Help clients unlock the power of enthusiasm to galvanize self-discovery and career development

Taylor Cook

There is one career superpower that is independent of degrees and qualifications. It is relevant to all types of clients and can be applied at any career stage. Its utility spans industries, functions, roles and geographies. The strength of this superpower may wax and wane over time, affected by factors ranging  from mental health to financial security, but ultimately it is accessible to all ­­– a free resource at our clients’ disposal. And it’s contagious.

Enthusiasm is a career superpower. The energy elicited by genuine enthusiasm is an internal resource that clients can tap into to galvanize self-discovery, career development and their professional relationships.

Side effects of enthusiasm

The side effects of using enthusiasm as a career superpower may include enhanced sense of purpose, increased resilience, heightened confidence and greater ability to connect with others. Here are some ways enthusiasm contributes to career development:

  • Purpose: When clients reflect on what they get enthusiastic about, aspects of their identity and what motivates them come to light. This self-knowledge can reignite a sense of who they are, who they are becoming and their purpose. In this way, enthusiasm becomes both a signal and a guidepost as clients navigate career decisions.
  • Resilience: Tapping into clients’ enthusiasm reminds them of their “why,” providing much-needed perspective during setbacks. In addition to the benefits of renewed perspective, enthusiasm inherently connects jobseekers with an internal wellspring of energy. This energy serves as fuel to propel clients forward as they effectively rebound from failures, adjust their job search strategies and adapt to reach their career goals.
  • Confidence: Operating from a place of enthusiasm, clients are led by their curiosity. This heightens openness to learning and inspires engagement in their areas of interest. Through engagement and contribution, clients perpetuate a virtuous cycle, further developing subject matter expertise, visibility in their field and confidence.
  • Connection: Authentic enthusiasm is contagious. Like a spark, enthusiasm is a light in the dark, allowing clients to stand out and attract those with similar interests. Shared interests facilitate conversation, aiding in relationship building and professional networking. Further, when people discuss what they are enthusiastic about, they tend to be less nervous and more at ease, making it easier for them to relax and connect with others. Interactions become memorable for the right reasons, shifting away from the transactional level toward more meaningful connections.
Example: Enthusiasm in action

Your client has secured a phone coffee chat with someone they look up to in their industry. As they scroll through the person’s LinkedIn profile in preparation, they notice their connection’s participation in a project that sparks their curiosity.

 When your client gets on the call, they make a point to find out more about the “behind the scenes” of executing this project. Next thing they know, the interaction takes on a life of its own. It has become less of an informational interview and more of a conversation. Your client is connecting professionally but on a deeper level, and the conversation is memorable to both parties for the genuine insights and perspectives shared. 

Helping clients access enthusiasm as a career superpower

Now that we know some of the ways enthusiasm manifests as a career superpower, how can we help clients tap into it?

1. Help clients recognize and reconnect with what they are enthusiastic about. Try out the tools and assessments in your repertoire to help clients home in on what gets them fired up. Consider reflection activities and questions that prompt self-discovery. The answers to questions like these will provide key hints to reveal genuine enthusiasm:

  • “What makes you lose track of time?”
  • “What topics do you frequently find yourself searching out online?”

2. Encourage “getting inspired” as part of clients’ routines. Promote taking time out of each day, week or month to get enthused. A curated list of websites, professional journals or specific authors are great starting points to stay current in an area of enthusiasm and get exposed to new ideas. Social media feeds can be used to cultivate enthusiasm and get re-energized about a topic of interest.

3. Promote self-care. It can be hard to muster up enthusiasm when you are burned out. Fill the tank to create the conditions for enthusiasm to bloom. Self-care, a favourite type of exercise or even an unrelated hobby can help clients recharge and pace themselves.

4. Recommend engaging in area of enthusiasm through contribution. Recommend that your clients take their enthusiasm beyond the sidelines and leverage the energy that comes with enthusiasm in service of contribution. Encourage them to write, speak or participate in conferences and summits related to their realm of enthusiasm.

5. Lead by example. Beyond telling clients to harness their enthusiasm as a superpower, show them how it’s done. Connecting with your own superpower of enthusiasm demonstrates its power. Try out tips 1-4 to reconnect with your enthusiasm, so you can share that with your clients. After all, it’s contagious!

6. Recognize limitations. There are circumstances and stages in a client’s life and career that may make enthusiasm difficult to muster. Meet your clients where they are, recognize factors that may inhibit enthusiasm and be prepared to make recommendations to other professionals (e.g., counsellors) or offer alternative support as needed.

As a career superpower, enthusiasm aids in self-discovery. It helps clients gain self-knowledge and enhances their ability to overcome obstacles. Enthusiasm begets confidence and helps facilitate meaningful connections. By supporting clients to access their enthusiasm, they can boost their career decision-making, development, and better navigate the ups and downs of the journey.

Taylor Cook is a Certified Coach (ACC) and Learning & Development Specialist. Through progressive roles in human resources, career management and organizational development, she has seen how access to meaningful work changes lives. She designs and facilitates experiences that support people to contribute to their fullest potential.