I love passionate people. People who throw themselves into their work with every last erg of energy they have. To them, everything about their work is important. It’s serious business and they drive hard to form the world in an image they’re proud of.
With passion, however, comes peril. If everything is important, you tend to get worked up over every issue no matter how large or small. You feel it necessary to stand up for what’s right in every instance. You might even seek to transform situations by injecting yourself into them even if you don’t really have a say in the matter. The result is repeatedly diving on your sword for many issues or sticking your beak where it doesn’t belong and getting involved in problems that are larger than you.
As usual on this blog, I’m going to give you a helpful little tool to help you avoid all those nasty sword gashes. All you have to do is ask and answer one simple little question:
“What’s the upside?”
That’s it. That simple. That single question will keep you out of more trouble than you can imagine. It provides what I call “clarifying moments” that help you better evaluate a situation and the possible range of impacts and implications of the actions you’re considering. If there’s no upside, it’s not worth fighting for or taking the risk. If the upside is clear, dive on in.