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How to Maintain Enthusiasm!

Posted by: rlaccmarcom on Monday, March 2, 2009
Paul Vitale is a good friend to the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce. After meeting him, we can't think of anyone who would argue that he is far and away one of the most enthusiastic people you'll ever encounter. In fact, we feel more enthusiastic (not surprisingly) just reading his article below - so much so that an exclamation point was warranted in the blog title!

Paul has served as a speaker for a number of our events and our members have heard from him on topics such as customer service and leadership. This article, however, really captures his ability to deliver personal improvement tips that can truly impact a business. We thought it might be of interest to many of our member businesses:

How to Maintain Enthusiasm
“How do you maintain enthusiasm in this whirlwind of life today? No, really – how do you keep your level of energy spiraling upward, not downward?” That’s a commonly asked question, and many people have a variety of answers. In my profession, one of the greatest opportunities I have is being enthusiastic. It’s tough at times, though. Believe me, I too am human and don’t always wake up on the right side of the bed; but over the years, I’ve learned that enthusiasm is a choice. I can assure you that it’s not as hard as it sounds.

Enthusiasm is often defined as simply having a passionate interest in something. But what does that passion really accomplish? For starters, the passion that is generated through enthusiasm sets an important tone and pace that greatly influences our daily lives. It helps define objectives that are important to us and it provides the incredible chance to create positive change.

Now that sounds good, but where do we find that passion and how do we let it shine? There are a few key questions that you can ask yourself to discover where your passions are, how to become enthusiastic about them, and how to help others sustain their enthusiasm.

First, where does your self-confidence measure today? Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become. Having self-confidence is not about being arrogant, but possessing a belief in our true ability to succeed. Accomplishing or succeeding in anything takes a state-of-mind that is passionate, resilient and willing to learn from the trials and tribulations of everyday experiences. As we know, life’s battles don’t discriminate. If we think we have been beaten, we definitely have; if we like to achieve, but think we can’t, it is almost certain we won’t; if our self-confidence is lost, so is our will.

Remember – preparation creates confidence and through continuous practice, confidence evolves into competence. At that point, we find ourselves accomplishing tasks gracefully and with great assurance.

Second, are your reactions calm, steady and composed? By demonstrating grace under pressure, each of us inspires others to stay calm and act intelligently. When issues arise, it’s natural to want to hide in a hole, instead of taking a stand or position. Through a calm, steady and composed reaction, we have the opportunity to respond to what has to be done, when it needs to be done, for however long it takes. Things will continuously happen and people will always act and react in certain ways. We might not be able to control that, but we can keep this in mind – maintaining our composure is in the details. It’s not what we say; it’s how we say it.

Remember – at times, composure’s greatest enemy is anxiety. Try not to worry – you can’t change the past, but you sure can ruin the present by worrying over the future. The large majority of the things we worry about never happen and the rest are going to happen anyway. Calmness is an extension of our self-confidence and faith that in the end, everything will work out.

Third, is your communication flow moving freely? Two people can look at the exact same thing, but perceive it totally differently. Just as two people can hear the exact same thing, but interpret it many different ways. The quality of the exchange of information between individuals sets the table for either success or failure. When each of us has a true understanding and connection to those around us, the exchange of feedback and the value of accountability are made easier. Keeping the lines of communication open helps eliminate misunderstandings that can jeopardize our level of enthusiasm.

Remember – explain to people what you expect. Develop a plan for accomplishing your objectives and goals and then launch it. Be the first to listen for feedback that may signal the need for a strategy change. When things go wrong, take two things – charge and responsibility. When things go right, share two things – glory and praise.

Fourth, are you emphasizing the good qualities of others? Emphasizing the good qualities of people is extremely contagious. It has a domino effect. When we hear others building people up, it’s easy to join in. However, we know how easy it is to stray off in the opposite direction as well. People want to feel valued and respected for their place in life. A kind and sincere word of appreciation doesn’t cost anything, but pays big dividends in loyalty and dedication. Finding the good qualities in others is a selfless act of placing others first, more often than last. In return, much more is received than given. You are able to feel good about yourself and that helps sustain your enthusiasm.

Remember - research has shown that individuals who receive regular recognition and praise are more likely to commit to the team, become more productive and even tack on additional years to their lives. Studies indicate that increasing positive emotions can lengthen a lifespan by 10 years; whereas being in negative surroundings consistently can increase the risk of stroke by up to 33%.

Fifth, do you recognize the strength of influence? Every relationship in your life will affect you one way or another. Those who do not increase you will decrease you. Take note of those who readily share your vision and complement your efforts, because they are the ones who will make you better. The strength of our influence has the power to affect the minds and actions of many in a direct or indirect way. Realize we are where we are today because of the many who have influenced us along the way.

Remember – our attitude is not determined by circumstances, but by how we respond to circumstances. Our minds determine our attitude. We can respond positively or negatively. It’s how we react to the events, not the events themselves, which determines our attitude.

Sixth, are you continuing to look inward — then outward? Most people don’t want to be managed. They want to be led. Who has ever heard of a world manager? World leader, yes. Education leader, political leader, religious leader, scout leader, community leader, business leader. They lead – they don’t necessarily just manage. Individuals who are able to look inward and get excited about their own lives, are then in turn provided the incredible opportunity to look outward and enthuse others. If we concentrate on managing ourselves first, and do that well, then we’ll be able to stop just managing, and start leading.

Remember – no great leader ever succeeded alone. There is always a team of followers. It’s much easier to find great followers if the leader is able to generate excitement for the cause.

Life is chaotic and it is easy to feel beaten down. However, find what motivates you, what you can be passionate about and what drives you to get up in the morning. Focus on these things and use the energy that you derive from that and channel it into the things you may be less enthusiastic about. Do this and you may even find yourself enjoying some things that you were dreading. Soon, you’ll find yourself answering the question, “So how do you maintain enthusiasm in this whirlwind of life today?”

C. 2008 Vital Communications, Inc. — Paul Vitale, professional speaker and author, presents keynote presentations and seminars across North America. For additional information, visit paulvitale.com or call 501-663-1454 or 501-868-8195.

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