By Sunny Simon

How do you dial down your intensity level? That question was posed by a client during a recent coaching session. His query made sense. When I met him two years ago it did not take long to realize Mitch was driven to succeed.

One definition of intensity is “a high or extreme degree.” Intensity is also “the fire you draw on when you are dealing with heightened circumstances.” No matter how you describe this high spirited personality characteristic, it is the degree of intensity that can serve to catapult you to great achievements or inhibit your ability to work harmoniously with others.

Consider the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, who was recently named number five on Forbes’ “Richest People on the Planet” list. Impressive, yes, however, it is public knowledge that Bezos’ intensity level has cast him in the role of a demanding boss known for delivering harsh rebukes and tossing humiliating comments at employees. At times, Bezos, driving persona can demoralize others and conjure up negative feelings.

A highly emotional reaction to an intense desire to achieve can be destructive. As my client recognized, it is worth learning to control and temper such actions. So how do you apply the brakes when your gut reaction is to mow down anyone standing in the way of progress?
There are multiple strategies beginning with the tried and true numbers game, counting to 10. My personal go-to is a walk about. Do that physically, if possible, by briefly excusing yourself, postponing a discussion, or just mentally taking a time out. Once you eject yourself from a situation driven by your escalating intensity, practice some relaxation techniques. Do a deep breathing regimen to attain a state of tranquility.

When you begin to feel relaxed, get analytical. Zero in on what triggered your strong feelings. Take a moment to examine the consequences of forging ahead full stream versus employing a little consideration for the opposition you were about to crush. Ask yourself how important this will be in the long run. Does the situation really warrant a level of aggressive action, or can you bring it down a notch and accomplish the goal without shattering relationships and burning bridges?

A final suggestion, accept the fact that not everyone drives at mega speed. There is a difference between compromising your intention and lightening up a bit. Try it. You will attain the same results with less stress and increased harmony.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog,