The Power of Enthusiasm
by Kevin D. Crone
Over the holidays I attended a 50th anniversary party for some friends. I had a conversation with my old friend Terry. Terry has been retired for seven years. He misses his old business buddies and the thrill he got from building his customer accounts. Over the years, he became disoriented. He was unhealthy, drank too much, and became overweight. He was frustrated with all of it. Life wasn’t giving him the satisfaction and meaning it once did. He woke up one morning and did what the best of his generation usually do. He got into discovering what matters to him and gives him fulfillment.
He created an idea to improve a spot in the park he occasionally walked to. He wasn’t a gardener or landscape planner, but he took two months and planted a garden on the side of a hill in a beautiful Burlington Park. He also put things where people could sit in this peaceful setting before and after they worked out. Then people started doing yoga there. He revels at how much people enjoyed it and felt that what he accomplished for others really mattered. He continually improved it and now he can’t wait to get at it again in the spring. He told me how his enthusiasm caused him to learn so much about plants and how to properly take care of them.
This simple, one step at a time plan caused him to improve his life. The power of enthusiasm will do that. He lost 25 lbs. by doing the work, other health issues improved and his confidence and excitement led to becoming grateful for what he has in life, instead of feeling frustrated and a bit used up. He made a list of what other things mattered to him and is in the process of doing something about them in time, as he says, “God willing.”
His biggest achievement is in the way he communicates with his family and friends. He’s looking back on great times now, instead of just the bad ones. He says it’s all upstairs.
“Your attitude makes the difference and anyone can improve or refresh their life.”
Later that evening, we looked into the family room of our mutual friend’s house and about seven or eight young people had their heads down on their smart phones. He then made the comment that some young people don’t know how to do anything for the long haul. They’re addicted to doing everything for instant gratification which they can get on their phones. If they don’t get it quickly – they quit. They quit their job, relationship, whatever. They go looking somewhere else as if everything is a “Google search away”, instead of looking at themselves for what matters and instead of making a commitment to constantly improve.
Our dialogue took us to the fact that, somehow, we failed to prepare them for the reality of business, raising a family, etc. by constantly telling them how great they are. They can become discouraged and lose confidence quickly when they realize they don’t find their big importance immediately and instead, have to be long range oriented and work at something they love, like we did. As a result, they don’t know how to handle setbacks and the stresses of life like we had to do. As employers, grandparents, or friends, we just don’t know what to do.
He said advances in technology are unbelievably great but worries that these social media tools don’t lead to strong personal relationships. Who do they count on or listen to? Do they take coaching or advice? Also, modern day corporations who choose to slash their workforce so they can improve next years numbers don’t help in building a culture that these bright young people expect. Loyalty, commitment, building employees for their success goes out the window.
Terry’s Drive is to Constantly:
- Love what he does
- Build long lasting relationships with people that listen, stay with him, and care
- Take responsibility for his results
- Improve himself, to engage for the long haul
- Work on his attitude
My research tells me that it’s not all the Millennials’ fault. Between the no accountability parenting, the connected social media addiction that gives instant gratification, and the poor culture of corporations, too many of our wonderful young people wind up not confident, lack solid relationship skills, can’t handle the ups and downs and can’t relate to self improvement that allows them to hang in throughout the long term game of life.
If you’re a Millennial, realize it’s not your fault. The reality of life is going to hit you. You can, and hopefully will, discover that you can turn it around like Terry did, your parents and grandparents had to and everyone can – regardless of age. The fundamentals of how to cope and excel are still alive and well, even if they don’t seem fashionable and modern to you or if you don’t think you need them.
A) Make your friends and family and customers the centre of your life. Be of service like Terry did. Get genuinely interested in others. Make your customer’s success, your success. (Suggestion…immediately digest “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, the number one rated book of the 20th century. Digest it and practice it again and again).
B) Look for ways to build your confidence.Confidence comes from doing things you were afraid of or uncomfortable doing. Not just from positive pep talks.
C) Seek out mentoring, training and coaching. Develop the life skills of developing your people and leadership skills, being others-oriented, handling stress and worry, and using the power of enthusiasm.
If you’re not a millennial, become empathetic about the situation your young friends, relatives or employees face. Be patient. Listen. Dig into engaging them into how to grow. Build them as a commitment, not just as a business strategy. Be a coach and mentor.
Terry could teach a lot of us how to reinvent our lives, how to cope with life’s changes and disappointments, how to be a long term force in the world of others. I hope his comments and insights help us all.
Have a great week!
Kevin D. Crone
Dale Carnegie Business Group
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