I need to pass on a little bit of advice I just received from a physical therapist I met a couple weeks ago. At one point in our conversation he asked me if I remembered any fun things from when I was a kid - you know, the biggest belly laugh that I had. I sat there for about three minutes looking at him with what I'm sure was a blank look on my face before I rolled my eyes.
In fact, I really couldn't think of any big belly laughs that I had as a kid.
He told me that one of the things I should do everyday as "homework" was to think of the biggest belly laugh I had as a kid and start my day that way. Hmmmm! Now what good does that do me? I told him I couldn’t think of any belly laughs I had as a kid, so he offered that I should think of a recent belly laugh I had. I started to think about what had made me laugh lately. My mind went back to seeing my girlfriend Caroline, who is Pam Ann the comedienne. She had told a joke about the crazy airline hostess who left her bag and Gucci shoes at the airport and ran away when they discovered $7 million worth of coke in her bags.
The joke was this:
Pam Ann was holding up pictures of different stewardesses from different airlines. The stewardess from Emirates had a scarf across her face; the one from Air France was too thin to be seen, so her fingers were empty and she held up nothing (which was funny to me being a model who has fought her whole life to be thin); the picture of the stewardess from JetBlue was a bag with a pair of shoes attached to the side, and that was held up as the likeness of the stewardess from JetBlue.
Maybe it's not funny when you write it – but I'm laughing writing it!
When I told him what I was thinking about, he asked if I could feel how my face changed. I know this sounds very strange, but I actually could! I could feel that a different energy came out my face and my eyes. So I decided to give it a try. Every morning, I wake up a few minutes earlier than normal and I lay in bed and I think about when I was a kid. I try to think of the biggest belly laughs I had as a child.
I think of things like feeding my dog peanut butter and watching him trying to struggle to chew it while his mouth was peanut butter glued. I remember laughing so hard, I had to go the bathroom. And since that first day thinking of the "peanut butter belly laugh," I have remembered so many other things as a kid that made me laugh that I had forgotten as an adult. Nearly a new thought every day: from hot dogs on the wall, to orange juice coming out of my neighbor's nose during lunch one day, to Chinese fortune cookies stuck on our noses like crabs, to card playing bouts with my family.
And whether or not these are funny to you, when I think of these in the morning, I remember and I laugh. And then all day long, THAT is the thought that I use right before going into meetings. Right before I go to dinner or I meet somebody for lunch, the moment I push the door open, I think "Chinese fortune cookie" or "Peanut butter." I think "Orange juice." It not only changes how I am when I enter, it changes how people deal with me.
Anyway this is been the most significant lesson that I have learned in the last few months and now I start my day happy. So I wanted to pass it on.
If you're going in for a business meeting, or to get a job, or to sell something, try this little trick – people can really see the difference and they really respond to it!