I have discovered the most powerful positivity tool ever invented.
I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading, studying, and seeking out new ways to increase positivity in the workplace. My Kindle holds an entire library of books from today’s most ground-breaking and influential authors on leadership, teamwork, and positive psychology. I regularly attend webinars, teleseminars, and workshops on these topics and more.
And yet none of these places is where I found the most powerful positivity tool ever invented.
I found it at The Container Store. It wasn’t on the shelf. It wasn’t even for sale. In fact, they gave it to me for FREE!
I also discovered it at my local Sears Hardware store. Also free.
I found it at the Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida and at the fabulous new Giant Eagle Market District in Upper Arlington, OH. Believe it or not, I even saw one at at truck stop on I-70 (the one just past the middle of nowhere). Yep, free there, too.
Even with all the scientific breakthroughs in psychology, biology, cultural anthropology and several other ologys, there is only one tool that has immediate, atomic-like positivity power.
What am I talking about and where can you get one? You’re dying to know, aren’t you?
It’s a SMILE. A genuine, ear-to-ear, show-all-your teeth (well, except in that truck stop) smile.
Nothing creates positive energy more quickly than a smile. Nothing diffuses a negative situation more instantly than a smile. Nothing says, “I’m happy you’re here” like a smile. Nothing says, “Life is Good” better than a smile (ok, a LIfe is Good t-shirt does that pretty well, too, but keep in mind their mascot, Jake, has a big, goofy smile on his face on nearly every shirt).
A real smile. It’s the only kind that works.
Fake smiles stink. They’re like a limp handshake. Don’t bother offering either one. They make the recipient feel icky for at least 45 minutes. I do not believe in “fake it ’til you make it.” Again, icky.
But a real smile, now THAT can change my whole day for the better.
About four sentences ago, I lost a bunch of readers. They said, “Really? That’s it????” And they bailed. They missed the whole point. They’re too skeptical to really understand how powerful a smile can be. They’d probably never buy a Life is Good t-shirt, either. That’s ok, because you’re still with me. And you and I are going to change the world.
I run a few times each week and I’ve made a practice of smiling at people running toward me. Granted, I get a mixed reaction. Some people flash one back. Others avoid eye contact. Still others glance behind themselves to see just who I’m smiling at. But, honestly, I don’t do it for them. I do it for me. I’ve found that every time I beam out a big smile, I get a burst of energy. It’s not an emotional burst, it’s a biological burst. It’s like my own little turbo booster. And I like to imagine the people I smile at telling their family at dinner “You should have seen this psycho guy running at the park…”Sure does make my runs a little less tiring and a lot more fun.
Hardly anyone smiles when they run. And, in my humble opinion, very few people smile much at work, either. We reserve our smiles for long weekends and funny movies and cute babies as if we have a limited supply and we don’t want to waste that supply on our co-workers or customers.
Did you know that you have an UNLIMITED supply of smiles while you’re alive? It is impossible to run out. Even when I’m exhausted near the end of one of my runs, I can still muster a smile at those last few people I pass.
Even on your absolutely worst days at work, you can still smile once in awhile. It may not always feel emotionally possible, but it is. We’ve all experienced a stressful situation that was transformed by someone’s big smile and calming presence. Somebody today might need that transformation. YOU could make it happen with your fabulous smile.
So how do you get more smiles from others? You get at least one smile for every one you give. No, it’s not always an immediate payment, but the more you smile at others, the more smiles you will receive, I promise. Smiles are Karmic.
Here are a couple of easy ways to smile more at work:
– Start your day with a smile. When you arrive at work, before you do anything, before you say anything, find someone to smile at. If nobody else is there, smile at the landscaping, or the family picture on your desk, or the portrait of the company’s founder hanging in the lobby (does any company still do that?).
– Make the hallways smileways. Get out of your own head and pay attention to other people when you’re walking from place to place. Make eye contact and smile at everybody. In two days, you will earn the reputation as the happiest, most positive person in the company.
Here’s an advanced smileway technique: when you see somebody in the hallway, briefly cut your pace in half as soon as you make eye contact. Turn on that smile and combine it with a genuine “Great to see you” kind of comment. The slight pause tells that person, “You’re important to me & I really am glad to see you.” It’s a small gesture, but amazingly powerful. And it costs you a whole 2.4 extra seconds out of your day.
– Whenever you’re having a tough time, stop and count to ten (or three or seven) and find something,anything that will make you smile. And enjoy that supreme moment when your smile reminds you that life (and work) ain’t so bad after all.
– And by all means, when you see somebody that needs to smile, give them yours. The bigger the better.
Should be easy for most of you to smile today — I’m sending this on a Friday. I secretly hope that most people will wait to read this on Monday. Because I’ve never seen a workplace that couldn’t use a good dose of smile-powered positivity on a Monday.
Smile ya later!