Bright-eyed & bushy-tailed

Recently I had some business in Washington, DC where I lived in my 20’s. Interestingly I met up with the rest of my team just blocks away from where I once lived. Of course memories flooded back and I thought about how new and exciting every day seemed when I lived there. Regardless of what I was doing or where I was going, everything was an adventure. My next thought was “When was the last time I let myself get that excited about something?”

I had to think about that for a good few minutes. Why didn’t I have that same spring in my step now? No one told me to stop it. So: what if I practiced being that enthusiastic now, and arrived at every interaction with the wisdom of my 40-something years plus the exuberance of being 20-something?” Wow, talk about a powerful combination!

Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash

When I think about all the people I admire professionally and personally, they usually share a few common traits: they are completely authentic, open, and importantly, enthusiastic regardless of how long they have been in their role or their profession. I always try to model those who walk into every situation with that type of energy and openness.

Enthusiastic people also command a room; inspire teams, motivate employees and build trust. Being around them is contagious. I like that they view every situation as an opportunity to meet a new person, gain a new insight or learn a new way of doing things. The meeting, event or conversation is never something to check off a list.

I think many of us deny ourselves the permission to be enthusiastic. Pack mentality sometimes encourages us to be unimpressed or blase.

When I was reading up on the body language of enthusiasm (queue up Amy Cuddy’s TED talk if you missed it in my earlier post) I also found this interesting post from a coach who notes that confidence is about ourselves; enthusiasm is about others. And naturally, we are always most drawn to people who are interested in us.

Next time I find myself defaulting to a “been there, done that” mindset I’m going to rewind and remember that the only way to be that person who inspires and builds trust is to bring some of that bright-eyed, bushy-tailed attitude from a couple decades ago to my present situation!

Who inspires you? Is enthusiasm part of their appeal? I’d be interested in your take!