Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:43 pm
Every now and then the pastor in my church, the gifted Scott Stoner, calls all the kids to the front of the sanctuary to sing “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!” Scott plays the guitar and interjects questions that fire up the kids like, “Are you gonna hide it under a bushel?” “No,” they yell. The enthusiasm of the kids is so contagious, within minutes all of our faces are lit up and we’re singing along.
Enthusiasm is that certain something that makes all our connections with others sing whether we’re selling a contract or training a new employee. It changes a lackluster salesperson into a top producer, a sluggish employee into a team leader, a tense environment into an energized workplace.
Enthusiasm produces – and inspires – confidence. It puts a spring in our step and in our communications with others. We like to feel it in our bones and we like to be around people who shine with it. It says, “I’ve got what it takes.” Extend that statement into enthusiasm for your organization, your products, your services – the spirit that draws others into thinking, “Hey I want to be a part of this!”
So why do we dampen it within ourselves? Why do we hide it under a bushel?
Those are questions I’ve pondered during many walks along the river.
Mind you, we all like to experience a rhythm within ourselves and with others. Even the brightest star is hidden behind the clouds periodically. No one can be “on” all the time and be taken seriously. We need quiet moments in relationships and in solitude. Professional communication includes that flexibility and the wisdom of appropriate response, not yelling “Great!” or “Fantastic!” at every pause in the conversation. We don’t trust beaming smiles and twinkling eyes if they’re constant; probably we suspect fanaticism and shy away. It feels like fake enthusiasm that’s turned on with some kind of a switch. Enthusiasm must be real and must percolate up from a well of truth.
So if you’re feeling like you’ve lost your luster, or never quite had it in the first place, you might take your own reflective walk to search out your particular fountains of enthusiasm.
You might have to rake through years of memories to uncover times when you felt fully alive. You might have to unearth some fears and meet them face to face.
You might have to survey people in your inner circle.
Keep asking yourself those powerful questions. What do you get fired up about? Your job? The growth of your business? Your products? Mentoring others? Watching employees develop and flourish? Happy hour on Friday when the work week’s over? Or what?
Answering these questions might take several walks along a river or through the park. The answers are critical. Connecting with those deep passions wakes us up, makes us feel fully alive, and attracts others to us. It cries to the world, “I’m plugged in here! I love my life – come share it with me.”
Remember, this doesn’t make every second or every tiny slice of your life exhilarating. It just gives meaning to the course you’re on – and how valuable is that?
Perhaps some of us shy away from this search for enthusiasm because we aren’t truly aligned with what’s going on in our lives. We might suspect that we really don’t like running the business, or that we, at heart, think the guy next door has a better product, or that we really should have gone to medical school. Who knows?
Thing is, if those answers are parts of your truth, they’re already stealing the sparkle out of your life. We can endure that for a while and we all do during crises of many varieties. If it has become your norm, though – it is time for a change.
Waiting, hesitating, postponing … darned if I can figure out the sense in it. You don’t belong on a shelf somewhere gathering dust. Something on this planet will spark a fiery response in you, and that is when you’ve mined gold. When you’ve uncovered your own enthusiasm and choose how you want to release it into the world. That might merely mean opening the gates a little so that your enthusiasm can be seen and felt by others. It might mean turning your life upside down. It might mean allowing your luster into your face and eyes, into a handshake, into the Monday morning staff meetings.
Or maybe you are already glowing and know all about the power of enthusiasm.
If so, look into the mirror and give yourself lots of credit and send a rousing “Thank You!” into the universe as well.