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“Oh my God, you’re just so intense!”
“You’re too full on!”

“Enough already, can’t you tone it down?!”

“Take it easy, you’ll give yourself a heart attack!”

 

Recognise this? You probably have a lot of energy, and you channel it into things, intensely. You’ve always felt different to other people – you feel things more strongly, more passionately, more deeply than others around you seem to. You might be highly intelligent, genius even, with a passion to match.

Sometimes you’ll meet someone on your wavelength with the same – or greater – intensity level. This can be awesome, positive reinforcement. Or it can be catastrophic as you tailspin into mutual destruction. But that’s another article sometime.

It’s like the emotional and energy equivalents of musical dynamics.

Lots of people live their lives in the middle: mp, mf. But you live your life across the whole range, from ppp to fff. And to the mid-range people you look like a loony, because a ppp or fff is beyond their experience and understanding. They probably wonder if it’s even possible or healthy, for that matter. Hence the misunderstandings when your experience is more intense than they could even imagine. They just don’t get it.

 

This kind of intensity comes with its advantages, and its downsides.

 

Advantages:

  • When you get going, you keep going.
  • You deliver way more than people expect.
  • You feel things, more than other people do.
  • When you’re moved to action, whether inspired or outraged, you whip up a storm.
  • You can focus, intensely, to the exclusion of other things.

 

Disadvantages:

  • When you get going, you keep going.
  • You deliver way more than people expect.
  • You feel things, more than other people do.
  • When you’re moved to action, whether inspired or outraged, you whip up a storm.
  • You can focus, intensely, to the exclusion of other things.

 

 

Yes, you read that right. The upsides and downsides are two sides of the same coin. The very thing that gives you your passion, drive, and follow-through, is the exact same thing that can wear you out, wear out those around you (or at the very least weird them out), and burn you out.

So what can you do about it?

First off, get to know your dynamic range. Get familiar with your own intensity. How it works for you.

Recognise the upsides and downsides. These will be personal – specific to you. There are always commonalities, but your particular flavour of intensity will be yours.

Learn how to handle it. How to ride the passion and not get worn out. How to overdeliver without weirding people out (especially in friendships). How to take inspired action without burning out – or burning other people in the process.

This whole process takes time (yes, dammit, I know you want it right now!) and a good dose of self-awareness.

But it’s possible.

Through learning to handle your intensity, you can do more of the stuff that you really care about, get on better with the less-intense people in your life, and keep yourself safe from burn-out.

You won’t get it perfect, but I can promise you’ll be a lot happier and healthier when you handle your intensity like a pro.

How does your intensity get in your way?

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