Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Enthusiasm! Insights

Harness the Dynamic Power of Enthusiasm!

Have you ever had trouble igniting that little spark within? What spark you ask? A very special spark, which brings forth joy and excitement—that spark called Enthusiasm!

Is it Important?
Any student of success, self-improvement, motivation, sales, personal and professional growth and development has found out the importance of being enthusiastic. It is always listed as a key ingredient in any endeavor whether personal, professional, spiritual and even financial. Besides, it can heighten creativity as well as cause you and those you come in contact with to feel good.

What Is It, Really?
Enthusiasm means different things to different people. Most often people use adjectives to describe it such as:

happy, energy, spark,
contagious, smiles , confidence,
zest, alive,
excitement, determined, passion,
radiant, vitality, creative

Keep in mind that different personality types express their enthusiasm in ways unique to them. Yes, you can be an introvert and be enthusiastic.

What Causes It?
More accurately stated, what causes people to reconnect with their awareness and experience of enthusiasm? This may vary depending on the individual and what is happening in their life. Different things spark enthusiasm at different times.

My research shows there are several specific ‘causes’. The more common ones include:

. working toward something.
. doing what you enjoy.
. achievement.
. challenges.
. a new idea or activity.
. people, especially those who are upbeat or enthusiastic.

Enthusiasm! Points to Ponder

Enthusiasm is to a person what gasoline is to the engine of an automobile;
the vital moving force…
~W. Clement Stone

It wasn’t until I began exploring enthusiasm in depth that I realized how little we know and understand about this powerful force, including:

As you can see, there is so much to know about and experience regarding enthusiasm. You owe it to yourself to harness this dynamic force. Start today by asking yourself how enthusiasm shows up for you.

About the author: Antoinette Webster, ME!, MBA, has been facilitating programs on and researching enthusiasm since 1990 and is author of the book Enthusiasm! How To Draw It To Yourself And Keep It and Igniting the Spark of Enthusiasm! Discovering what to do when your get up and go got up and went. She works with people and organizations in co-creating a system that works for getting and keeping enthusiasm. To discover how to harness your power of enthusiasm, contact Antoinette at Antoinette@ASystemthatWorks.com, 513.887.0600 or www.ASystemthatWorks.com.

©2005, 2006 ASW. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Guest Articles/Thoughts on Enthusiasm

Pas mal…Where’s the enthusiasm?

Imagine sitting down to a beautifully set table and the hostess serves a delicious, mouth-watering meal fit for gourmet food critics. Everyone is eating and drinking with delight and appreciation and when the hostess can no longer contain herself, she asks, “What do you think? Is it good?” And with an indifferent nod, the common response is, “ah, oui, pas mal.” Pas mal, literally translated as not bad in English is a phrase I often hear in all aspects of French life to express approval or enthusiasm. When the hostess asks me what I think, I respond in my usual enthusiastic manner, “C’est absolument delicieux! Je l’adore! C’est super, super, super bon!”

Flabbergasted by their response, I asked Jean Luc (my husband), “how can they say pas mal? Don’t they like the meal? Are they being rude?” With a smile on his face, he said, “no, pas mal really means good, very good.” I said, “Yah, but it was better than very good, it was excellent. Where’s the enthusiasm?” Over time, I have learned that as a culture, French people (not everyone, of course) tend to be more subdued or subtle in how they express themselves which is neither good nor bad – it’s just different.

My idea of enthusiasm vastly contrasts with that of my French family. Not only am I an American who is outwardly expressive by nature but I was a cheerleader in high school. I’m not sure cheerleaders exist in France – they don’t have them at my step-children’s school. So, being a professionally trained queen of rah-rah, I come to the table with expectations, not only in expressing compliments to others but in receiving feedback as well. If I knock myself out and create a delicious meal or rearrange the furniture or clean a messy closet – I need a whole lot more than pas mal – I need to hear “great job” or “excellent” at the very least. A simple pas mal does not suffice.

Cultural compromise is modus operandi chez moi. What’s “normal” to this mid-western former pom-pom girl is to EXPRESS what I feel – if I like it, I’ll let you know that I LIKE it!! Whereas, if my family LIKES it, they say not bad. One level of compromise involves managing my expectations and allowing people to communicate in their style – whether it be rah-rah or subdued – and when the urge to physically shake a little enthusiasm into the conversation arises, I keep my hands by my side. My family is learning how to spice-up their vocabulary with words like: Cool, awesome, and excellent! As the kids count down their last days of school for summer break, they put their hands in the air, dance around and shout “YAAHHH” in true cheerleader style. This warms my heart!

We learn from each other. What starts out as a complaint or a minor irritation can be the beginning of self discovery. Sometimes the differences we observe point out where we’re stuck, where we have deeply ingrained expectations and can provide an opening to see the world from a more enlightened view. When I observe my French friends around the table, I do pick-up on unique cadences and rhythms which express enthusiasm – they simply don’t use pom-poms. Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader – I have no intention of subduing my nature – yet I embrace the differences with acceptance and APPRECIATION.

© 2004 Jennifer Blalock, Life in the Village: Reflections of an American Living in a Small French Village. Published in The Courier by the American International Women’s Club of Geneva.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Enthusiasm! Insights

September is the anniversary month of when I started on the adventure of the entrepreneur. My business was officially launched September 1988, which makes this the 18th year anniversary.

Reflecting on these past 18 years includes reviewing highlights and key turning points. One that seems appropriate to share here is the first issue of the A System that Works Newsletter with the main column titled:

Keys to Success

There are a few workshops that I do where I discuss the idea of Success and expound on various components and their meanings such as:


We often go about our normal routines thinking others see and understand things as we do. Thank goodness someone or something causes us to stop and think about whether we truly understand. Based on the above ‘spelling’ of success, a recent workshop participant asked: “How does one draw enthusiasm and keep it?” After mulling it over, I came up with several factors, which play a part in being enthusiastic.

Paraphrased below is one of my favorite phrases from Mission Success by Og Mandino.

I work convinced that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. To do anything today that is truly worth doing, I do not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can.

This newsletter was published in Spring 1990. I’ve come a long way since then. How much easier my journey has been by choosing to jump in with gusto, scrambling through as well as I could, even when I didn't feel like it.

© 2006 Antoinette S. Webster, A System that Works, All rights reserved. For permission to reprint this post, contact

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