Career: Why I am okay with being labeled as "intense."


Twice this week I was told I was "intense." Twice. And if you count the amount of times I was told this in my 39 years of existence on this planet - I've run out of fingers and toes. You know every time someone blurts that descriptor out, it hurts my feelings. Yes, thick-skinned Johanna is actually quite sensitive. And then I thought...

What is so wrong with being intense? If you're intensely focused, that's a good thing right? Intense people get the job done. You want an intense person on your team. Intense often means passion. And if you're not passionate about life, I think to myself, god how mundane! 

But listen, I know I am not for everyone. I've written about this before when I lost a friendship over being intense. Guess what? Neither are you! What is the definition of intense? I mean, really...

Intensity isn’t a bad thing — It’s just often misunderstood. Intense people often get told to “lighten up,” or “calm down,” which can really irritate them. Someone driven with intensity cannot simply change their behavior. They are forceful, strong-willed, and often very productive and passionate.

So here's the thing. I don't wanna apologize for being who I am. And if that authentically means being intense or passionate, I guess that means you're either in or you're out. I am not holding a knife to anyone's throat. I am also pretty unapologetic about it at this point in my life. You know what they say, "...can't teach an old dog new tricks."

Let's talk about some intense people and reflect: Bill Gates, Tom Brady, Anna Wintour, Tadashi Yanai, Marissa Mayer, Jeff Bezos. You get my drift, right?

I sit back and reflect on some of my successful friends who own companies. Guess what? They're intense, too. Probably why we like talking to each other so much! But really, as a mother of two little girls, the biggest lesson I want to instill in them is to be true to themselves and just own it. Like a badge. Whatever that is. The rest of the world will either choose to accept or move on and those that do...that's okay, too. 

Sure, there are moments I look back and think to myself, "Gosh, I could have dialed it back a little." Absolutely. But really, this shit doesn't keep me up at night because I have spoken my truth and darn it, I really mean it! You will always know where I stand. It could be the sales person in me but there is nothing worse than gray. It's like death. Life is too short for gray! I realize that everything is not black and white but when I am negotiating, I don't know...I've got some years behind me and I gotta tell's pretty black and white. You either have the budget or you don't, right?

Not all rules apply in life. Life isn't one big deal or sale. I know this. But what I do know is that I am totally okay with who I am. 100%.

Hi, I am Johanna and I am intense. 

By the way, this is a great article and describes me and a couple people I know to a tee.