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Enthusiasm defines a true leader

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell once said "perpetual optimism is a force multiplier." It's one of the 13 rules of success outlined in his book, "My American Journey." Throughout his career, individuals were drawn to Powell because of his enthusiasm and positive approach to life. By saying optimism is a force multiplier, he simply means our positivity, self-confidence and hopeful expectations are contagious and will rub off on everyone who comes in contact with us.

We communicate enthusiasm through our words, attitude, voice quality and body language. Those around us sense our enthusiasm almost immediately through our physical vibrancy, whether it is the bounce in our step or the brightness of our eyes. People with enthusiasm simply can't wait to dig in to the task at hand. Enthusiasm intensifies our focus and ignites our resourcefulness.

Every great parent, coach, teacher and leader can be a powerful positive influence on those around them if they are keenly aware of the importance of never underestimating others. There is untapped greatness in all of us. As leaders, our foremost responsibility is to help our team members discover and develop their special qualities. This means we often must hold the image of excellence up to them so they begin to see themselves in that light.

Sometimes the difference between mediocrity and unleashing the greatness inside of someone is very slight. As a leader, we may be right on the edge of becoming the catalyst to bring out the very best in our people. The possibility is there in every moment.

Often, the single most powerful action we can take is to help people focus on the goal, task or mission at hand. When people talk about all the challenges they "want to," or can't wait to tackle, they are demonstrating the kind of unstoppable enthusiasm that leads to mastery.

The experience of seeing one of their own achieve what they are truly capable of awakens a heightened belief in their own potential.

Success comes when every member of the team takes ownership of the vision and accepts responsibility for his or her part in achieving it. The key, once again, is your own enthusiasm as a leader.

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