When You're Smiling (Cue a Song!) - The Things That Made You Smile

“When you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you”. Last year I wrote a blog about this just before Christmas, and then in November this year I asked you what makes you smile?

It's been lovely to hear from so many of you that it was, in fact, other people in your lives that make you smile!

It was people who made a difference; some of whom you knew, some you didn’t know at all! Regardless; they showed they cared with acts of kindness, and those acts of kindness didn’t have to be something big. What people did was reach out; they actually did something - they called you up; sent you an email, a text, a funny WhatsApp message, an unexpected gift in the post.

According to Aparna Labroo, a Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School, the learning here is to “stop imagining activities and get out there and do them”. Labroo states that when we're in a bad mood it's difficult to simulate the experience of doing something enjoyable - and we attribute the difficulty of simulating it to the enjoyable activity itself!

The act of kindness in a year of chaos was that people stopped and turned their attention to others. We're social creatures; we want to be part of a group. It's the relatedness in David Rock’s SCARF model. It serves our basic human needs of safety, affiliation and uncertainty reduction.

People showed empathy and compassion; a desire to help. The Oxford English Dictionary defines compassion as "the feeling or emotion when a person is moved by the suffering or distress of another, and by the desire to relieve it". In doing so, they were courageous to show their own vulnerability and be human - something I have always tried to live by. We began to see this direction being taken in some organisations even before COVID-19 struck, however the virus came along to underline the point and put it in bold!

Many people have suffered terribly as a result of the pandemic; losing family members and friends, falling ill themselves; suffering mentally and physically from loneliness, financial distress, and abusive relationships... however, it is these acts of kindness and compassion that will win through!

Realise that, as an individual, manager, or leader, compassion matters now more than ever; 
Aspire to be sensitive to the needs of others at work and in life, and;
Do take action, reach out, and continue to be mindful of your actions and how you come across to others.

Blog Posts

  • I first met Paul at an The Art of Work Ltd event a few months back and we instantly connected and then realised we had quite a few things in common.  Paul's passion is in delivering mental health awareness to individuals and companies from a heartfelt desire to make a difference.  I am so glad Paul agreed to write a guest blog.  Thank you Paul!

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  • I was on holiday the other week with my family and I was thinking of what we could do to make our “holiday” different from what has become our “normal” working from home (WFH) and virtual schooling.

  • Sunday morning and it is lovely to not rush up; however, I still reach for my iPhone to read my emails and articles on LinkedIn.  Though perhaps not the best thing to be doing, and reflecting on what is the mental impact on me about doing this??  However, I do read some great articles that give me inspiration and ideas for my blogs.  This morning was no exception!

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    Last week talking to friends and clients about how they were feeling the words that kept coming back to me were "psychological safety". The word "Psychological Safety" may currently be topical, although we have long discussed the "Psychological Contract" within HR and for me the two are very much linked.  Without "the belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes", how can any employee or member of staff feel they have a connection to an organisation? 
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    Working with some coaching clients at the moment where their focus is on career transition and catching up with people in my network, it is great to see for a significant number of people - a "new year; new role".  It got me thinking that for a lot of people, last year could have made them reflect about what they do now?  Is their current role aligned to their values?  Or they may simply be saying each day "what on earth am I doing?"