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Curb Your Enthusiasm: Keeping Your Newfound Passion in Check

Have you ever been in love, like truly in love? You know what I mean, if it has ever happened to you. You try to capture the sentiment with words, but every time you attempt to put your mortal vocabulary to it, it feels like you’re infinitely closer to describing the feeling only to have the right words drift an eternity away. It’s that kind of love that is all-consuming: you wake up thinking about it, you drift off to sleep lusting for it, it’s on your mind when you wake up. That sleep-stealing, Kylie Minogue singing can’t-get-you-out-of-my-head, I need to tell all my friends love. If you’ve been there, this post is for you.

I’m in love. Truly, madly, deeply, passionately in love with two things I never imagined I’d fall for: work and working out. One I have usually done for money because, let’s face it, a dude has bills to pay and mouths to feed, and the other, I’ve done sporadically to keep my weight in check, with mixed results over the years.

However, a funny thing happens in life when opportunity, your skill set, and your passion aligns. You find that you begin living more in flow, when, as Mihaly Csikzentmihaly would describe it, you are performing in an optimal state where in these exhilarating moments, we feel in control, full of purpose, and in the zone. Spending most of your working hours in flow is a heady rush of intoxicating emotions as you begin to conquer tasks that are not too easy, but are challenging enough to stretch you continuously as you make progress toward your goal.

As 2018 begins to shape up for me professionally and personally, I realize that I’m almost constantly performing from that sweet spot. In my day job as a senior consultant at a large non-profit, I have moved out of the learning systems space and project management, and into leadership and executive development. I have also decided to formalize the speaking, training, and facilitation work that I’ve continued to do with many great public libraries around country by forming a EduJay LLC with a focus on bringing cost-efficient, kickass competency-based learning solutions to these organizations. Finally, I’m giving myself the time and attention my body deserves by getting into the best shape of my life. In each of these three areas, I’m almost perpetually in flow.

How can you not be in love, and not be highly effective, when you are operating from a point of passion?

The flip side to living your passion is that you can start to behave like a teenager when you first fall in love. You want to shout it from the rooftops. You want to tell your friends about this amazing feeling. You want to deface trees and carve your lover’s initials in it. You want the world to know about how freaking awesome you feel.

And here I am guilty as charged. I humbly admit to blowing up many a Facebook feed and casual conversations with friends and family with how great things are going.  

“Look everyone, I hosted an amazing workshop on Motivation and Engagement!”

“Hey folks, read my latest blog post on Design Thinking and how your organization can leverage it!”

“Oh gosh, do you see how much weight you can lose if you cut out booze and diet soda? You have to hydrate before you dominate!

The point is that people by and large will be genuinely happy that you’ve found your happy. However, we must balance our excitement so that we aren’t vomiting rainbows of positivity on our unsuspecting friends and colleagues.

As I’m learning to curb my enthusiasm just a tad, I’d offer that you can and should share your passion with others. The counter balance, however, should be that what you choose to share should pass through a filter and add value to others. After all, what is the point of living in your awesome and not offering up useful nuggets that might help someone else find theirs?

Here are three tips that I find to be working as I learn how not to inundate my circle of peeps with humble brags.

Here are three tips that I find to be working as I learn how not to inundate my circle of peeps with humble brags.

1. Do your followers REALLY need to see it?

I am a late comer to Instagram, but I joined it for one purpose: by sharing my progress along my fitness journey, having to put images of myself online on a regular basis forces me to be accountable. I am huge fan of accountability, so getting feedback from Instagram’s fitness community has been uncomfortable, but amazing for me. While I have been building my Instagram following, which is miniscule to say the least, I was also sharing the same posts to Facebook. I quickly learned that as my Facebook engagement dropped off, people likely got tired of seeing and hearing about my fitness. You ultimately need to know your audience and strategically assess who cares about what messages.

2. Add value

Speaking of messages, I believe that if you are going to be evangelizing your newfound love, you need to make sure that whatever you share adds value. For example, in my naivete when I first began posting to Instagram, I might have noted in a picture how I was grinding it out at the gym that day. I’ve since moved on to sharing some of my workout routines as the photo caption instead of only spamming 30 hashtags. These types of posts have higher engagement, and for good reason: the routine can be used by someone else who is an average Joe trying to get into shape. Likewise, I’m sharing nuggets of insight from my day job and my work at EduJay LLC. Instead of posing in my suit (and yes, I look good in my suits!), I am also building bite-sized learning nuggets that anyone can take back to their organization and use for free, including assets such as 5 Steps to a Better You, the Action-Reflection-Action Model, and an explanation of stress when presenting.

3. Look for new tribes

Let’s face it: the friends, family, and colleagues we’ve built our social networks around admire and enjoy you for who you are. With that said, they might not be as in love with your passion as you are. A key component of continual growth, both personally and professionally, is to expand your network. If you have grown passionate about an area in your life, maybe it is time to find other likeminded individuals. I am constantly integrating into new tribes as I become more enmeshed in my passion areas. These new tribes will not necessarily find you. You must begin your own lion hunt. For me, the international family of entrepreneurs in the AppSumo community have been a great source of inspiration and knowledge as I build my business. Following thought leaders through my Twitter account who focus on coaching and leadership development have been a boon to my daily practice as senior consultant with my non-profit employer. The support from body builders and fitness enthusiasts across the globe pushes me to go harder in the gym every day. These tribes keep the fire of my passion burning while encouraging me to improve daily.

Nelson Mandela says it best when he wrote, "There is no passion to be found playing small--in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." Life is too short to play timid. However, relationships are too important to ruin by singing love songs all day.


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