My daughter was born with a smile on her face. She was, and still is, always smiling. When she was a baby we would get comments about what a happy little girl she was. Her smile was contagious and helped her make friends quickly. When our kids were young we would frequently go camping and, before I could get the camper set up, she would be asking me to unload her bike as she already had found a friend. In like five minutes. Her smile continues to be big part of who she is.
I tend to go in the other direction. My natural look is to sport a serious face. This may sound weird to some, but I actually have to remind myself to smile, especially when I meet new people. My wife has had to field comments like “Is he angry.” And, “I don’t think he likes me very much.” Comments that are not at all flattering.
I used to think that it was OK. I am who I am, right? I’m just focused. They just need to get over it. But I have come to realize that it’s not right. I shouldn’t make people feel uncomfortable when all I need to do is smile more and be a bit more engaging. Smile. Seems simple right?
I have come to realize that there is real power in a smile. Last week I was at the airport toting my bag and backpack and surveying the perfect spacing of seating in the boarding area. As I walked down an aisle, a woman looked up from her phone and eyes meeting gave me a big smile. A simple, friendly, warm smile. The airport is not always a very “smiley” place so it really caught me off guard a bit. I smiled back and continued my search for a seat. Her smile was a little “pick me up” and a moment to refocus. Or maybe even unfocus?
Smiling has power. Scientists have concluded that smiling people actually live longer, have better marriages, are more successful in business, win elections, and have greater influence than the general population.
Smiling works. It has a way of disengaging tense circumstances. It is a powerful, yet silent, introduction. It builds trust. It communicates peace and contentment. Are you using your smile? Unlike other leadership tools, it’s always ready and available.
My father always had a smile on his face. I don’t know anyone that didn’t like my Dad. He was always lighthearted and positive. How do you want to be remembered? Serious and focused? Or smiling? I know which one I would choose!
So what do you think? Click “Like” if you agree! Do you have a “smiler” in your life? Click “Leave A Comment” and let us hear your story!