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Wipe That Smile

I was told to wipe the smile off my face, if I was going to be taken seriously.  The article was clear, to the point, complete with a set of instructions on how to tilt the chin, make eye contact and minimize the shrillness of my voice.  Beware of overusing the smile.  Leaders employ this technique with careful precision to diminish the likelihood of being taken as the junior assistant.  Too much smiling is hazardous for those climbing the social or corporate ladder. If I follow “leadership protocol” in my body language as prescribed by experts, I am certain to pass the networking gauntlet with flying colours. 

Without question, body language is a science.  There are professionals that can perceive internal thoughts by understanding subtle external signals.  Even non-experts, like me, have the innate ability to decipher obvious signs of happiness, distress, sorrow or anger.

Is it possible to control body language to produce a specific outcome? And is it possible to sustain the control so that it becomes a habit? Now I am curious. Will altering external actions, modify internal belief systems and visa versa?

I love to smile – the kind that is honest, open and ready to embrace life.  When I smile, I feel happy, relaxed and more engaged with the people who I connect with on a daily basis.  Smiling is one of humanity’s greatest gift.  It should not be parcelled out in miserly allotments to prove questionable leadership qualities.   I’ll take the junior assistant’s position if it means I can exercise my smile muscles.

Here is my take.  Internal behaviour is the change agent.  External outcomes are a reflection of who we are, what we believe in and what we strive to accomplish.  That is something to celebrate.

Smile generously, smile joyously, smile courageously.

“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.”
Dalai Lama

By Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

45 replies on “Wipe That Smile”

Great wisdom. I have found that when we start to change on the inner deeper level of existence, we automatically begin to change our outer world. As for smiles, I studied the lessons of the Indian guru, Paramahansa Yogananda. He advocated being ‘smile millionaires’. A wonderful way to live. Great photo, by the way. Blessings from Lizzie Joy


Great post as usual, thank you. I’ve read similar things about being a good leader. In my experience, the thing people want most from you, and the thing I want to give most, is authenticity – this is what generates trust and respect – what better basis could there be for good working relationships? The same applies in all walks of life of course. Beautiful photo, by the way – definitely not a smile to be putting away!


Amen to all the above. In the work place I worked a lot on the phone. I could discern easily those who were smiling on the other end of the line. By the way, I always wonder when I hear these words: “You can tell by his/her body language…” By those words–are we really sure???



You are so right. In fact as we get older a smile is nature’s face-lift. Takes years off us!
We also get the face we deserve as we get older. I hope mine will show I smiled alot. And what a difference it makes to our day. I used to think that it didn’t count to give away a smile if you didn’t get one in return. I’ve changed my mind. I give them away anyway these days. Why not? It doesn’t cost a thing and I can afford it.

Keep smiling

Corinne at soulsnet


Well said!!! Our faces do record who we are!! And I have the same hope as you – that my face will show that I smiled through the years. Thank you so much for joining the conversation…


I just finished writing a piece on smiles. Like smiles they are different so I will post it without worry of being called a plagiarist. Thanks for visiting my blog lately. I have been away from the blogging a little so your visit spurs me on. Brett


I agree. Let’s smile!!! And then there are the words of Mother Teresa: I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish. Of course, I don’t think she was trying to climb the corporate ladder. 🙂


I used to have a plan to write a book titled “Nice is Not a Four Letter Word” about how ridiculous it is to think that only people who don’t smile get ahead in the business world. Luckily I spend my time in a fairly different world now!


I agree wholehearted – it is ridiculous. And I cannot live in a world without smiles or laughter. I was reading from one of my favourite authors last night. J.R.R. Tolkien “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” It looks like you chose to make our world merrier. By the way, that is a great title for a book!!! Glad we connected via “Life Though The Kitchen Window.” Looking forward to our ongoing dialogue…


Another kindred spirit!!!! How wonderful to have you stop by for a visit!!! And yes – let’s keep on smiling – it makes people wonder…and that is a good thing.


I am lost in your blog. lol
I was reading something of yours and I made a couple of comments and wanted to continue….but now I can’t find them. 😦 I know it was written in October and they were shorter.
Any idea what I am talking about?


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