Something In The Night

“Enthusiasm is the inspiration of everything great.
Without it no man is to be feared, and with it none despised.”

— Christian Nevell Bovee

My wife Linda surprised me two weeks ago, with tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert (did I mention it’s my birthday this month?). There I was, mowing the lawn and minding my own business, when she strolls up and says, “Honey, shut that thing off, we’re going out tonight!”

I have to confess that at that point, just getting in the car and hiding around the corner long enough to miss the kids’ bedtime would have sufficed as a birthday present, so when she pulled out two tickets to the hottest show of the summer, I was thrilled.

People say that if you’ve never seen Springsteen live in concert, you’ve never seen a live concert, and I think there’s a lot of truth to that. Here’s a guy in his mid-fifties, jumping up on pianos, sliding across the stage on his knees (several times), going nonstop without a break for three solid hours, and by all indications, having at least as good a time as the 60,000 other people in the stadium with him.

The funny thing is, Springsteen’s special talent — the one thing that distinguishes him from all the other equally skilled guitarists, song writers and vocalists — isn’t a talent at all.

What makes him stand out from his peers is his enthusiasm. His ability to go out there year after year, long after he’s stopped needing the money or the recognition, and perform every night like it’s his first time, is what puts him on the top of everybody’s list.

You and I have the exact same opportunity. Like Springsteen, we’ve got the skills necessary to get the job done (that’s a given, or else we would have been out of business long ago). What makes the difference however, between huge success and a life — or business or career or E-Newsletter — of mere survival, is enthusiasm.

Issue after issue, we talk here about the particulars of effective E-Newsletters, and yes, you have to get the fundamentals in place if yours is going to have a positive impact on your business. What I’ve come to realize however, is that the mechanics alone are not enough. Many of the E-Newsletters sent to me are fundamentally sound, and yet when they arrive in my mailbox, I briefly toy with the idea of taking my own life, simply as a way to avoid having to slog through them.

So, two suggestions for making your E-Newsletter feel as energized as a Bruce Springsteen concert:

1. Write the first draft “over the top!!!!!!” It’s a lot easier to calm down something that’s too enthusiastic, than it is to stick energy in after the fact. The first draft I write is always filled with exclamation points!!!!!!, CAPITAL LETTERS and unnecessary, redundant, superfluous adjectives. As I edit it, I slowly bring it down to Earth.

2. If your job, your product, your industry and the way your company does business are not all things that you can get excited about, find a way to get out. I’m not kidding. I love the idea of relationship marketing and E-Newsletters, and I never tire of talking about the subject (in fact the more I talk about it, the more excited I get). It’s so much easier to work on something that genuinely excites you (do you think Bruce Springsteen likes Rock N’ Roll?), and your audience can feel the difference.

Bottom Line: The great thing about enthusiasm, is that it’s there for the taking. Anybody who wants it, simply has to pick it up. And while it can’t (completely) make up for a lack of skills, without it your E-Newsletter (and business) is destined to a life in the middle of the pack.

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