I am sure you’ve seen Pretty Woman quite a few times. What’s not to love about the iconic Cinderella story starring Julia Roberts as a prostitute with a heart of gold who actually gets her Prince Charming? Did you ever fathom the idea of learning a lesson or two from this film, or better yet, from the celebrated happy face?
You have probably heard it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, yet why are so many of us wasting energy on frowning when in reality it makes us feel worse? I write the word feel in italics to specifically capture your attention. You see, I have a “feeling” that when you read my question, your inner voice was about to say: Because it feels good. Well… it may feel good to crumble a paper and in full throttle, throw it across the room to only find that it flew less than one foot, or perhaps, out of vivid frustration it feels good to slap your hand onto your desk to later shriek the words, “Ouch” when you notice you’re stronger than you thought. All reactions that merit an all say five minutes of pure release and satisfaction for that ole-so-good feeling. And yes…this does feel good, but frowning does not.
For those of you, who already know me up close and personal; know I am a smiling addict. I truly and authentically enjoy smiling. And, I have come to believe I am allergic to those who don’t smile. When I met Goldie Hawn at a charity function, we were both drawn to each other because of our smiles. We actually felt that the others’ smile made the room glow in a lone euphoric way. I later learned during her speech that she practiced laughing therapy. For all I know, based on our commonalities, this woman could have already given me a b-f-f charm bracelet, and I would have been proud to wear it, forever.
I must say, she impacted my day and despite the memory being fifteen years ago, I still remember our encounter. Dale Carnegie, in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, best summed up the lasting impacts of a smile: “It costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.”
So why frown? And especially in a networking situation when you need to sell you as the next rock star of the firm you want to work with? Remember Kit de Luca’s character, played by Laura San Giacamo when she tells Viv, also known as Pretty Woman to “Work it, work it baby, work it…” as she walks toward the illustrious Lotus Esprit? Before we continue though, do me a favor; get your mind out of the gutter, I am surely not suggesting you turn toward selling your body. In fact, at full volume I affirm that I do not agree with prostitution or any symbol associated with it.
Instead, my goal is for you to realize the confidence issues character Vivian Ward was facing—same confidence issues many are undergoing right now, especially those who were recently laid off due to downsizing. Yet, Julia Roberts character had a goal and achieved it by turning her frown upside down. Good bye being someone’s beck and call girl and hello to going back to school; plus, being scooped up by Prince Charming. But, how? She got a hold of her mind, decided to own the situation, build her confidence, smiled along the way, and decided on values. Plus, she became pretty woman after all.
Now it’s up to you. Will you decide to work it until you get a hold of your goal?
Photo by Nicklas Bajema