For example, my wife always puts things in perspective for me and keeps me grounded and focused on the big picture.  She recognizes when emotions are taking over my passion for something, points it out and offers me a solid support structure.  I am very grateful to all of my friends and family who have provided me with “vital” support over my lifetime.

If you are a very passionate person, it’s important to realize that sometimes your passion can turn into emotion.  If it does, my suggestion is to find a friend to talk it over with and realize that passion is typically a long term focus.

As the poster states…. definiteness of purpose, knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to posses it.

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