Yes, there are issues in our world that require the passion of people to get the work done, create awareness, education, and rally others to the cause. However, when does passion become obsession? Passion becomes unbalanced when you can’t, or won’t, turn it off and enjoy the beauty of life having unbridled fun, making new friends and adventures.
The following are a few pitfalls that passionate people fall into which dilutes their cause, distances others, and sabotages their efforts for the issue:
Sharing your story too early.
The person who feels compelled to begin every new friendship or meeting with overt information about their cause or experience will most likely be met with some amount of disinterest. It’s better to create balance by allowing friendly conversation to guide you towards the best time to get more personal. Oversharing at a first meeting sends a message of shallowness and obsession without allowing a healthy spark to develop. Waiting for the right opportunity will get the new relationship off to a more positive start.
Passing on your judgements.
By being open-minded you will unlock new ideas and possibilities for your cause in the future. Making judgmental comments about people, issues, or things will shut down a new conversation before it gets off the ground. Dismissive behavior patterns towards others should be kept in check. Pay attention to your attitude.
You aren’t required to agree with everything others believe in, but give time and space to find out about the other person before deciding their worth to you. Furthermore, don’t pass judgement on yourself. Open up a balanced dialog and get to know each other on a deeper level.
Keep name dropping at bay.
You may know interesting and important people, but refrain from mentioning those relationships to make yourself or your issue look more interesting and important. Most people see through it and you appear insecure about your endeavors. It also lessens the value of what you have to offer. When your conversation or social engagement is balanced, instead of pretentious, others will view your cause in the light you intended. Keep the cause in the spotlight, not who you know.
Put away the phone.
Lead by example and turn off your phone, put it away, and refrain from checking it during time spent with new friends or colleagues. Nothing is more off-putting and rude than someone who feels the need to check every notification, take every phone call, and ignore who is sitting right in front of them. No message is more important to convey than your interest in the person you are with. A lucrative first meeting requires your full attention.
Ask open-ended questions.
Nothing says “I’m listening” more than asking questions. Show interest in the other person by not taking over the conversation and thinking of your next statement, but by truly listening to what they have to say. You may ask something as simple as a clarification, but it will show the person that you appreciate and respect them, and, in turn, you will receive the same appreciation and respect for yourself and your cause.
Don’t be so serious, be social.
Passionate people tend to wear their cause on their sleeve, all the time. There are times when it’s appropriate, and times when it’s not. When meeting someone new, try not to hit them between the eyes with all you know about your cause, but create an atmosphere of sociability first. Strive for a meaningful interaction instead of the importance of what you represent. Balance the conversation and let the individual know they are just as significant to you as a person as what they can do for you and your cause.
Surround yourself with independent people.
Passionate people tend to be hyper focused on their issue. There is a definite need for passion in leadership roles, but, there is a fine line that balances perspective and purpose. When that line is crossed, or out of balance, a vacuum is created and forward movement is hindered. By seeking outside, independent advice you are challenging your own status quo and not depending on people who only tell you what they think you want to hear. Evaluate your current situation and don’t be enabled by “yes men” just because they agree with you. Be open to constructive criticism from others and keep emotion out of the equation.
Find your footing with new people first, strike a balance, then move towards an equality of energy for your cause. Just because you have the ability to convince yourself and others of your vision, doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone.
Take a break from hyper.
If you aren’t living your life for the purity of enjoyment, it’s time to reassess your passion and decide if it’s healthy. One of the most crucial pitfalls for passionate people is hyper; hyper-active, hyper-focused, hyper-passionate. If your issue or work is taking up all of your time and all of your thoughts, if you aren’t interacting with friends and family, it may be time to take a break and find a way for it to not be so consuming.
While passion is vital, without proper positioning in your life it can distort your perception of reality. There is a beautiful world to discover; put everything down once in a while, step away, clear your head, and return with more balance and peace in your life.
I hope you find this helpful on many levels. We need passionate people, are you one? What do you do to avoid the pitfalls? I would love to see your comments below.
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