The overenthusiasm trap: Getting in too deep

I think a lot of people when they get energized or excited about something, like a project or a new opportunity, the tendency is to throw yourself into it with big ideas and plans to overachieve. While the sentiment is good, sometimes in order to perform to the best of your abilities it’s important to know where the edge is of extraordinary effort and good sense. By this I mean knowing when you are biting off more than you can chew. There’s a line there that shouldn’t be crossed because oftentimes in trying to achieve too much you overextend yourself. So instead of making sure that you do an incredible job of the bare minimum assigned to you, you fail in trying to do more than was asked. While the intentions and the enthusiasm are very admirable it doesn’t change the fact that failure to deliver is failure to deliver.

I’m all for taking chances but I’ve been a part of too many projects where you get to where you wanted to at the very beginning and then you set yourself back because you then try to over-deliver. I think it’s important to be flexible but you really need to be careful when you begin to think about how much extra you can do. You need to think about the risk that doing those extra things will bring you then look at the incremental value vs. the cost of failure.

To put it in perspective, say you have somebody come in and do some work on your house. They came in, tore some things out, painted, put it all back together and then made it look really nice. Problem is that they left all the trash in the middle of your living room because they ran out of time and needed to move on to the next thing. You would be upset due to a job not finished and maybe think that those extra touches might not have been worth it. So before you set out on a path to over deliver something make sure you have thought it out and have a plan because its better to excel at the job given then to give a half finished product with a bunch of added embellishments. I know that I have been a victim of being overly enthusiastic about a project and biting off more than I can chew. I’d be curious to know if anyone else has fallen victim to their own enthusiasm and how they were able to rectify the situation?

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