“I sing because I don’t know how to swim” says Massimo Ranieri, one of Italy’s most popular romantic pop singers in the title of his newest CD. My singing resembles a crow squawking, so I swim because I don’t know how to sing!

I first heard Massimo sing when I lived in Italy in 1978 and now play his CDs often at home in Vancouver. Last May in Bologna on one of my bi-annual trips to Italy, I sat in the third row at his sold out concert. His absolutely top notch performance blew me away, inspired me and gave me some big ah-has.

Are you doing work you like and want to keep doing it with tons of energy and heart for years to come? Just follow Massimo’s example.

To start the concert, he burst on stage, belting out a song of a long lost love, “If the city were burning, I’d run to you… If the city were burning, I know you’d look for me even after our goodbye.”

Massimo’s been singing “Se Bruciasse La Citta--If The City Were Burning” for 40 years. But that night he sang it and all his songs and moved and danced with 100% of his energy and heart as if he were singing them for the first time. How did he do it?

First, he really made us in the audience feel a personal connection with him. I felt a lot of affection and high energy filling that big theatre. He told us stories from his life that made me feel I was getting to know him as a person. Stories about growing up in a poor part of Naples as the 5th of 8 kids who were expected from about age 7 to bring home money every day to help feed the family.

He comes across as a down to earth, authentic, very likeable guy so you almost feel he’s a friend sharing his stories with you over coffee.

He paints clear pictures and uses every day words. You can see him, about age 8, singing to diners at a Neapolitan restaurant by the sea who threw coins in the water. Little boys dove for the coins and teased him, “If you don’t sing, we’ll throw you in the water”. Terrifying for a kid who couldn’t swim, so he sang and sang.

With one of his long time hits, he joked with us, “We’re not 35 any more, are we?” and we’ll nodded and smiled. Then he held his mike out toward us and the whole audience sang the chorus of a song from 20 years ago together with our hero.

What could you do to help your clients or friends feel more connected with you?

Second, his five star concert wowed us—his singing, dancing, all female orchestra and dance troupe, special guests and the creative yet elegantly simple stage sets.

Just before intermission he introduced a 11 year old boy, a champion tap dancer, who astonished me with his fast steps, physical agility and artistic style. Later Massimo and the boy danced a long duet where Massimo followed the boy’s every dance move exactly! An jaw dropping performance. Easy to forget he’s 57.

Massimo has performed the same concert about 200 times throughout Italy in the last 18 months. Why this exhausting schedule away from home so much, performing the same songs ad nauseum?

My answer came at the end during thunderous applause with people yelling, “Sei grande Massimo!—You’re great Massimo”. He stood still at the front of the right side of the stage with his eyes closed, facing the audience with his arms wrapped across his chest like he was hugging himself. He was taking in all the applause!

After all these years, he still craves applause, like most of us do. As Mother Teresa said, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

Massimo makes his fans feel a big affection for him and dazzles them with a first class performance so they heap their appreciation on him. An appreciation that’s fed his energy and his heart for 40 years. Plus clearly he’s doing what he loves and radiates his passion through his high energy. I asked myself, How could I do that in my business that I love?

Now I’m personally visiting more of our clients when they’re enjoying our services, telling more of my stories to our clients, am working on wowing our clients more, and making sure I talk to every client for their feedback. I’m seeing more clients having fun using our services and hearing their appreciation more which feeds my energy.

Why have I kept on my entrepreneur tour heart path all these years? Because I don’t know how to sing!

Author's Bio: 

Margaret Cowan of Vancouver, BC owns Mama Margaret & Friends, an Italian cooking tour company in business since 1995 at ItalyCookingSchools.com.

She's been travelling to Italy since 1972, lived there for three years and continues her love affair with Italy on twice yearly trips.