A lack of enthusiasm is like a virus. Take a look at any team, business, class, school, parish, organization or even a home. When times are tough, many people share their pessimism, fears, and general lack of enthusiasm with their teammates, fellow coaches, classmates, teachers, parishioners, suppliers, customers, and family members. This lack of enthusiasm quickly spreads like a virus, creating in its wake, one of the most damaging problems a team, school, business, parish or family can face – a lack of faith!

“Fake it till you make it” is a common catchphrase that can inspire us to imitate enthusiasm so that as our enthusiasm is observed by others, it produces real enthusiasm in the people around us. “Fake it till you make it “can be a useful tool to help us avoid getting stuck in a self- fulfilling prophecy related to one’s fear of not having enthusiasm.

Creating enthusiasm from nothing is something that great leaders are often called upon to do. The idea is to bring to the mundane tasks of daily life new found enthusiasm, particularly when things haven’t been going well, are boring, or depressing. Being that spark of enthusiasm that sets afire the spirits of your team, class, organization or family sometimes can be very difficult. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

  • Team: There will be days when things might not be going so well, or you find your team down in the dump. You walk onto the field and see fear or apathy in the eyes of your players and assistant coaches. You probably feel the same way, but your obligation as their leader is to start the fire of enthusiasm. Fake it, blow smoke, until the fire ignites. It’s been said that you have to be a champion before you can win a championship. So spark your team into displaying the enthusiasm of a champion rather than the fear of a loser. Fake it till you make it.
  • Work: It’s no secret that business has been tough these last few years, but the ones that are making it are the ones who have kept their enthusiasm. Customers feel confident buying products from upbeat enthusiastic businesses. Even if times are bad, fake it until you make it. The positive enthusiasm generates a buzz; your customers sense the positive activity, and go out of their way to spread the good news and fire up new customers for you.
  • Home: So you broke your hump today working 8-5 and things didn’t go well. You had better be prepared to wipe that scowl off your face before you walk in the door to greet your wife and kids. Better round up some enthusiasm for them. They really don’t care about your boss, they a care about you. Fake it until you make it. Give them some enthusiasm and they will feed it back to you, and soon you will forget that bad day.
  • Classroom: Few people need to generate more enthusiasm on short notice than school teachers. 7:45 and forty
  • or so empty eyes looking to you for enthusiasm. Fake it till you make it.

Initially creating enthusiasm from nothing might feel forced, but if you continue throwing off those sparks, a fire will start. Not only in the people around you, but a fire will actually start in your own heart and suddenly before you realize it, your fake enthusiasm has become real. You have created a positive feedback loop that is now generating its own energy.

George C. Marshall said; “It is not enough to fight. It is the spirit which we bring to the fight that decides the issue. It’s morale that wins the victory.” That spirit, that morale that wins, is created by enthusiasm, and that enthusiasm can be sparked with as little as a smile and a few upbeat words to your fellow man.

Being enthusiastic isn’t that difficult and can result in an incredible chain reaction of good in the world.

So if you have to….fake it till you make it.