Do you have a Smile File?

What makes you feel better on a tough day?

I normally turn first the deepest, darkest chocolate as if I could bury myself in it and the caffeine buzz would carry me through the rest of the day.

But it’s only a temporary delicious fix.

What hands-down always does the trick is looking in my Smile File.

If you don’t have one, I highly recommend building one or two right now. I have a physical folder in my file cabinet and a virtual one in my Dropbox (yes, so I can view it on every device. You don’t know where you’ll be when you need it!).

A Smile File is a place to collect cards, notes, encouragements, testimonials and thank-you’s. We all get them, and unfortunately many people wave them away before really receiving these gifts.

Because when you are appreciated, the other person is giving you a gift. I wrote previously about how important it is to accept compliments.

The Smile File takes it one step further. It says what you’ve been given is so precious you’re going to save it and savor it for a long time. I have birthday cards from years ago still in there because what was handwritten inside felt like I was really seen.

What else is there: sweet comments from Facebook, encouraging texts from friends, and emails from former clients months after we worked together raving about the changes they made and thanking me for being part of it. There’s also this brochure my mom and I were featured in for the cancer center where she was treated in 2015. The look on her face is priceless as it documents the end of a rough period for both of us.


Every time I dip into the physical and virtual folders, it feels like a nourishing hug.

Don’t get me wrong, it also feels a little uncomfortable. Like I should check the coast is clear so no one sees me look in there, because maybe this is selfish or self-centered and I’m not supposed to save these or need them.

But I do need them, and so do you!

It’s a natural human desire to feel acknowledged, loved and appreciated. The treasures in your Smile File remind you of the impact you’ve had in people’s lives so you can keep going.

It’s a cross between a sports coach on the sidelines cheering you on, and someone you love telling you it will be alright.

Everyone needs a Smile File and everyone has things to put in it as long as you recognize when people appreciate you, receive it, and save it.

What’s going in your Smile File?

I’d love to hear in comments!

You better get this right

You have only one job to do this week.

Warning, it may be treacherous, fraught with second-guessing, guilt, disappointment, and sudden, uncontrollable overwhelm. No matter. You're gonna have to do it anyway.

What's more, it's good for you.  

I'm talking about receiving.

Most of us will be the lucky recipients of at least one gift this week, from homemade cookies and heart-felt holiday wishes to packages tied up with shiny red bows.

Judging by the looks on the people's faces I've seen so far, there's a lot more tied up with those packages too: Your thoughts on the giver, their opinions of you, your worry about what you gave (or didn't give) them, and the history of your entire relationship. Holy moly.

That's why I'm here with a friendly reminder.

All of this - ALL OF THIS - is about love.

Everything you think this is about truly doesn't matter. Don't get me wrong, it may feel like it does and your feelings are important, but this season of giving is about receiving. 

This is about you receiving love.     

I'm not asking you to do this for everything you get:


But I am asking you to see the person, every person, in front of you as someone sharing love With You in the best way they know how. Every person is telling and showing you how special you are to them, and no matter who they are or what's happened in the past...

You're getting love, damnit! You better accept it!

Another thing. I bet you are so good at giving.

We A-student strivers tend to focus on what we send out into the world, and may not realize we are denying the people in our lives the same joy we feel when we give by not taking time to see what they have for us. It can feel new, awkward, uncomfortable, selfish to get a gift -- gasp, even if you have nothing for them in return -- and really receive it.

That's what I'm asking you to do. Big girl and boy pants time. See and feel the love others have for you, and Take It In. Look them in the eyes, say thank you, and mean it.   

If you need a little more assistance, I've written about receiving before. Here are two oldie-but-goodie blog posts for your reading pleasure. 

Please accept this compliment

Getting what you want is about receiving

Receiving is also basically the whole first chapter of my new book, SIMPLY LEAPGrab your copy here, on Amazon or Kindle. 

Wishing you, and all the people who love you the best way they know how, a happy and healthy holiday season. 

You deserve it!