When Passion gets in the Way

It happened again. My passion for vision-driven-living ended a conversation and squashed an opportunity to connect and engage.

There were six of us sitting around the table at lunch. I said to the person opposite me, “If I asked you to pour your life into mine, what I would become?” They asked for clarification. So I said, “If you mentored me where would you take me?”

By the time my lunch partner finished talking, the entire table was quietly listening. Upon concluding, he looked across the table and extended the appropriate social courtesy by turning the question in my direction.

Opportunities to describe the energizing power and guiding value of vision-driven-living get me rolling.

I began well enough. However, before long, I was drawing imaginary targets and vigorously tracing invisible lines on the table. I unintentionally steam rolled my table mate and fellow eaves droppers with my passion.

Upon concluding my soliloquy we began eating silence for dessert. What could they say? My passion silenced them. Gradually, people turned to each other and started side conversations. Awkward! Worse, I missed an opportunity to connect and perhaps influence.

Bold passion works in large public gatherings, quiet confidence at lunch.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written on this topic. I wrote, “The Power of Calm” and “Creating Passion with Managed Emotion.” However, it’s one thing to know, it’s another to execute.

Pushing away or drawing in

I know you want positive influence with others. Relationship opens the door to influence. Furthermore, the closer the relationship the greater the potential influence.

While in relational contexts, one-sided passion may overwhelm and push people away. Quiet calm draws them in.

Leadership success, frequently, is based on stopping ineffective behaviors not developing new ones. I need to stop overwhelming small groups and individuals with my passion.


What other leader-behaviors hinder relationship building in one-on-ones and with small groups?