This is one in a series of articles entitled The Power of One – Making an Intentional Impact. This course is for bloggers, to help you find your blog theme and voice, or for anyone who wants to journal around the theme of why you are here and what your purpose is on this earth. If nothing else, if you follow along for thirty days you cannot help but be uplifted.

The first blog is here Why what you do matters

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The Power of One

Power of One – Part 3 – Smile at a Stranger

In 1993, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen released the mega-hit Chicken Soup for The Soul. This book struck a nerve with a world that was hurting and needed to connect with stories that created hope for those who felt hopeless and nurtured people who were feeling lost and abandoned.

The book was a compilation of true and true-ish stories that inspired readers through accounts of people making a difference when it mattered most.

One story was titled “A Simple Gesture”, penned by John W. Schlatter. In his story, he describes Bill and Mark. Bill was a nerdy guy who was often bullied. Mark encountered Bill on a day when Bill was making a plan to kill himself. Mark smiled at Bill, and that gesture helped Bill feel the compassion and sense of being seen that he needed to stop with his plan and consider an alternative to suicide. All because of a smile.

When we encounter people for the first time, we have no idea what is going on in their lives – just as they have no idea what is going on in ours. The easiest thing we can do for them is to simply smile at them.

The act of smiling and giving out that social energy releases endorphins in our body designed to make us feel good. The experience of receiving a smile can change our mood, our perspectives, and our self-image.

What does a simple smile convey?

I see you.

You are accepted.

I like you.

You matter to me.

Smiling is one of the fundamental ways we bond as human beings. From birth, we use smiling as a way to connect with our babies. We also wait with much anticipation to see that first real smile back, indicating that we are making an impact on our children’s learning. To know that they see us, and they like what they see.

Try this exercise for a day, and see if you notice the impact it has on yourself and those around you.

Choose a day when you are going to be in your community, running errands or crossing paths with multiple people. Make a point to look each person you see in the eye and smile. Don’t worry if they have their head down, just look at them and smile. Chances are, they will feel your energy and look up.

When you see a shop assistant, barista or other public servants, smile at them. Wait for the smile back, and greet them pleasantly. For all you know, the person before you could have zapped their energy and left them feeling empty. Your attention and a pleasant smile can refuel and recharge them.

Notice how you feel when someone responds to your smile with one of their own. Notice how it feels when they don’t. Chances are, once you feel the impact your smile has on others it will become a regular part of your non-verbal communication skill set.

Get out your notebook and record what happened when you smiled at all these people. If you liked the experience then make it a habit every day to greet someone unexpected with a smile.

If you are reading this article series as a blogger, think and journal about how you can smile at your readers. What could you put into most of your posts to uplift and inspire them, as if you have smiled at them yourself?

Is it your words, a motivational quote, a beautiful image? Or is it just the fact that you understand where they are and can offer them a helping hand with the day’s problems?

Maybe not all of your posts can be uplifting but some/most of them surely can. How do you say to your reader

I see you.

You are accepted.

I like you.

You matter to me.

This is the secret of having people come back for more each day…

The next instalment in this series is here The Ripple Effect

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