I’ll never forget my first ever annual review.
My manager ended it on a strange note: “your greatest asset is your enthusiasm. Never lose that.”
“Enthusiasm?”, I scoffed. How patronising! So, despite my efforts to be more strategic and confident, enthusiasm is what he valued most? WOW. In the heat of the moment, I felt like an overenthusiastic labrador, tail wagging, mouth aimlessly open.
But, actually, he was right.
My enthusiasm has been mentioned in every career conversation, annual review and interview since. It’s the reason I’ve got jobs, unexpected bonuses and career-changing opportunities.
Enthusiasm is an asset. And while I didn’t realise it at the time, my manager’s feedback was said with a tinge of regret.
These days, I truly, wholeheartedly believe that enthusiasm can take you where experience and knowledge can’t. Of course, you need the skills to pay the bills, but enthusiasm takes things to the next level. It enlivens your work and makes you memorable.
Because most people just show up. They do what they need to do, collect their pay check, go home, sleep and repeat. They’re low-energy. Visibly bored. Clearly just there to pay for rent and rounds of drinks to suppress their boredom.
But you were born to be so much more than lukewarm.
You only have to look at children to see that enthusiasm is a human’s natural state. Maybe we get it kicked out of us as teenagers, in the quest to be “cool and collected”? Maybe we lose our lust for life thanks to dead-end jobs and uninspiring colleagues? Whatever the case, it’s never too late to become an enthusiast.
So try it.
Be the high-energy person in the room. Be the person who chooses to be engaged, rather than hiding behind their laptop. Bring people together, rather than just being present. Be curious. Ask pertinent questions. Never stop wondering. Never be embarrassed to be enthusiastic.
If you love something, LOVE it hard and love it vocally. Sing and shout and share your love for the things you’re into. If you’re interested in something, immerse yourself in it. If you see something beautiful in someone, tell them. And if you like another person’s work or words or way of thinking? Reach out. Share your enthusiasm.
It won’t go unnoticed.
After all, nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. You’ll be surprised by the results, mark my words.