Nowadays with increasing unemployment, foreclosures, and overall fear, it’s very easy for limiting beliefs to take hold and make us feel defeated. If we don’t guard our mentality, we can allow hopelessness and excuses to restrict the optimism and actions we need to achieve our goals and dreams. So what super power can we use to defeat these negative enemies? Now say it with me…. ENTHUSIASM!
“Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
When we were kids, I remember how much my older brother loved music and how much he wanted to be a radio DJ. He would take out his tape recorder and introduce the next song or he would have pretend interviews with my sister and I, asking deep and thought provoking questions that only a seven and five year old could answer. He even took the extra step of listening to his recordings and deciding what do differently the next time to make it better.
I watched him continuously make life adjustments as he worked toward his goal of becoming a full time DJ. While majoring in finance, he switched from being a full-time student to part-time to take on more DJ jobs. He worked the third shift at a shipping company, so that his job wouldn’t get in the way of an opportunity He chose to maintain a schedule that would allow him to take any and every DJ job he could while he built up his experience and his business. It’s been amazing to watch his journey of focused enthusiasm over the years. He’s now been a full time DJ for over 15 years and he’s still going strong!
Enthusiasm releases the drive to carry you over obstacles…”
~ Norman Vincent Peale
Unfortunately, like most journeys, it wasn’t all roses. There were times of doubt… “What the hell am I doing? Maybe I should pursue a normal career…”, feelings of being overwhelmed, and realities that there is so much to learn, so many connections to make, and so much time to spend while only seeing drops of progress.
Now I’m sure he doesn’t think of his path as having taken a kaizen approach per se, but that is essentially what he did, making small continuous improvements and adjustments to make his life and his career what it is today.
What he does know is that he worked long and hard at creating his success. With each small victory along the way, he overcame the obstacles of doubt and fear. His confidence in his ability grew with each small step and each success.
The truth is, when we continue to make progress and take steps even if they are small, it continues the momentum. As long as you keep moving forward, eventually you get past that beginning naive moment where turning back on yourself feels like an option.
A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm.
Charles M. Schwab
7 Kaizen Steps to Recharge and Maintain Enthusiasm:
1. Take Action – This may be the most important step you can take! Even if we feel like we’re just barely going through the motions of taking action, our enthusiasm increases with every step we take toward our dreams and it deepens our levels of commitment and attention. Actions can be as small as simply researching on the internet, so don’t let excuses zap your enthusiasm. Just push yourself to get up and do!
2. Diet – Avoid drinking caffeine and/or consuming foods high in sugar. They may give us a quick energy boost but then we quickly come down from that high and feel lethargic. Instead increase your water intake. It’s common to be dehydrated and not even know it, and even a mild dehydration will increase fatigue. Also consume foods lower on the glycemic index. Be sure to give your body a steady stream of nutrients throughout the day.
3. Physical Exercise – Being sedentary is the enemy of enthusiasm; it creates fatigue, lethargy and stress. It’s never ceases to amaze me how much energy I have after any form of exercise. So move that body, get the blood flowing and stimulate your energy and ideas.
4. Self Talk – There is always some self-talk happening in our minds whether we’re aware of it or not. By using power thoughts, affirmations, or simply being conscientious about our choice of thoughts, we can raise our levels of enthusiasm and keep it focused so it’s not just high energy running us around in circles.
Talk yourself into getting excited by connecting with why you want your dream/goal. Remind yourself of past successes and get jazzed! Be aware of your inner dialogue. Hear the voice of a great coach pushing you forward telling you, “Come on let’s do this thing!”
5. Music – Listening to music can literally get us up and dancing even if you “don’t dance”. It can raise our energy levels, motivate us, and charge us into action! I love the Gypsy Kings for getting me to move. Put your own collection of songs together for a motivation marathon.
6. Visualize – The ability to visualize gets easier with practice. It’s like mediation in that way. Many people aren’t good at it at first, but it’s worth developing the skill. If you feel that you’re not yet great at visualizing, or you want to get better, try practicing the exercises in Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. When we visualize our success, we see it as it if it’s already happening and we connect to that feeling allowing us to really know that it’s possible and it is within reach.
7. Connect - For a real jump-start, connect and be around enthusiastic high energy people. Seek out ones who share a similar goal or dream. It can turn into a powerful partnership and take you places beyond where you thought possible. You’ll find not only a raised sense of enthusiasm in yourself but you’ll be giving enthusiasm to others as well.
Do it now
Your mindset can carry you, your energy, and enthusiasm. It can make you soar, taking you further than you can imagine. If there is a goal or dream in you heart, commit to enthusiasm and take the journey where momentum carries you beyond your perceived limitation. The key to having enthusiasm carry you is to begin it now, don’t wait.