As a leader in my 20s, I remember having a lot of passion in whatever project or endeavor I set my mind to. Passion can be contagious and I think seeing a mentor leading with passion rubbed off on an eager young adult like me. In fact, people were able to overlook some of my inadequacies as a leader because of my authentic passion in my work and for helping people.
But passion can be a double edged sword. It can be an incredible strength that inspires and brings hope to the weary. Yet a misguided passion can bulldoze our senses and often lead us to say or do things that we would later regret. Some passions like anger can cause us to act in a dangerous way.
An example of a misguided passion is saying something in a meeting that you feel passionate about and you spit it out without giving much forethought. This unfiltered comment causes hurt and suspicion even though your motive was to propel an honest discussion. If you had a moment to reflect, then you would have realized it wasn’t the time and place. As you can probably tell, this scenario is all too real because they were my experiences.
Now, the point is not to quench your passion but to live in that tension of passion and poise.
When I watch some of the NBA basketball players, I see some who may have a ton of passion in every game but when things get to their head, their emotions take over and it actually hurts their game rather than helping them. One example is Russell Westbrook who is an incredibly gifted player but sometimes doesn’t know how to control his emotions on the court. If he somehow learns to control that passion, his killer spirit and the poise when necessary, he can not only be a great player, but a great teammate, leader, and eventually a champion.