Very early in my radio career I collaborated on a series of promotional commercials with country music singer Leroy Van Dyke for his appearance at the Wayne County Fair (Nebraska). He felt that my laid-back announcing style needed to be shifted “up a gear” in order to merge with his delivery style. Van Dyke coached me for perhaps half-an-hour on how to deliver the impression of my enthusiasm to the audience.
I’ll always be grateful for his advice. I adapted his techniques for sounding enthusiastic to my own personality. The professional persona evolved during the next 35-years. My listeners never guessed that I was influenced by the country singer. (A chef never divulges his cooking secrets.)
My adaptation of Van Dyke’s commercial technique is to imagine behaving between the extremes of a screaming used car dealership announcer and the excitement of a child playing with her new toy. If you can cultivate this state of mind before you cut a commercial, you’ll seem more authentically thrilled about a product or company you actually couldn’t care less about. I augmented these skills with advice from self-help print books and audiobooks. This helped my work considerably.
It didn’t take long for cultivated, professional enthusiasm to integrate itself into my own, private, personal enthusiasm. This unhappy circumstance came about unconsciously. After a lover taught me the importance of setting more defined boundaries, I was able to again distinguish phony enthusiasm from authentic enthusiasm. By establishing this boundary, I was able to greatly delay professional burn-out. Radio became a means rather than an end.
Yet, it took a few more years to find strong feelings of excitement and active interest in things I really enjoyed and found to be meaningful. While I loved being a disk jockey I learned to leave the job at the studio and engage my passions for civil rights and non-broadcasting related hobbies, at home.
One day, I realized that enhancing my personal passions had improved my attitude and performance at work. A healthy integration occured when I was promoted to Public Service Director. This enabled me to promote non-profit community organizations and to collaborate with their leaders and spokespeople. Work became more about my values. At the same time my private life was maintained at a wholesome distance from the job. I felt more enthusiastic about my life, as a whole.
So, no matter how much I had earlier tried to cultivate enthusiasm, it didn’t manifest through techniques. Enthusiasm only revealed itself when I allowed me to be myself. I was able to discard the self-help audiobooks I had accumulated during the process of experimentation. Anyway, Tony Robbins’ hyperactive style is unsustainable, in the long run.
When acquaintances ask me how to cultivate an enthusiastic attitude, I tell them to forget techniques. If you want to feel truly enthusiastic, follow your dreams and passions.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the controversial Theosophist Helena Blavatsky. “To act wisely when the time for action comes, to wait patiently when it is time for repose, put man in accord with the tides. Ignorance of this law results in periods of unreasoning enthusiasm on the one hand, and depression on the other.”