“If you have the power to make someone happy, do it.”

It’s a hokey, new-agey, nauseatingly kumbaya directive that’s all over facebook and it both annoys and excites me.  It annoys me because I can’t make someone happy; they have to do that for themselves. It excites me because of that very same reason.  It’s a wake up call to recognize our own power.

We have the power to make someone feel good.  It can be as private as leaving a cookie on someone’s desk or as public as giving someone a promotion.  But the power to make ourselves feel good?  That’s the holy grail.  That’s the source of the ripple effect we want at work.

Power comes in many forms, but none is faster, or more deeply felt, than a genuine smile.  It’s kindness, compassion, and trust rolled into one universal language and it spreads faster than fire.  It’s one of the most incredible things our body can do because it changes how we feel immediately.  Even a fake smile does it.

Smiles bridge differences of all kinds; language, cultures, gender, age, values.  You name it.  So start spreading the good stuff.  Start small. Smile at people you like.  Turn it up a notch – smile at those people you don’t hate.  Do you feel your belly releasing the clenched feeling you had just a minute ago?  Awesome.  In a few days/weeks/months, consider smiling at those people you don’t respect or like.  They’re our greatest teachers.

But most of all, smile at yourself.  In the mirror, at your bad joke, or at your super presentation.  Smiles are gifts that appear to be for the recipient but are in fact gifts to ourselves.  As we lift the corners of our mouth, we lift our hearts and create joy in our spirit.

If you have the power to make [yourself] happy, do it.