Don’t underestimate the value of a smile. Literally.
A study of recent MBA graduates found that optimistic people get hired more quickly than their less-optimistic peers. Plus happy workers were more likely to get promoted.
Whether at work or in your personal life, wouldn’t you rather deal with happy people than unhappy people? The notion is quite universal. Even pessimists prefer optimists.
“Being happy on the job improves your reputation,” says author Vicky Oliver. “Optimism also makes you more resilient, able to adapt to new situations, and solve problems faster. Happy employees get better feedback from bosses and peers. And they enjoy more job satisfaction because work doesn’t feel boring, difficult, or unpleasant.”
Oliver, an image consultant in Manhattan, is the author of five bestselling books on personal branding, etiquette, and career development, including her latest, “The Millionaire’s Handbook: How to Look and Act Like a Millionaire Even If You’re Not.”
In this video, another happiness professional, Gretchen Rubin, gives advice on how she, and you, can find contentment in everyday life.
Here are four tips from Oliver on how to put on a happy face at work and smile all the way to the bank:
Wear your “rose colored glasses” to work. For every disappointment, find a lesson. Try to see a positive aspect in situations that don’t turn out the way you intend. For example, maybe you didn’t get the job, but you got your foot in the door at the company, making it easier to go back next time. Maybe you didn’t talk to the most important person at the cocktail party, but you talked to the second most important person.
Pepper your language with upbeat words and phrases. Words have a powerful, subliminal effect on others’ moods and impressions. Bosses and coworkers love dealing with pleasant, positive people. It’s easy to jazz up routine exchanges by adding words that convey a happy mood and upbeat energy. So, “I’d be delighted to” is much better than “Sure.”
Give yourself a daily pep talk. Write down 10 statements you’d tell your best friend if she suffered a career setback. For example, “You did the best you could,” or “Mistakes are great ways to learn.” When you don’t get the praise you deserve from an irascible boss, tell yourself, “That’s his problem, not mine.”
If you feel a complaint coming on, zip it. Complaining makes you feel worse, and it makes others around you feel worse too. Just as happiness is contagious, so is negativity. If you can’t figure out a way to say something constructive about a problem or challenge, then keep quiet. People who act positive are perceived as being positive.
Despite what you’re feeling, in the end just acting cheerful in the face of challenges will do great things for your career and professional reputation.