In my last post I talked about the enthusiast and why communicating with them can be difficult. Even as I wrote that piece I knew my clarity came from deep personal experience.
Its embarrassing to admit to myself let alone to you, but here goes …I am an enthusiast! (Gosh, even the exclamation marks give it away.)
And while energy and enthusiasm are extremely important contributions to any project or goal, they can be distracting and, in situations where direct communication is essential, be perceived as dishonest.
So … are you an enthusiast? Consider these questions:
1) Is a quick “yes” your standard answer to requests from others? Whether it is sitting on a Board, or helping out at an event, or providing “help” in a myriad of ways, do you most often say “yes” without hesitation?
2) When others share their ideas with you, do you often interject with your own suggestions and solutions instead of listening attentively?
3) Does your interest and curiosity in others’ projects lead you to offer your help, your time – even though you haven’t been asked?
4) Do you often receive proposals or detailed information from others as a result of an interesting conversation, but know you’ll never pursue the products or services?
5) Do you always have too many promises or commitments on your “to do” list?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might be an enthusiast and while you don’t want to eliminate that wonderful, inspiring energy, you may want to tame it a bit.
Here’s some language I’ve found helpful.
Years ago a dear friend said to me “There’s really three answers to every question – yes, no and I don’t know.” This was a revelation to me at the time – the notion of fully embracing “I don’t know”, but it does allow me to curb my enthusiasm. Saying “I don’t know if I’m available” or “I don’t know if that service is valuable to me” is my pause button, providing me more time to consider all the facts.
Other phrases that work include “Let me think about that” or “I need to give that some thought” or “Let me discuss this with a few other people”.
What about you? Do you work at reigning in your enthusiasm? Or do you have suggestions for the enthusiasts in your life? I’d be honoured if you’d share.