Passionate, Not Volatile

Passion is exciting and attractive. Volatility is scary and repulsive.

Recently, I lost my temper. My passion boiled over into volatility and I became sharp, critical, and offensive. The situation does not matter. How I felt before and after the situation matters.
Just before this loss of control I felt the heat of adrenaline. I was physically shaking in frustration and anger, and my tongue was raised to the roof of my mouth. My chin felt compelled to open and my breath was heavy behind my lips almost like a manic dog on the other side of his owner’s fence.
Immediately after my outburst, my energy had dissipated. I felt vague satisfaction, and resolve. It felt good, like the popping of a balloon. These beneficial feelings are the fleeting positive reinforcement that comes from aggression. Unfortunately, these are feelings that my anger and volatility crave.
No less than 30 seconds after the brief positive release came the deep-seeded guilt and self-loathing. Remorse and shame replaced the positive feelings, and I realized that I had made a fool out of myself. I had just alienated the people I wanted on my team. I created a scary and volatile environment. I lost the moral “high ground” required for business leadership.
Moving forward, I will try to be more aware of the heat and adrenaline. I am going to try to reprogram the automatic release response to one of restraint and thoughtfulness.
I will try to eliminate volatility but retain the passion and caring that is inside me.
I am a business owner and (supposed to be) a leader. The only currency I have is the trust of those around me, and I will have to improve to earn trust.


Larry Bird and Julius Erving (Dr. J ) in the infamous trash-talking choke-out Nov. 9, 1984 .

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  • Luiggi says:

    Being a leader isn’t always pretty but it takes a lot of guts to acknowledge something like this and unfortunately not all business leaders are aware of moments like this and it’s usually because the people who work for them are too afraid to call them out, even more now after the outbursts. Passion and volatility both stem from the same core they just speak different languages. Great read! Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge.

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