Be contagious today – spread a smile…

December 18, 2015

“Thinking about somebody else’s smile always make me smile” – Sluggo, in the Nancy cartoon. In the cartoon in which that appeared,sluggo Sluggo had just sent off a letter to Santa asking him to give his toy to someone who had no one to buy them a toy. He was thinking about the smile that the toy would put on someone else’s face on Christmas morning.

When someone thinks of you, of seeing you, or being with you last; does that thought bring a smile to their face? Did they see a smile on your face?

Smiles can be contagious. If someone sees you and you are smiling, maybe they’ll be like Sluggo and that will cause them to smile, too. Then the two of you see someone else and perhaps there will be four people smiling. It can go on and on. It’s sort of like that Jimmy Dean sausage commercial that’s running on TV – the one with the guy dressed like the sun. First one person than then others pass-on the sunshine that was started by him sending his wife off to work with a good breakfast. Soon everyone has the little sun spikes glowing above their heads.

The same thing can happen with smiles, even if you didn’t have a Jimmy Dean sausage breakfast. I wrote recently about making sure that you are smiling and not letting your “at rest” face be off-putting to everyone. That was for you and this is for everyone else. Your smile can be the contagion that sweeps through your work group or maybe the whole smiling womanbuilding. If you work in retail it can be the thing that causes the customers to buy and leave smiling themselves. The benefit to you is that it can make everyone that you come in contact with a bit more pleasant. The other side benefit is that it comes back around to you. When you see them start to smile, it may have the same effect on you as it does on Sluggo – it will make you smile, too.

When you think about it, sharing a smile with someone is the least expensive thing that you can do with the least effort, but the biggest potential return. There’s a Kay Jewelers commercial tag line that says smiling couple“Every kiss begins with “K”. But well before you get to that kiss, every relationship begins with a smile. After all, how many people go over and introduce themselves to someone who is scowling at them? We take a smile as a positive sign, an inviting sign or at least a sign that that the smiling person is in a happy and upbeat mood – all things that encourage that first step towards a relationship. The Filipino rock band Rocksteddy put those thoughts into a song – Smile at me.

So, before you start your day, whether it will be at home or at work somewhere, put a smile on your face. Maybe no one else will see it, but if you happen to glance as you pass a mirror, you’ll see someone smiling back at you and that will make your day a little better. And, if you happen to have to go to work somewhere, think how much better your whole day will be if you end up infecting all of the people around you witdodgeballh your contagious smile. You may have seen the recent ad where the office guys goes around dropping off packages to everyone and when they open them up they are full of dodgeballs. A happy game of dodgeball breaks out and everyone has fun. Well, maybe you can’t really do that at work, but if you go about your workplace dropping off smiles soon the whole room/building could be full of people having fun smiling at each other – maybe even the boss.

Several years ago I used to write occasionally about a manager that we had in our little real estate office who I often called Little Mary Sunshine. She was the most upbeat, energetic and fun to be around person I’ve known. At first it was occasionally annoying; but it was impossible to hold out against for long. She would always have everyone smiling and upbeat after a short time. It is impossible to be a Mr. Grumpy when she is around. She refused to join in your grumpiness and her upbeat and positive attitude was contagious. You can be contagious, too. Start with a smile and see where that takes you today.

dumb blob guyHave a smiley and happy day. There’s more to be happy (and thankful) about that the fact that it is Friday. When I think of you smiling, it makes me smile, too.

Let’s end on an upbeat note with You Make Me Smile as sung by Detroit’s own Uncle Kracker.


Are you upbeat or beat up?

December 16, 2015

I got that little saying in an email from Michael Angelo Caruso. Michael is a sales trainer, a speaking coach and motivational speaker. You can learn more about him at his web site. I met Micheal at a Rotary Club function a couple of years ago. He was billed at that event as “The World’s Best Speaker.” It was a title that he gave himself and which he uses to get himself motivated to speak at events. He is one of the best speakers that I have seen. Michael went on to write in the email:

“The French novelist, Jean Giraudoux once famously said, “If you can’t be sincere, fake it.”

The same is true for enthusiasm. It’s hard to be upbeat all the time.  Some people wake up enthusiastic and go to bed that way, too.  The rest of us have to work at it. It’s worth noting that we attract like-minded people, so it’s a good idea to put a little effort toward being more upbeat.”

Energizer BunnyAll of us fall on the enthusiasm spectrum somewhere between the Energizer Bunny on the upbeat end and Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh on the beat-up end. You’ve probably met a few people who were almost disgustingly upbeat and enthusiastic and most of us know someone who is alwayseeore down on themselves and complaining about everything that is happening in their lives. At one end is upbeat and at the other is beat up. Which end of that spectrum would people that you meet during the day place you at on that spectrum? Why?

One doesn’t have to act like a cheerleader on a Starbucks overdose to be considered upbeat. The easiest way to be considered upbeat is to smile. sad looking manunfortunately, most people don’t realize that their “at rest” facial expression is anything but a smile. It takes a conscious effort to smile. Most people don’t look as “neutral” as they think when they’re not smiling; in fact, many look unhappy, maybe even angry or in pain. Just look in the mirror without trying to put on any particular look and see what others see. Where do you think that “at rest” look puts you on the upbeat-to-beat-up spectrum in other people’s eyes? How attractive is that?

When people look at you; if you have a smile on your face, it may make them smile, too. They wonder what you’re so happy about. They want to meet you so they can ask about that smile. When they see a frowning or angry looking face, they want to avoid you and not get involved ingirls hugging whatever it is that has made you so down. People avoid eye contact with others who look like they’re mad or sad. As Caruso points out (and most life coaches agree), people tend to gravitate towards like-minded people and a person’s visage is the first indication of that likeness. If you’re in a happy, upbeat mood you want meet and share that feeling with other happy, upbeat gloomy guypeople, or at least those who look that way. You don’t seek out Mr. Grumpy to share your upbeat mood.

So, you have a choice every day to leave the house and go out into the world looking like someone that others would want to meet and interact with or looking like someone with the plague who should be avoided at all costs. Your demeanor is shouting, “Hey, let me share my joy with you” or it’s warning, “Stay away or I’ll probably bite your head off.” You might as well have a sign hanging around your neck with those quotes on it.

Caruso also had some advice for people to help them get in a happy mood or at least fake it until they can. He suggests that in talking or writing, to sound more enthusiastic use strong adjectives in front of your nouns. So it is not just a day or even a great day but a REALLY great day, maybe even a SUPER day. How can you wish those upon someone and not sound upbeat? When someone asks how you are; don’t just say OK – say I’m walking manFANTASTIC and say it like you mean it. If nothing else, they’ll wonder what got into you to make you so happy. An interesting side-effect of doing that is that you’ll start to feel that way once you’ve said it a few times; because your mind will begin to supply you with the reasons that you are feeling fantastic. Not only that, but other upbeat people will start associating with you, because, as Caruso says, like-minded people attract each other.

So take an extra moment before you leave the house this morning and put smiling dogon a happy face; tell yourself that you feel FANTASTIC; and get ready to greet the world from the upbeat end of the spectrum. After all; that’s where the rainbows end, and not in the gloom at the beat-up end of the spectrum. Have a GREAT and HAPPY day. I feel FANTASTIC and I hope I see you today, so that I can share my upbeat mood.