This is the first post in my new series “Unfiltered” where I write a blog post based on a topic or answer a question someone has asked me to on any topic that I might have something to say about: from style advice to life advice – completely unfiltered. Want to ask me something? @, DM or email me.
The first question comes from the incredibly talented womenswear designer Anu Raina via Twitter.
I get this a lot: “You always seem so happy.” And for the most part, I absolutely am. I am happy to interact with the people I do, to see the talent I have seen over the years, and to be in one of the most thrilling and exciting industries in the world.
Because a major part of my work is dealing with people, I have to set aside any worries I may have and focus on the task at hand. Which is why I am sure a lot of people I interact with say I am “always smiling”.
The truth? I actually think I’m much more cynical than I might come across (which is probably a good thing). I do try to look at the positive side of life more than the negative.
Some things I use to get me through my work day to keep a positive attitude:
1. Write emails while smiling
Honest! This works. Before you send, read it aloud with the same smile on your face. When you get into the habit of smiling when you email someone, you will find your overall mood boosting. We write so many emails these days, we might as well have fun with them and have that energy carry on to other things we do during the day. (Of course, sending difficult or “bad news” emails is a completely different topic, which I can touch on another day.)
2. Prep yourself like an actor before meetings and presentations
If you ever took acting in high school or Second City improv classes it’s time to conjure up those skills before any and all interactions with people who you need to impress or create a good impression. This is where you set the stage and prepare yourself to get into “character” (obviously this is you, just a more focused, polished, confident you). Take a deep breath and give yourself a little pep talk: “I am really good at what I do. They want to hear what I have to say. I have great ideas. I got this.” And you know what? You really do have this. knock ’em dead!
3. Have fun doing mundane tasks
In ev’ry job that must be done– Spoonful of Sugar, Mary Poppins
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game
And ev’ry task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree! It’s very clear to see
I’ve been applying the “Spoonful of Sugar” mandate to everything I do – and you should too! Blast your favourite music and sing along if you have book keeping or admin work to do. Make whatever it is you have to do fun in some way. Perhaps it’s even giving yourself a fun little reward afterwards. Cocktails, anyone?
4. Be thankful
Life is complicated. It’s devastating. Noisy. Confusing. There are so many things that can happen and leave us in knots. Counting your blessings and being thankful for the little things will help give you perspective. The fact you are able to read this gives you privilege over a billion people around the world do not have. We are living in a very demanding time, but holy heck isn’t it just magnificent and memorizing? I still try to look at the world in wonder. It would be a sad day if I wasn’t able to do that. Let’s be thankful for all the small luxuries we have.
5. Take time out when you need it
We can’t be positive all the time. I am certainly not. Sometimes I am downright miserable (and even I don’t want to be around me during those times). Call in sick. Cancel that night out or work event. Order in your favourite take out. Eat it while lying in bed with your laptop bingeing “The Crown”. Do whatever you need to do to get away from it all but most importantly, do something that makes you truly happy.
6. Smile at others
That’s it. Smile. It’s the simplest thing you can do. Smile at the barista making your double espresso, nonfat, no whip, almond milk latte (is that even a thing?); smile at the new mom pushing her stroller; the dog walker with 5 dogs pulling them different directions, the bus driver… Simply smile. Happiness is catching. Tag, you’re it.