I have often received feedback that I need to smile more. This is not to say I’m not generally a happy person or that I’m angry all the time. Rather, I am probably more serious of a person than I need to be which most of the time doesn’t allow me the opportunity to smile more.
On a weekend grocery shopping trip with my wife, I decided to see what it would be like to be constantly smiling as I pushed the cart through the aisles and checkout line. I noticed a few things about myself and reactions from others. By smiling more, I didn’t get as frustrated as I normally do with crowds or people who leave their carts in the middle of the aisle to go sample food. Also, I found it took an incredible amount of concentration and energy to keep smiling throughout my grocery buying experience.
What I noticed from others is that they smiled back, were more polite and wanted to engage me in conversation. My wife was also enjoying my little experiment. She couldn’t stop smiling herself and laughing at the positive reactions I was getting from others.
What I realized from my experiment is the amount of energy and concentration it required to be fully present and focused on a task that felt unnatural to me. However, the positive reaction I got from others far outweighed the effort on my part.
Whether coaching a client through this type of experience or encouraging yourself to try something that feels unnatural or awkward, I encourage you to go for it! As a suggestion, during your next meal, try holding your fork in your opposite hand and see what reactions come up for you and others.
Please share your experiences and the reactions of others with us in the comment section below. Thanks!