September 27, 2013
Enthusiasm! Turn that frown upside down for interview, career success
Recently, I had an instructor in an exercise class who was so enthusiastic that it made me have a fantastic experience. Yet the next time I went to the class, someone else taught it and it seemed to drag on forever.
The same thing happens at work. When you are with enthusiastic people (or when you are enthusiastic), it can affect your entire work experience. It also can impact your career success and advancement.
As an executive coach, I have heard from many employers that when they evaluate job applicants, they not only look at candidates’ skills and experience, but also enthusiasm.
Employers worry that negative applicants will not get along with others at work, will treat customers poorly and may not put much effort into their work. On the other hand, employees who are enthusiastic are seen as providing good customer service, resolving interpersonal conflict effectively and working productively with others.
Already employed? Here’s how to show enthusiasm at work:
Make sure it comes across as sincere. Sometimes just smiling makes a big difference to people around you. It puts them in a better mood. Your nonverbal cues can reflect a lot about your enthusiasm. Sit up straight, make eye contact and use an upbeat tone when communicating to others.
Use positive communication in your emails and other correspondence with your boss, colleagues and customers. After drafting an email, reread it to make sure it has a positive focus.
Proactively approach customers and colleagues to offer assistance or seek out tasks and projects. Show initiative -- that you are willing to do what it takes to get the job done.
Get feedback from a friend or coach about how you come across. Are you enthusiastic? You may say yes, but others may say no. You might not be aware of your facial expressions or nonverbal cues and how much they can indicate that you are either happy and enthusiastic or miserable and skeptical. Working to maintain a positive facial image enables you to change how others perceive you.
Take time for hobbies to reduce stress and remain pleasant. It’s amazing how exercise or just having fun can alter your mood. It sounds obvious, but often we put off taking a walk or working on a puzzle or going to a museum. Yet once we do it, we realize how much fun it was, and we come back to work with a much better perspective.
Have passion and find inspiration for what you are doing. What’s the purpose for it? How does it help you or anyone else? Passion is critical to keep you excited about your work and to keep your enthusiasm high, even during stressful times.
If you’re not passionate about your work, why would anyone around you (such as customers or employees you supervise) be interested in it?
Think about what you are grateful for. Some folks keep gratitude journals and write down each day what they are thankful for. When you think about things in this way, and express gratitude for all that you have, it can put things into perspective.
Focus on being positive. Try to look on the bright side of things. One person I worked with had family members add $1 to a money jar every time he said something positive and take away $1 every time he said something negative or whiny. This was a great way for him to see how many of his statements were seen as sarcastic or negative, and helped him to be more positive.
If you find yourself surrounded by negative people, try to spend less time with them. Negativity can suck the energy out of you, making it difficult for you to remain positive.
Be patient. Patience enables you to relax and not feel so stressed. We live in an impatient world where people expect everything to be done quickly. When you are waiting in line or stuck in traffic, patience helps you to maintain your enthusiasm and positive attitude. On the other hand, losing your cool can kill your enthusiasm.
We all enjoy working around enthusiastic people; they inspire us and motivate us to give more and to be better people. Maintaining our enthusiasm and spreading it to others will make work more rewarding. As Dale Carnegie said: “Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.”
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