Remember the last time when you were filled with enthusiasm? Humor me, stop and think about it right now. Was it at work or home? How long ago was that? How did it feel? What was the result you produced?

Last week I was at an association meeting talking about “employee engagement” which has replaced the old “employee satisfaction.” The problem I had with the whole topic is that the term engagement simply felt flat, flat, flat..for me. When table members discussed how to engage talent these days, the solutions were largely programmatic and old ideas that could be executed as an initiative. Those initiatives are easier to develop, promote, and manage–but rarely sustain the change. One speaker talked about the initiatives being “back to basics” and the senior team as really making it work. What do they have that will make the difference? By the title today, you will guess this entry is on the heels of some work with my clients on enthusiasm. Not just any enthusiasm, rather committed, confident, courageous, and competent enthusiasm.

To me the term engagement seems to speak to activity, not how employees are thinking and especially not the feeling that goes along with it. Enthusiasm is a word that makes me think of an excited, focused energy. Assuming your people are clear and competent, what would you do with a higher degree of enthusiasm? Get it clearly in your mind. Now here’s the rub. That enthusiasm must come from each person; and, each person is different. You actually can’t do anything that will reliably predict that committed enthusiasm will appear and reappear. In fact, Eckhart Tolle says in A New Earth that enthusiasm is when “deep enjoyment has the added element of a goal or a vision that you work toward.” As human beings, we can choose enthusiasm (not every moment of every day, of course). And, businesses can foster two key elements to stimulate enthusiasm: the ability to work of something really meaningful AND co-workers and bosses who are full of their own enthusiasm. Rather than an initiative or program, the solution is a flow of enthusiasm, starting with you. See if you can bring enthusiasm into whatever you are doing today. Notice what happens–for you and for those around you. Let me know what you find out!

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