A good friend of mine, Sanya, likes to go on a run each morning, or at least most mornings. And as she passes others running, walking or biking in the opposite direction, she greets them with a smile. And she counts how many smiles she gets back along the way. Sometimes she gets many, and sometimes only a few. Sanya is always smiling anyway as her husband and my good friend, Jeff, keeps her and all of us smiling and laughing all the time.
I have a habit of doing that as well. Although I am someone who prefers long walks or hikes, it still gives me the opportunity to greet everyone I pass with a smile. As I went for a big walk the other day, I passed at least 40 people, and out of the 40 people I smiled at, about 30 people smiled back. As I turned around and began my walk back, I once again passed someone who chose not to smile at me, so I smiled again and said good morning. Their response was rough as they just kept walking by me saying, “I’m trying to find something to smile about.”
As I turned to try and connect, they wanted no part and just kept walking, this time with their head down.
Although that interaction left me feeling a bit down, as I returned to my truck and opened my door, the person in the car parked next to me rolled down the window and said, “Thank you for the smile today, I was caught up in some negative thoughts and your smile brought me back to reality.” Boom, back in the smile business.
Zig Ziglar said this, “Do you know what you do when you see someone without a smile? You give them one of yours.” Simple yet so powerful. If you have never tried it, give it a shot, I have found that even when I am thinking about a difficult or serious situation, that if I look over at someone and smile, I usually begin to feel a little less burdened. Here is what I think about when I think about a simple yet powerful smile, I turn the word smile into an acronym; Simple. Motion. In. Loving. Everyone. Let’s break it down.
• Simple, for most of us the turning up of our lips really doesn’t require much effort, showing a smile to others is such an easy and uncomplicated way of acknowledging others in a warm and welcoming way.
• Motion, we blink unconsciously up to 19,000 times a day. Imagine the impact we could have on our own state of mind as well as others who we may greet with just a dozen or more smiles each day.
• In, when I see or hear the word “In,” automatically my head and heart go to being, “All in.” Are we “In it to win it?” When we can invite others into our positive state of mind and involve them with the simple motion of a smile, we have an opportunity to turn someone’s day around.
• Loving, right now the world could use a little more love wouldn’t you agree? We can maybe help take the edge off for ourselves and others through some loving and genuine smiles.
• Everyone, may it be so. Everyone we pass, all those we have the chance to engage or interact with, let’s give them a smile. Whether it is over the phone, on a virtual call, in person, walking, running, shopping, even through texts and emails, we can send everyone miles of smiles.
Here’s the thing we should maybe be asking ourselves, “Has a random smile from a stranger ever lifted our spirits?” “Has a timely smile from a teacher, coach, or employer ever encouraged us? Has a warm and loving smile from a family member or close friend ever made us feel loved?” If so, I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org, and when we can give others something to smile about, it really will be a better than good life.
Michael Norton is an author, a personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations across multiple industries.