Enthusiasm – It is Contagious

Who would you rather be with at work? Someone who hates what they are doing, or someone who loves what they are doing?

The answer is obvious. People who love what they do seem to have a charisma or enthusiasm about them. Their attitudes are contagious, and for obvious reasons, they are simply more enjoyable to be around.

Remember different teachers you might have had in high school or college? I remember teachers that lectured – or should I say read from notes or a manuscript – to their classes. They never even looked up at their students. I also remember teachers who spoke from their hearts. They encouraged questions and classroom participation. They weren’t necessarily funny, but somehow their classes were fun and exciting to be in.

What’s the difference between the two? Well, part of the answer is enthusiasm. One teacher is simply doing the job, just going through the motions. The other teacher is immersed in his or her job, involved with the students and creating a learning experience. The first teachers educate the students by lecturing. All information is going one way, from teacher to student. Either the student gets it or doesn’t. They try to take notes and listen, with every attempt not to fall asleep. The other teachers are encouraging two way learning. They interact and communicate with students.

Isn’t it almost the same in the working environment? Some people just work for their paycheck. Others work for their company and personal fulfillment.

This reminds me of a story that I first heard Zig Ziglar tell at one of his seminars. There were some employees of a major railroad company standing around the tracks. A large limousine pulls up to the workers and out steps a well dressed man, the president of the railroad company. The president walks up to one of the workers and says, “Hello Bob, how are you?” Bob says, “I’m doing great, Gene. Thanks for asking.”

When the president of the company walked away, the workers were impressed with Bob and asked him how he knew the president of the company on a first name basis. Bob told them that twenty years ago they started working together.

The workers asked Bob, “How come he’s president and you still work out here in the yard?”

Bob replied, “Twenty years ago when we started together, I went to work for the paycheck. Gene went to work for the railroad company.”

Gene obviously loved what he did and managed to work his way up to becoming president of the company. He didn’t get there by not caring or not having a passion for what he did. To get to the top where Gene started took a lot of hard work and enthusiasm in his job and his life.

Enthusiastic people tend to be more successful. And people like to be around enthusiastic people. If you can’t get excited about what you do and what you and your company sell, then you won’t get anyone around you excited either.

It is also important to understand that enthusiasm doesn’t mean you have to be physically excited about what you do. A friend of mine is a speaker. Technically speaking, he is a terrible speaker. He stands behind the lectern and speaks to the audience in a dull and monotone voice. When he starts a program his audience members immediately look at their watches to see when the next break will be.

What makes him different from the teachers we talked about above is that he really does have enthusiasm, he is just not capable of physically showing it. After just a few minutes the audience starts to pick up on it, and within fifteen to twenty minutes they are sitting on the edge of their seats, soaking up his information.

Every once in a while there is a twinkle in his eye. You can tell he loves what he is talking about. He is just not a good speaker. And, that is okay. The audience accepts that, and picks up on his passion for the subject on which he is presenting. While not physically evident, he does have the enthusiasm that it takes to get others excited.

Enthusiasm is contagious. And, a fellow professional speaker, Danny Cox, says that if enthusiasm is contagious, and what you have is not enthusiasm, that is also contagious!