February 14, 2006
Volume 2, Number 2
Relationships Hold the Key to Your Success
By John Kinde
People with a great smile radiate a warmth that draws others to them
Several years ago I was in a San Diego restaurant with my mother. While
I paid the check, we both noticed an elderly woman waiting to be seated.
As we left the restaurant, Mom asked, "Did you notice that woman
with the wonderful smile?" I most certainly did. Her smile lit
up the room. It was a smile to die for; one that would certainly win
instant friends. It was a smile that you don't often see in a stranger.
And maybe Mom and I smiled back, I don't remember. Mom later commented,
"I wish I'd told her what a terrific smile she had." But neither
of us had. We'd both received a gift without saying thank-you.
Later, on my long drive home, I stopped at a fast-food restaurant for
a quick bite. A 70ish woman waited by the condiment bar while her husband
ordered. She glanced my way and smiled brightly. It was one of those
smiles that broadcast, "I love life!"
I wasn't going to let THIS opportunity pass. I was going to say SOMETHING.
As I approached this woman from 30 feet away, her smile melted into
a rather startled look; as if asking, "Did I do something wrong?"
I walked over to her and simply said, "You have a wonderful smile!"
Wow, did her face light up! And she responded with an enthusiastic,
"Thank You". My comment probably made her day, but it also
made MY day. We truly exchanged gifts that afternoon.
SMILES: INSTANT FACELIFTS
Life's lessons have taught me this: a smile is the number one feature
that makes people attractive. It's a welcome mat. It's what makes folks
approachable. People with great smiles radiate a warmth that draws others
to them instantly.
Some people naturally have a great smile. Others, analytical types
like me, must work at it. One way to tell if you're in my category is
to recall picking up your developed photos. As you flipped through the
pictures, you didn't like the way you looked in most of them. But then...you
discovered that one great picture of yourself. In it, you look friendly,
you're smiling broadly and your eyes twinkle. Now THAT picture looks
I hate to say it, but ALL the pictures look like you, even those you
dislike. Unfortunately, those "bad" photos, where your face
doesn't look its best, portray how you often appear. In fact, you might
normally look even worse, since you were TRYING to look good for the
camera. Usually you're not even making that effort, and may appear even
less inviting than you do in "bad" photos. And if you're like
me, you assume you're not particularly photogenic and that your smile
needs work. When you've mastered your smile, you'll consistently look
better in photos. Most important, though, you'll be more attractive
and approachable every day.
When you're having a good time, does your face show it? You might be
surprised. Years ago I dropped into a comedy club in Montgomery, Alabama.
I was sitting in the front row, where one is typically fair game to
be picked on by the comedian. But being the non-expressive, serious
Norwegian that I am, I wasn't giving the comic the jovial feedback he
needed. I was enjoying the show, but in a straight-faced manner. About
halfway through the show, the comic interrupted his routine to ask me
point-blank, "Are you having a good time?" I responded, "I'm
having a great time." His comeback: "Well then, tell your
face!" I was enjoying the program, laughing inside, even studying
the performer's humor and technique. BUT...not giving him any outward
In everyday life the same concept applies. You might be enjoying your
job, but fail to show it. You may want to meet someone, yet not give
them a single, friendly clue. You can even be IN LOVE with somebody,
and totally hide it. Your face should express what you feel when you
wish to connect with others.
SMILE AEROBICS FOR EMOTIONAL HEALTH
One way to become better at smiling is increasing your awareness. Take
notice of those you find warm and inviting. Is it their smile? Make
an effort to LOOK for great smiles. Notice the appeal of people who
smile with their EYES, not just their mouth. The whole face gets involved.
Consider these people your models. Study yourself in the mirror. How
do you look in the rest room, when shopping, and while passing a reflective
window? Do you look friendly? Approachable? Do you really LIKE the image
In fact, a mirror is ideal for your smile workout. Practice various
smiles toward capturing that perfect look for the camera. Work on expressing
your smile with your eyes. A tip: cut a paper rectangle that permits
you to see only your eyes in the mirror. Practice smiling just with
your eyes; get used to the feel of your cheekbones as they lift to brighten
your eyes. When you see how a great smile LOOKS, remember how it FEELS.
When you can finally project your best smile, hold it. Turn away from
the mirror. How does your face feel? What muscles are you using? Make
an effort to develop muscle memory, so you can instantly recreate this
smile at will.
THE SMILING REMINDER
Sometimes it's life's little reminders that help us focus on making
self-improvements. I set out to find a "smile" lapel pin as
a permanent token of my smile's importance. After a fruitless one-year
search, I commissioned the design and production of smile pins. Now
when I encounter a total stranger with a million-dollar smile (not an
everyday occurrence), I share the compliment, "You have a wonderful
smile...thanks for brightening my day! I'd like you to have my golden
smile pin." Then I might add, "And someday, when YOU see a
total stranger with a fantastic smile, you can pass on the pin to them."
This little reminder has conditioned me to search out life's glowing
smiles, and not to allow them to pass unnoticed. I always carry "golden
smile" pins. And when I spot a show-stopper smile, I always express
Other strategic pluses:
You needn't search for a smile pin to remind you. You can choose another object, like a clown pin, that will program you to focus on smile power. Or consider something that nobody else sees, like whimsical underwear. In fact, you may discover that the sheer strength of just your awareness can create positive life changes. With practice you can focus on life's smiles; and create your own relaxed, naturally warm smile. And THEN when you get back a roll of photos, you'll like almost all of them! That's certainly been my pleasant experience. And when you encounter customers, strangers, or loved ones, you'll always be ready to pass on your award-winning smile!
About The Author
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