Exuberance can be a narcotic—making you do stupid stuff. Like publicly committing to do something prematurely.
It happens to me so often, I have to intentionally monitor myself. Too often I’ll commit to an idea on the merit of my enthusiasm for it without evaluating my other commitments, or my capacity to keep the commitment.
I respond that way because I genuinely want to support the idea and the people that are a part of it. And I do it because I believe the idea will be fun and intrinsically rewarding. But I have a lot of those; too many, in fact.
So I have to be on my guard, especially when I’m in a creative session with a client or leading a one of the non-profits leadership teams I’m part of. In those sessions I operate as a venture catalyst; igniting ideas and action plans to implement them. It’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement of it all, particularly when you enjoy the people you’re working with.
Exuberance is a great stimulant for action, but left unchecked, at least for me, it can be addictive. How do I know when I’m intoxicated?
- When I jump on a commitment that can’t be immediately dispatched without proper consideration of my present workload
- When I set aside more important commitments just to win the approval of others which seems more immediate and urgent
- When I buy into the fantasy that I can accomplish the commitment easily and others will exuberantly do their part
- When I commit to doing something that doesn’t support my mission or is not supported by my family
- When I’m convinced I’ll always remain euphoric about it
Those are pretty good tests for me. Here’s another: If I start boasting about my commitments before I’ve completed them. For all his vileness, the one-time king of Israel, Ahab, said something worth remembering: “One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off” (1 Kings 20:11).
It’s one thing to stimulate action with exuberance, it’s quite another to be drunk with it.
If you suffer from exuberance addiction, how do you keep yourself in check?