If you read the biographies of passionate people who made huge differences in our world -- Lincoln, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. -- many had harsh critics who considered them over the top or simply too intense. In light of their overall accomplishments, history may have softened those judgments. Being passionate about a cause is a good thing, unless others see you as someone with a non-negotiable agenda. Without some major social movement to your credit, fighting for what you believe in can sometimes give you a negative reputation.
My client Corey is one of those people. A Regional Sales Manager for a national cable company, Corey is brilliant in coaching her teams and helping them to refine their business and interpersonal skills—knowing when to push forward or pull back to maximize their sales. Typically, her teams exceeded their performance goals and regularly had the lowest turnover rates in the company.
As you might guess, Corey felt completely blindsided in a performance review when her boss suggested that she should curb her enthusiasm during interdepartmental meetings. He tactfully shared with her that the other department managers and several executives were becoming annoyed with her con¬stant role as the super-charged advocate. According to some people, Corey seemed to be overly eager (and relentlessly vocal) when representing her team, her ideas or her projects. Her take-away from the review was that enthusiasm was unwelcome in her environment. After that, Corey tried to curb her intensity but wound up feeling stifled and discouraged.