Leadership Series - Enthusiasm: Napoleon Hill on Leading Yourself
No one wants to follow a dud and if you can't get yourself excited about something you need to do, then you won't even be able to lead yourself let alone anyone else.
Creating enthusiasm where no enthusiasm exists seems like a nearly impossible task but there is a secret to it - a secret I learned in the Marine Corps when it was hard to be enthusiastic about training in some of the coldest and rainiest weather I've ever been in. This is a secret that high achievers use every day to get through difficult, miserable or complex tasks. Are you ready for it? Here it is: Act enthusiastic. That's right, even if you have to fake it at first, just simply act enthusiastic. In fact, over act your enthusiasm about whatever it is you're doing and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.
Creating new enthusiasm, even if you feel like you're faking it at first, will do a couple of things for you. First, it will create an appearance of enthusiasm for others to observe which in turn then creates accountability for you to maintain a degree of excitement about what it is you are doing and push you to follow through. Second, it helps to generate enthusiasm in others. Enthusiasm is contagious. If you've ever been to a baseball game and been caught up in the excitement as fans created a wave that went all the way around the stands, you know that it took a few people trying to get it started before it finally made its way to you and not wanting to be the party pooper, you stood up and threw your hands in the air with everyone else - something you likely wouldn't have done by yourself.
So the point is this - before you can affect change in others, your team or your followers for example, you must first affect change in yourself. That's right, you have to lead yourself before you can ever have a shot at leading others. In order to do this, you need to do what Napoleon Hill listed as a major attribute of personal initiative and learn to generate enthusiasm at will and you have to learn to control it. Enthusiasm helps to bridge the gap between what we would like to see ourselves doing and getting us to actually do it. This is a super power of personal achievement and a quality of great leadership.
The power of generating enthusiasm on command will pave one of the quickest paths toward your own achievement and will aid in building momentum toward the collective achievement of your team or organization. Always remember that enthusiasm feeds off the enthusiasm of others. As you generate it, you'll find strength in your own enthusiasm and it will be a source of refreshment and nourishment for others and before you know it, you'll be getting the job done and making the best from even the coldest and rainiest conditions.
Suggestions for Improvement
When you start, act like you couldn't wait to start and be as believable so anyone watching would think you've been waiting your whole life for this moment.
Express your enthusiasm verbally to others and let them hear it in your voice.
Give reasons why you're excited to do what it is you are doing.
Set the bar high enough to still reach but high enough that you need a little extra energy to jump.