Influence—Its Meaning Will Make You Smile

At a recent conference I attended, one of the speakers touched on the subject of being an influential person. Most of us categorize effective influence by numbers rather than by character. We believe having influence means we need to have a big audience, attend a huge church, know popular people, hold countless degrees, own lots of stuff, or have big bank accounts.

Influence—Its Meaning Will Make You Smile
Image from Photodune.

I have none of those things and have rarely considered myself a person with much influence . . . until I heard this speaker’s talk.

It’s my assumption that many of you reading these words believe you have little influence, but you’d be surprised. One of the speaker’s ten points was so simple, yet it left an incredible impact on my preconceptions about the meaning of influence. Today, I hope you will reconsider your influence. You have influence, your influence is powerful, and your influence can change lives everywhere you go.

Ready?

Give Us a Smile

One of the most powerful ways to influence others happens with a simple smile. Ta-da! That’s it . . . if you give away a smile, you have influenced someone’s life.

Recently, I was pondering the meaning of the smile and made some notes. Just think . . .

  1. Smiling is attractive. I bet most of us would prefer to look at a smiling face rather than a frowning one anytime. We are drawn to one another’s smile.
  2. Smiling can make us feel better. When smiling, I’m usually engaged in thinking positively and proactively.
  3. Smiling—like yawning—is very contagious. When I see someone smile, it’s rare that I don’t smile back.
  4. Smiling is a stress reliever. Frowning uses 40 face muscles and smiling only 17, so why not choose to smile and avoid the additional “muscle strain”? A smile relaxes your face which results in a more relaxed body.
  5. Smiling—like laughter—releases endorphins in the brain that improve one’s mood. I have learned this raising a neurologically challenged son. We have practiced smiling so many times, I can testify to the positive effect of it. Endorphins are released not only when we smile but when a smile turns to laughter.

Several years ago, I was in a car accident that caused me serious head and face trauma. I couldn’t get out of bed, so my kids would bring their laptops onto my big bed and show me hilarious videos. Because of the broken bones in my face, I had to be careful not to laugh too hard, but smiling and laughing lifted my mood during those months of healing.

Turn Up the Corners

So, with much excitement, I challenge us all: let’s be agents of influence. It is so simple to turn up the corners of our mouths and give away a warm smile!

Share with me how a smile—either given or received—has changed your day. I promise; if you choose to be a person of influence by sharing one smile a day, you will have some incredible stories to share! As I end this post, I’m sending each of you a huge smile!

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  • Missy Wang

    Colleen I know a smile can have a huge impact. For 8 years I sponsored kids in our youth group. Just a smile and a look in there eyes made a huge difference. Several people that I mentored have told me this small act made a huge difference. Mainly because I took the time to “see them”. Even at times when they are looking at the floor and walking I would make it a point to say there name and get them to smile as well. It goes for adults as well. One of the things I strive to do when walking around in everyday society is to apply this same concept. Not that its a chore or anything but just a natural reaction to those around me. Always trying my hardest to get out of my own bubble. Not always reciprocated and at times feel very alone but I keep pushing forward with it. It makes a huge difference not just in their world but mine as well. There are days I walk around with a smile that just won’t stop because it addicting. Once you touch someone and you can see it just makes your own day brighter. Great post and would love to hear those other 10 things on influence. Walking around and not feeling like I have much impact on this world . At least for this morning. Im exhausted from the weekend. Ok going into quite time now and resting as much as I am able today.

    • Missy,
      I kid you not, when I saw you had written me a comment, I SMILED…and I had not even read what you said. That is so cool. I love seeing you on Facebook and now here because you bring a smile to my face every time. I think we have so lost track of what society believes is INFLUENFCE…like having to have some external thing to be influential. Yes, a smile comes from an internal place but it’s free. Those who have had the most influence on my have never been known for their riches, size of their home or the car they drive; they have been known for their character. And it seems, one who has an upstanding character is at peace with this life…they have it in it’s proper perspective. Another thing that came to mind is something I learned from my husband. As you know-or I assume you know-we both went through painful divorces (as if the isn’t a painful one). During that season for him, he said he FORCED himself to smile even though he felt like crap. He said he made it a habit to smile in the shower, to smile in the mirror while he was getting ready, and to smile as often as he could through those awful, long, difficult days. You know what, the one thing I love so much about him now is how incredibly positive he is and always willing to offer every single person a smile regardless. On my worst days, he influences me in a most powerful way. So I must say to you, you have and continue to have an incredible influence on my life. Thank you for being my friend. My life is better because you are in it. Have a great afternoon. Colleen

  • Melissa Melvin

    I read this post earlier today and just had to read it once more tonight! A smile is such a valuable gift to give and can make such a difference not only in the lives of others but in my life as well.

    Growing up I never realized the impact of my own smile until the end of
    Junior High when I had a couple teachers comment on the fact that every
    time they saw me I had a smile on my face. I guess my smile made their
    days brighter? Since then I have tried to share a smile with friends
    and strangers whenever I am in public because I never know who might
    need it.

    I remember back to the summer of 2006. I was in Romania for a second time serving orphans. One day I went a children’s hospital to visit some of the abandoned children there. I entered one of the rooms where 3 little ones were in their cribs. When I walked in the room two of the little girls stared longingly at me. I walked over and stood before them so both of them could see and reach me. Their faces were sad. I was determined to do whatever I could to brighten their day and make them smile. I was unsure if I was allowed to pick them up out of their cribs, so instead I got down on the floor and began popping up and down like a Jack in the Bx in front of them. The faces of both girls broke into smiles and they giggled uncontrollably. I could not help but join them in their laughter. Even some of the medical staff came to see what all of the squeals and laughter were about and they left the room smiling.

    Speaking of making people smile, I have only been following you here and on social media for a little over a month and I cannot tell you how many times you have made me smile! For every smile, encouraging word and godly perspective you have given, I smile and give thanks to God! I am richly blessed to have crossed paths with you!

    • Melissa,
      I cannot imagine the joy you filled those little, suffering hearts with as you played and smiled…even in the midst of their circumstances, you gave them a priceless gift…in fact, several gifts. You gave them the gift of honest acceptance, understanding of broken humanity, hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the gift of unconditional love. There are so many more but those first came to mind. We all need to be validated; at be accepted, to be understood without saying words…all this and more you did for those little kiddos and you do again and again. There is something about suffering that can produce an attitude of unmerited favor…grace upon grace. You do that in spades. As you continue to endure, may this grace be given in absolute abundance. You are remarkable! Colleen