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Amazing things can happen when you Show Up with a Smile

Now that you’ve let your Bold and Courageous Self emerge to assert your leadership in your cause or issue, are making a conscious effort to be a “Good Person,” and are eliminating the “energy leaks” in your life that hinder your effectiveness, now what?

Get out and meet with people. Show up at internal meetings and get-togethers, visit with people in their offices, or just cruise by and casually drop in and, whenever possible, meet them on their home turf or in their ‘hood’ to  get a feel for who they are. Start by making a list of people you’d like to meet with, whether you know them or not. This concept, or tool, is one I call:

Simply “SHOW UP.”

That’s right. To really make your presence felt, you have to Show Up in person — whether at conferences, meetings, university lectures (there are multiple ones every day on every campus posted on academic web site and boards),  even contact people that you emulate and ask them if they’d like to meet you for coffee or lunch. Find conferences that might be happening where you live, or better yet, go to a venue like Las Vegas just to go to shows and tour conventions. (This is something I love doing, I have been to building conventions the consumer electronics show and recently even managed to sneak into an AWS Amazon Web Services convention by helping a participant carry a box of very cool T-shirts into the convention floor.)

Part of acquiring all the knowledge you can about your cause or purpose is to physically get out and socialize, learn the various aspects of it from the ground up, and make such an effort no matter how old or shy you are. I remember 14 years or so ago spending more money than I could afford at the time to attend a Fortune Global Forum leadership conference. It was not only amazing, but well worth the investment to interact with major world leaders and CEOs of some of the largest companies in the world, and I still use those connections today.

(Note: I have continued to attend these type of conferences whenever I can and highly recommend you consider either the Fortune Conferences that, by the way, include all business disciplines as well as Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. They all have fabulous conferences and YES, YOU ARE INVITED. I can assure you that even though they are expensive, you will be happy you spent the money. In fact, I am currently working on a project involving a cancer treatment because I happened to be sipping a glass of wine at the Inaugural Fortune Brainstorm Health conference and met a world leader in regenerative medicine. And that’s just one example of the amazing things that can happen when you Just SHOW UP.

But there’s one other critical thing that you have to bring with you when you Show Up – and it isn’t about being prepared or having a point of view or trying to get something across or exhibit how much you learned from Google Alerts. No, it’s much simpler than that: Just Show Up with a SMILE.

Yes, a smile. A smile is a biological signal that all is OK, that you have a happy and congenial personality, and that you are someone that people want to hang out with. This isn’t speculation, it’s science, and simple to keep in mind. Carry your smile with you as a badge of honor, remembering that you are an incredible and awesome individual who has shed the negative energy around you by eliminating energy leaks and choosing your battles – and those are things worth smiling about.

More on this from a couple of experts on the science of smiling:

Many see smiling simply as an involuntary response to things that bring you joy or laughter. While this observation is certainly true, what most people overlook is that smiling can be just as much a voluntary response as a conscious and powerful choice.

Countless scientific studies have confirmed that a genuine smile is generally considered attractive to others around us. Other studies have shed light on how the act of smiling can elevate your mood and the mood of those around you. Still others have found a strong link between good health, longevity, and smiling. Most importantly, studies have shown that just the act of smiling (making the physical facial shapes and movements), whether the result of real joy or an act, can have both short- and long-term benefits on people’s health and well-being. — Mark Stibich, PhD and an expert in behavioral change

Each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.  — Sarah Stevenson, certified yoga instructor in Southern California.

Sometimes I believe that a smile can be the most powerful tool you can use to influence people in any given day.

But doing all that — showing up and doing so with a smile on your face – can only have a truly meaningful and lasting effect if you keep this final point firmly in mind:

Be a giver not a taker when you Show Up. In other words make it a point in every conversation or interaction to contribute something – anything — as a sort of gift to the individual with whom you’re interacting, even if it’s just a small bit of knowledge they might have been unaware of, or a compliment on their suit tie, or jeans. As one of my old friends taught me:

End all of your meetings even short conversations with something like ‘let me know if there’s anything I can do for you’.

Put another way, you should try and make all your interactions “accretive” to the other person, accretive being defined as: “increasing by natural growth or by gradual external addition; growing in size or extent.”

What that means is that by contributing something, even if it’s simply a smile or positive vibe, to each of your relationships, including casual ones or brief encounters, you are planting a seed that just might develop into a lifelong connection.

So there you have it, Just Show Up with a Smile and always be a Giver instead of a Taker when you do. This may sound super-simple, but then most of the really powerful things we can do in our lives are based on principles that are not really all that complex. By getting out of your comfort zone and going somewhere to show off your positive attitude and beautiful smile, and contributing something, however small, to everyone you interact with, I think you’ll be blown away by the powerful influence you’ll be unleashing in your quest to become a Force for Good in the world.

Onward and Upward, AZ

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