Last week, I promoted the concept of being the first to smile with each person that you come across. As I have more consciously applied that concept, I’ve discovered a different level of engagement with several people.
The service person I came across yesterday and smiled first with was a much different experience as a result. He initially struck me as a person that rarely looked up from his work, but at the end of this 5 minute smile first experience, he had professionally replaced the batteries, kept a dialogue going while working and even shared a secret or two of his craft.
At the end of the interaction (not just a service transaction), I asked if he had any idea how many batteries he had replaced for others to solve their problems. He smiled broadly and responded that he had no idea, but that he ought to figure it out someday. In the end, this was simply an interaction as a result of smiling first, but one I believe we both enjoyed.
Seth Godin, in his blog this morning, emphasizes a similar concept of noticing people just a little bit more.
“Humans’ selfish survival instinct is to be aware of whoever is on stage in front of us, and then to move on to the next urgency. It’s a trap to believe that anyone in the world is as concerned about the noise in your head as you are. Copernicus was right–the world doesn’t revolve around us. Most of the time, the world doesn’t even notice. That doesn’t make your narrative less overwhelming, but it’s a useful reminder that just about everyone would appreciate being noticed a little more. Particularly when they’re off stage.”
A habit of leading by smiling first and noticing others when they’re off stage is a wonderful practice.