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2007: Issue 2

Smile, It’s Wintertime

HorseIn Virginia, Mother Nature has blessed us with spring-like weather…. record highs throughout the state, people in shorts and sandals have been a common site, and if you look closely, you may even find some daffadoils in bloom.

Is it really winter? You know, the season often marked by dreary days, frosted windows, cold rain, long nights, colds and congestion, cabin fever and the winter blahs. Ugh! Unless you are a skier, or like my husband, a lover of good old fashioned hearth fires, January and February are probably not your favorite months of the year and it shows….we grumble about the weather, taxes, bills and whatever else is on our mind, tend to hunker down inside and use the television as our primary contact with the world outside, and if we are out and about, we hurriedly pass each other on the street with our heads down and hands in our pockets for warmth. Eye contact, smiles and laughter are diminished as we go into survival mode.

Exaggeration, perhaps, and yet, as I have experienced typical winter weather this week, I realize how close to the truth this is unless I consciously choose to make it different. In addition to taking dancing lessons with my husband, I am beginning with my focus on the three simple and natural acts….making eye contact, smiling and laughing: no matter how cold, how windy, dark or miserable it is outside, or how rude, mean or miserable the person I am encountering seems to be. I am finding the opportunities to smile, laugh and make eye contact and boy, do I feel better.

While there are many ways we can take better care of ourselves, these three simple, natural acts have significant benefit on our emotional and physical health. Intuitively we know it, and now research substantiates the body’s production and release of oxytocin, commonly referred to as the “love” or “bonding” hormone, by the brain and the heart when we smile, laugh and connect with another, as well as the so called feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins. And when we feel good, it is much easier to get done what we need or want to get done, to honor our values, and to reach our goals. It truly is that simple.

One of my daily, not-so-good habits is to indulge in a fountain drink. I have a store I regularly frequent, where the clerks have become my friends—Utam, Reggie and RG (stands for Reggie’s girlfriend). We exchange smiles, some little chit chat, and I always walk out laughing. The drink may not be good for my health, but the exchange of laughter and smiles with them is. Yesterday, I was reminded of the power of a smile as I witnessed a customer enter the store ranting and raving at Utam about what, I am not sure, but the intensity and frustration were very clear. Utam met her with his smile, the one he seems to naturally beam, full face, no pretense, and expressing a genuine sense of caring and kindness. The impact—she calmed down immediately, paid for her gas and went on her way. And Utam went on smiling. He was good, she was calmer. I’d call that a win-win.


Begin with yourself….what can you do today to give yourself the gift of a smile, of laughter, of eye contact.

Pass the gift of a smile, of laughter, and of eye contact on. See the difference.

Laugh the winter blahs away….see a funny movie, connect with a good friend, smile at a stranger, laugh for the simple pleasure of laughing.

Founded in 2003 and based in Roanoke, Virginia, Extra Ordinary Living works with individuals, organizations and teams to identify possibilities, create opportunities, remove obstacles and through deliberate action, optimize results.

Usually the first question we are asked, is why Tiberius? Our trivia friends can often identify the references……yes, Tiberius was the 2nd Roman emperor, and yes, Tiberius is the middle name of James T. Kirk from Star Trek. One of our life mottos and business principles is “to learn from the past, look to the future while living in the present.” Thus, Extra Ordinary Living.

As Professional Coaches, we are trained to listen, to observe and to customize our approach to our clients needs.  We provide tools, support, structure and accountability to help our clients unleash their full potential and optimize results.  The best thing about coaching is it is all about you – the client, and what you want.  We may share our opinions and give you advice, but it is up to you to pick and choose what you want to accept.  We suspend judgment and will support you in your decisions. 

As Professional Speakers, our messages are inspirational while imparting useful, practical and memorable information in a fun and dynamic way to help our audiences live  extra ordinary lives.  

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
– Joseph Campbell

Janet Crawford, MHA, MBA
Professional Certified Coach

A publication of Extra Ordinary Living,  Extra Ordinary Living is written for aspiring individuals striving to make a difference, and wanting to explore, experience and excel in all aspects of their life.

“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable."
– Joseph Addison

"If fortune smiles, who doesn't? If fortune doesn't, who does?"
– Chinese Proverb


Stay tuned to learn more about the launch of the Equine Assisted Teambuilding program, capitalizing on the wisdom of the horse to assist teams in optimizing their performance.