Do You Have Contagious Enthusiasm?

Enthusiasm is contagious! Think about the most enjoyable and memorable professors you had in college. More likely than not, they possessed unbridled enthusiasm for their subject. Whether it was Art 101 or Political Science, they drew you in. They captivated your attention and interest.

The word enthusiasm comes from the Greek enthousiasmós. It means, literally, “possession by a god” or “having a god within.” Doesn’t that say it all? When you are truly enthusiastic about what you do, you have such excitement, zeal, ardor, and passion that it’s as if you are possessed!

Whether you’re dealing with a client or your boss, or you’re in a job interview, it’s essential to have enthusiasm. It lights up the room. It draws people to you. It wins them over to your cause.

On the flip side, how would you feel if you were about to have brain surgery, and just before putting you under the neurosurgeon says “You know, I’m getting tired of surgery…I’m thinking about going into real estate.” I don’t know about you, but I would shout “Stop!” and find another doctor!

Strengthening your enthusiasm

1. Make sure you’re in the right profession. Would you say you (1) Love your work; (2) Neither particularly like nor dislike your work; or (3) Don’t really enjoy what you do? Sure, we all have to earn a living somehow, but there are hundreds of ways to do that. If you’re not waking up in the morning excited about your work, you need to think hard about why that’s the case.

2. Make sure you’re in the right job. Again, rate your enthusiasm for your job using the 1-3 scale, above: Do you (1) Love your job—i.e., your current role; (2) Neither particularly like nor dislike this specific job; or (3) Don’t really enjoy this job?

3. Give yourself new challenges. Sometimes, we work in an avocation for many years and it can become routine. Develop a new sub-specialty, get a new role in your organization, or do something else to reinvigorate your enthusiasm for your work.

4. Be enthusiastic about other people’s ideas and plans. My own tendency, when someone shares an idea with me, is start assessing how original the idea is and what the risks are. Not good! Get excited about someone’s proposal before you start criticizing it.

5. Work on your gratitude. When we’re feeling grateful, it’s much easier to become excited and fervent about what we do.

What are you most enthusiastic about in your work right now? In your life?

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