Someone recently asked me how I stay so upbeat. I think it comes down to knowing myself. Knowing what gives us joy and the context in which we thrive, allows us to seek and create those conditions. Learn to plant smiles for yourself.

My daughter gives me great joy, so I make it priority to protect our quality time together. Sure, we may look like we’re vegging on beanbags, but we’re sharing precious moments together every weekend. She’s my surefire smile, any day of the week.

Also, since the Spare Room is part of our family’s contribution to the world around us, we have a little boy staying with us now. Wayne is the first kid to spend half of his first month with us in the ICU! But he had surgery late last week and is doing much better – we expect him to come home in a few days. Caring for Wayne and that ridiculously cute smile gives me joy. Clearly, my husband also finds moments of joy. I’m not entirely sure he’s even aware that he’s playing Pac-Man as he walks.

We spend even more time at work, than we do at home.

So, we need to make sure we’re working with people we love. Like my old Pantene team, these folks can become lifelong friends. And just last week, I reflected on how much joy we can create, even when not feeling well and dealing with late night flight delays! All it takes is a little friendship and Dairy Queen 🙂 In fact, as leaders, I believe it’s part of our basic job description to create the conditions for fun (as posted here).

Emily Chang | McCann | Smiles at work

Last but not least, plant smiles for yourself. Identify the little things that give you joy, and indulge yourself. Maybe it’s a nice lamp for your office, that spreads a warm glow. A special lowball glass for your evening whiskey. Or maybe it’s a photo that still makes you smile after all these years. It’s a little silly, but this memory of Laini finding and playing with “stickers” in the bathroom, never fails to evoke a giggle.

Emily Chang | The Spare Room | Laini pads