In a job interview, the interviewer asked me for my two greatest strengths and why. The following article represents both my answer and my desire to see others understand. The interviewer thought I was insane by the look of disgust on their face; needless to say I was not hired. When I asked why; the answer amazed me. My strengths were too strong for their culture. Let that sink in for a moment; a confident and enthusiastic person was not a good fit for their organization. Maybe, just maybe, free societies should be taking a new look at these age-old tools for changing the world.
What is Enthusiasm?
Henry Chester is quoted as saying, “Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money and power and influence. It is no more or less than faith in action.” As a point of fact, this is the first quote I took time and a ton of energy to memorize. Enthusiasm represents intense interest, eagerness, enjoyment, and a desire for approval beyond the simple desire of peer acceptance. Enthusiasm also arouses feelings and originates via Latin from enthusiasmus, meaning inspiration and frenzy. From the Greek, we learn the etiology of Enthusiasm stems from “enthousiazein ‘be inspired or possessed by a god’ (based on theos ‘god’)” The etiology of Enthusiasm makes Henry Chester’s point more perfectly when a person considers the power and origination of faith and placing faith upon a power greater than oneself.
Consider those people you have found possessing large amounts of Enthusiasm; can you feel their intensity, frenzy, and eager interest? I have had this pleasure multiple times, in various locations across the world. My first experience was with a S. Korean business person riding the subway who was so excited to help and interested that I parted company with a feeling of desiring to be better as a person. From that day in 1995 to today, I have strived to capture the same level of Enthusiasm as this business person in gratitude for his kindness and example of Enthusiasm.
What are you enthusiastic about?
Recently I was hired to be a data analyst for warehouses, and I sit as an advisor to the warehouse operations team to use data analysis to improve decision-making. I cannot describe in words how enthusiastic I am every day to wake up and learn something new about data analysis, the tools of database data mining, and keeping my boots dirty and hands greasy in operations. Ever since I got injured in the US Navy, I have tried to be what I knew, and the journey to this position has been great and dreadful, but each experience has improved how I think, and teach, to improve business operations. I finally feel I can positively contribute as a handicapped person to the world with this position, and this feeling is incredible!
What is Confidence?
In an effort to not confuse this topic, I have copied the definition of confidence from an earlier writing. Confidence is a unique term, and Webster spends an inordinate amount of time trying to capture the power of, and reality is confidence. Confidence is “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities; firm trust, a specific feeling regarding the truth of something, a feeling or belief upon the reliance of someone or something.” The key to confidence is your own self-assurance. For example, you are assured through past transactions that your employer is not kiting paychecks. Your confidence in receiving a salary drives you to be motivated and return to work each day. When that trust is broken, you will leave and find new employment. Hence, people do not work for companies, but for managers and leaders, they like.
Confidence is a reality when many people all trust the same thing, which creates societies, social standards, and governments. Confidence in the government is expressed using the government’s monetary system to trade for products and services you would not have if you had less confidence in the government system. Firm trust in the “value of the US Dollar (insert your own currency here)” leads to gains and losses in economic values. Consider the events of the Christmas Holiday, which is fast approaching. The individual expresses confidence, faith, and hope in holiday shopping. The government uses the data of the volume of trades of confidence as a measuring stick in how well they are doing in government to improve a person’s return on investment. Shopkeepers, stores, and others selling products and services represent a two-way street of faith, hope, and confidence as they trade with customers and with other suppliers, government, and stakeholders in conducting business.
Confidence is never an unconscious decision! One cannot have firm trust, faith, or hope, in something without being consciously aware and possessing experience and knowledge in that someone or something. Hence, confidence is the conscious use of trust as a destination in the journey of hope, launched by faith.
What are you confident about?
In the movie “Sound of Music,” Maria sings one of my all-time favorite songs as she leaves the nunnery and takes a bus to her new role as a nanny, “I Have Confidence.” I can honestly say, as she does, “I have confidence in me.” I have talents, skills, knowledge, and experience worth value to me, and that is all I need! It did not matter to me that my Enthusiasm and confidence were too great for the interviewer’s culture and business; I interviewed my best and allowed the chips to fall where they may. What are you confident about? Who are you confident in? Why do you invest your confidence in those answers? When do you feel the most confident, and would you like to feel more confident?
Of all the questions asked, the “Why” and the When” questions are some I would love to discuss individually as you make your improvement plans. Since this is not entirely possible, I offer the following advice from LaRae Quy, an FBI Agent. The points are hers; the comments are mine.
- Take Risks!
- In my youth, I climbed trees, lots and lots of trees. In Maine, we had a patch of pine trees growing so close together, the trees had woven a mat out of their uppermost branches, and you could walk on this mat of branches. Huge risk, great fun!
- As a soldier, I was freaked out by how close the Warthog could provide fire support. When the ‘Hog came through, being on the ground was the most intense feeling I have ever experienced. Huge risk, lots of fun.
- As an operations manager, I took an ill-considered risk. I fired the floor supervisor as they refused to train anyone else in doing the jobs they were hired for as a means of job security. The risk paid off; the remaining team members stepped up to the plate and learned.
- Risk requires action; act swiftly, even if it means minor course corrections along the way.
- Action includes failure; stop fearing failure! When we understand failure, we know ourselves just a little better and act more smartly!
- When in doubt, activate step 5!
- Ask for feedback!
- Do you prefer to receive feedback from friends, family, or foes? Some of all, all or none, or something or someone else?
- Do you trust those providing feedback sufficiently to act?
- Can you tell the difference between feedback and criticism? They are not the same, and in accepting feedback, you need to be able to give feedback. Hence ask, but never forget to provide feedback.
- Never give criticism, even if you think the criticism is “constructive.” There is never, ever, anything “constructive” about criticism!
- Practice, Practice, Practice
- Missoula Montana, I presume he is retired now, Veteran Employment Specialist, Charlie Brown, genuine person, real name, had a favorite axiom for helping veterans search for work and hang in their job search, “Keep throwing spaghetti at the wall until something sticks!” Which is all well and good, but to get spaghetti to stick to a wall, you must first cook and drain the spaghetti. Thus, practice requires preparation. In case anyone is interested, yes; I have thrown spaghetti against a wall.
- Rule of 6-P’s, “Proper Prior Planning, Promotes, Promising, Practice,” is my saying, and I know it works. Practice is a prerequisite to promising performances, but you must prepare properly. Yes, as a dual-service veteran, I know the other axioms for the Rule of 6-P’s.
- See Suggestion 5! Wash, rinse, and repeat!
- Link up!
- Make acquaintances.
- Get to know people!
- Grit Up!
- I cannot stress this enough; confidence and Enthusiasm require grit! Lots and lots of grit!
- Believe this statement: “Merentur Melius Quam Tu tibi semper sit.” From Latin, meaning, “You will always be better than you deserve.”
- What is “Grit,” you might ask? Grit is a positive, cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a specific long-term goal or end state. At least, that is what the academics call grit. Of all the people America remembers who have had a positive and long-lasting influence upon American culture, John Wayne is near the top. If anyone embodies grit, John Wayne is quoted thusly, “True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done. No moral man can have peace of mind if he leaves undone what he knows they should have done.” In understanding grit, I have oft called upon T. S. Eliot, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
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