Imagine if the most important skill an enterpreneur has is the ability to smile, really smile, not just a sales pitch, but something growing from within…do you think that would spread?
I can tell you from personal experience, and lessons learned from a monk and an ex-Marine football coach, that smiling is the key to excellence…
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh,
When things get tough, smile. Coach Ted Monica
A smile is not just a reaction, it’s a state of mind. As an entrepreneur, you are going to be working with other partners, employees, investors, and customers. Each step of the way, your smile shows more than you are happy…happiness varies.
The practice of smiling is about handling stress and understanding how things come and go, ebb and flow, and all you can do is be consistent in your attitude.
Smiling is not only reacting to something that makes you happy, it helps you cause others to feel confident, assured, and trusting. The most important thing about this is you cannot use a smile as a lie, to yourself or others, because at an unconscious level, we all pick up on it.
A smile will get you through whatever challenges you have when you learn it comes from within, and is also an attitude for excellence, and peace, in your business and life.
The Entrepreneur’s Smile: Why It’s Important
In my 25 years as an entrepreneur, one of my biggest challenges has been my own nervous energy, anxiety from the numerous risks I encounter in my own entrepreneurial journey. And in the early days, I was clueless, stressed, and no one really wanted to work with me long term.
Because when things go wrong, when things don’t go the way you planned (ie, like most times), you have to adapt. In my early days I’d share my fears with people, sometimes even clients inadvertently. And while many of them liked me, they chose to go elsewhere eventually.
Over time I learned that I was creating the opposite effect, with myself and with others. It made me remember my days as a high school football player, on a team that never lost my last 2 years that I played, and went onto be #1 in New Jersey the following year undefeated again – an unprecedented feat for a school that size.
How did we do it? It all began with our coach, Ted Monica, an ex-Marine, Vince Lombardi inspired (and he worked with him), legendary football coach. I remember when we did 3 practices a day, full pads in the New Jersey heat and humidity, it was like bootcamp.
In the middle of one bootcamp we were running tons of windsprints, and I was in deep pain. My face was full of that stress, that pain, when Coach Monica came running up to me, grabbed me by the shirt, and told me to Smile!
I thought he was nuts, but then I smiled, and found in working out, putting all that stress in my face was missing the point. I was making things harder, by THINKING they were harder. That simple lesson helped me in my training since those high school days; even in the gym lifting weights, I’m smiling the whole time.
As an enterpreneur, I started to remember this lesson and slowly integrate it into my life. When something bad happened, I tried to smile. It was forced at first, and I had to learn to really live the smile, not just use it to make me feel good.
Soon I was able to work with others, and build major businesses because people like the way I handled the ups and downs, the stress. While I’m still as anxious and nervous as ever, the smile helps me temper the rollercoaster ride of an entrepreneur…
And it’s another thing my coach taught me; when the going gets tough, smile. One of the reasons we never lost is because this simple lesson was ingrained, and had us believing we would always win.
When a team believes, amazing things can happen. As an entrepreneur, it’s up to you to get your Team believing, and the more they smile, the more you will succeed.
Practicing the Entrepreneur’s Smile is Just Like Working Out
So how do you get to smile that much? First, stop equating a smile with a reaction to something positive, or funny…those are just part of the equation.
Wake up in the morning and smile, think about what you are grateful for, what you have, and all the people helping you, your family and friends. If you are like me, a bit of a recluse, look around you and ask yourself each morning to look at the world with a new perspective, with a smile.
And when problems come up, try to smile as your reaction, just as if something was funny. I’m not saying to do this like a crazy Dark Knight, just feel it inside, and focus on the solution to the problem…what will turn this problem into a smile?
It may not solve the problem, but it will get you closer to the solution.
Your Smile is a State of Mind
In the end, your smile shows from within, and can be the source of your genuine good nature, your ability to work with others, and your ability to adapt to changes as an entrepreneur.
Now I know many of you driven, trying to prove your better than someone else people will say this is a load of bollocks. That’s your right…
I can tell you that when I learned, and am still learning to smile (I’m no Zen monk, this attitude is alot like working out, and it’s easy to dip back into old, negative patterns of feeling and thinking) every day.
Each day I get closer to my goal, and each day I relax a bit more, while confronted by numerous obstacles.
Because I’m an entrepreneur by choice, not by birth; I had to learn how to do it. And I’d rather be in control of my life and my choices, and in business I need help.
You get much more help from a smile than you can imagine. You feel better, and over the years the smile is my reaction to all things…a reminder that this too shall pass, and you are measured by how you handle the tough times, not by your successes.
As I used to teach my employees at my agency, when it works, be amazed.
And learn to smile from within; it may not make you wealthy, but it definitely will make you rich.
What made you smile today?