What type of person are you? The person who can easily talk to anyone and connects with strangers and friends wherever they go? The person who is an introvert and likes to be with people, but tends to look more inward? Or how about the person who is so shy and feels so awkward that you are afraid to connect with anyone? I have always been a combination of the last two. I am the person, who goes to lunch by myself (I don’t mind this at all! In fact, I love it!), sits at the bar and promptly puts my nose in my book and barely says a word to the server. Or how about this, the person who walks down the street, and is so involved in my own head, that I don’t see a coworker or hear them when they speak to me? Yes, that is a true story and has happened multiple times! In fact, one of my coworkers got really upset with me. As I was walking toward her down the street, she spoke. Instead of speaking back, I walked across the street to the other side! I never saw or heard her! How sad is that?

In becoming an entrepreneur, I really wanted to change this aspect of my personality. I encourage my clients to take small steps toward their bigger goal. I employed that practice for myself and my first step was to really notice people as I walk down the street, make eye contact and smile at them. As I started doing this, I found that people smile back and will even speak sometimes. I began noticing that I feel better when I’m having these little interactions with random strangers. I think that we sometimes forget the impact a smile can have. It can brighten someone’s day. It makes a connection so the giver and receiver both feel like they are not alone in the world. A smile changes your entire face and countenance. It changes your inner attitudes as well.

I am also reminded of children and how they are in the world. Children are always so quick with a smile and a laugh. One of my favorite sounds is to hear children playing in a park or on a playground. It always brings a smile to my face because those kids are talking and laughing and interacting with each other. Or if they are out shopping, you will see the parents are typically involved in getting what they need and getting out. But the kids, they are taking it all in. They want to interact with whomever they can. If you give them a smile, they immediately return it and may even start asking you questions. This child-like quality is one that I want to capture. I’m giving smiles to everyone and I’m inquisitive with everyone that I encounter. That first small step has opened my eyes to a whole new way of living life. Life is richer just because of the smiles that I give and even more so when I get one back! Bonus! It made it easier for me to move on to the next small step!

Have you been giving and receiving smiles? Does the practice change your perspective? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Sherry Parks is a Rediscovery Coach who helps women rediscover themselves and reconnect to the core of who they are.

To contact Sherry for more information about coaching join her women only Facebook group Lives in Balance.

Originally published at medium.com