Show Your Enthusiasm

by on September 13, 2017

Show Your Enthusiasm

For many years there was a cable television show called “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” The lead character, played by Larry David, was cynical about everything that happened to him in his life. While definitely a spoof on everyday life, its message centered on not getting too excited about anything that was happening to you or you anticipated to happen, no matter what outcome you expected from it.

Recently, I was in discussion with a group of those in job search. One of the participants has had many interviews over the last few years. He has been well qualified for the positions for which he has interviewed. Yet, he never seems to land that position he seeks, or receive an offer. While his feeling is his age is working against him, (and there may be some truth to that belief), my fellow participants and I feel that what may working against him is his interview style. It tends to be very mechanical in nature. He will answer questions that are asked, almost overthinking and afraid to say the wrong thing. In short, he holds back on “showing his enthusiasm” for the position which he is discussing.

All the participants in the discussion have come to know each other very well. We know this gentleman is actually a very engaging individual.   However, when reaching the interview process, something comes over him. Our discussion group has even done practice interviews with him with different participant audiences. The feedback is always the same. He is just too stiff in his presentation.

Whether it is a formal for pay job interview, a volunteer position, being asked to be a member of a team, etc., if there is a selection process, yes the person doing the interviewing will certainly want to have a sense you are qualified for the role you are seeking. However, they also will want to gain an impression that you will be someone who is pleasant to work with, will interact well with other team members, and really care about the cause or role which you are being asked to fill.

No one is asking for you to be non-authentic. Showing false excitement will ultimately show through as being insincere. However, speaking with a pleasant smile, leaning forward a bit when addressing another, asking meaningful questions to learn more about a role and the typical issues that are faced, will go a long way in connecting you to another. Additionally, researching a bit about the role you seek or the organization for which you are looking to display your talents, also helps to gain the confidence of the person looking to hire you for the role.

Yes, interviewing is hard work. A lot of preparation goes into the process. However, even the most prepared interviewee, if they come off as robotic will turn many a person off. So, if you feel that you have prepared well for your interviews or are not connecting, take some time out to practice with others you trust. Ask them to judge your smile, your personality, your body language. Gain a sense of whether or not you are actually engaging in a conversation with them, or are more just providing answers to questions, hoping that the process will end quickly. The level of enthusiasm you show for a role you seek could be the difference between you and another equally or more qualified candidate actually receiving the coveted job offer.

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One Last Time

by on August 23, 2017

One Last Time

Vacation timeAugust, for the last several years, I tend to get very reflective. That is because in August of 2006, Jeanne left me. Jeanne was my wife, my friend, and the person for 17 years who I learned so many of life’s lessons that impact my life, still today. It was ironic about Jeanne. She never saw herself as a teacher or a preacher. The things that you learned from her she took for granted, because as we would just say, that is just how I do things, or that is how I think. But, as one who had the opportunity to live with her for every day of our married life, step back and see her in different situations, be the sounding board and listener for her ideas, it was an education better than I could get in any school book.

The summer of 2006 was Jeanne’s last on this earth. She knew that fact. It had been pretty much established about 15 months before when the breast cancer that she battled twice before in her life returned once again, this time in her liver. The day she told me of the diagnosis (St. Patrick’s Day 2005), she stated to me that it would not be long before she would be “a goner.” My first reaction was to feel that perhaps she was overstating the case. Upon doing further research, the best prognosis with someone in her condition was maybe 3 more years of life. On the other hand, I figured if anyone might beat those odds, it was Jeanne, since I knew she would be great about doing what the doctors told her and take the steps necessary in her treatment. That she did. The outcome, however, was all in the hands of the drugs and how they respond in each individual person.

As 2005 moved into 2006, and as her health and her strength allowed, Jeanne and I made sure to do whatever she was up to doing. That could be spending a day in New York, going to a concert for a performer that she loved, spending time at activities that we liked to do together such as Atlantic City or events with our two nephews who at that time were 14 and 10 years old.

As the summer of 2006 began and wore on, and the impact of the cancer was getting stronger, and the reaction of the drugs was getting weaker, Jeanne would utter a phrase to me that at first I did not want to accept, but which has stuck with me all these years. It was “well that was the last time I’ll be doing …”, and whether it was an airplane vacation, day trip to a spot we liked or even her last birthday party in July, there was such a finality to it.

We will all die someday. However, even having lived with Jeanne through our marriage and her battle with her illness, I know I can say with certainty that I don’t know how it is to live with the thought you are dying and that any item you could be doing is truly the last time you may be doing it. However, with that reality comes other messages.

Know what it is that you really do enjoy doing in your life. If you know what those things are, are you taking time to do them? Do you do the things you enjoy, but just go through the motions doing them? How many times do you complain about doing them, or the parts of them that bring you frustration and aggravation? Have you allowed yourself to be sidetracked and put off doing the things that you love to do? What will it take for you to plan them and get them on your calendar to do?

I know I can be of guilty as any of us of falling in the trap to bemoan my schedule, the activities of my day or the things that frustrate or anger me. But, as I said, especially this time of the year, I think back to Jeanne and one of the last lessons she taught me. Know the things it is that you like or want to do. If you are up to doing them, experience them again. Cherish them for the joy and memories they have brought you. Because, someday you will truly be doing them for the last time.

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Look Out for What Is In Your Best Interest

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