Think of a profession that has the happiest people. A role someone plays that, as you experience them, you come away feeling good. An overall happy person job.
What did you come up with?
I know, it’s obvious, isn’t it? A traffic cop.
Well, that’s what my wife would say. And she’d tell you his name is Mr. Smiley.
Of course, we don’t really think that’s his name, but it might as well be. Because that’s what he does, all day – always smiling and encouraging walkers and drivers alike with “Enjoy your day!”
Go ahead, picture a traffic cop. Isn’t that the happiest person you’ve ever seen? Not likely. But you might change your mind when you come upon the heaviest traveled cross walk on Dickinson College campus – especially around lunch time. Mr. Smiley makes it fast, efficient, and fun for his customers.
Plenty are not like Mr. Smiley, which is why you didn’t likely pick a traffic cop for your answer. In fact, we might come up with a few other, often deserved, but better unsaid, names about traffic cops – or most professions for that matter.
What’s the deal with you, Mr. Smiley?
I don’t really know… but I’d go with - perspective and choice.
Perspective: I think Mr. Smiley knows the relevance of his role, even while others in the exact same role, even the same crossing space and different time, don’t know it. He knows who he impacts and how. He knows people’s lives are at stake. And he knows he can make it fun and efficient, and very safe all at the same time. When we know what difference we make, we are more focused, in-tune, and engaged. A perspective of relevance helps us feel what we do has value. Mr. Smiley knows being a traffic cop is very relevant.
Choice: I’m thinking Mr. Smiley has the same troubles we all have. He likely sees and hears his share of rude people along his journey. He’s been in some nasty weather, that’s for sure. He’s got plenty of redundancy, and we could certainly argue he has plenty of stressful situations. Yet, there he is – smiling, laughing, and just having a good time – whether we are or not. Thankfully, when we’re paying attention – we are having fun because Mr. Smiley takes us there.
What if we all acted like Mr. Smiley? We might enjoy the journey a whole lot more.