31: Free Smiles. #LifeWideLearning16

31: Free Smiles. #LifeWideLearning16

You can be the most skeptical person in the room. You can choose to shoot down each and every idea that is proposed. Or, you can choose to be the most silent person in the room, making no effort to engage in any way. Or, you could be the most indecisive person in the room. You can believe that the people outside of the room are the ones that matter and you can defer to them and delay any decisions until you have their input.

I am none of those people. Instead, I choose to be the most invested person in the room. I choose to listen to others and to take notes in a collaborative document. I choose to stay relentlessly positive and come up with solutions, even when it doesn’t seem as though anyone is willing to go there with me. I am an optimist and I wear it on my sleeve. You can read my intentions on my face and I most freely give smiles to each person in the room.

This is not grandstanding behavior. It is a genuine decision to give others a happiness that I feel deeply in each moment of learning. In the struggle of creating something new, I smile. In the building of a new relationship, I smile. I give smiles freely and my words follow suit. In fact, the words are the reasons for smiling. They bounce around my head and tumble forward, forcing the corners of my mouth upward.

No matter how dour the mood is, I find the collaboration engaging and worth the effort. No matter who is within the room, it is an opportunity for building community and favoring the investment rather than apathy. I do not judge those who choose to disconnect, but I do find it fascinating. Given the option of sharing a moment in creating something new, why choose anything else?

The gap-toothed grin is a tool of my trade. It is the one that I freely share with others with no expectation of reciprocity. Rather, I simply hope that others will know that I am investing in them and that I take time and attention seriously. This is not another meeting. It is not another chance to kick the can down the road. This is a moment worth seizing. It is a moment worth showing up for. It is a moment worth smiling at.

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