Friday, May 9, 2008

Harvey Mackay and the Importance of a Smile

I’ve admired Harvey Mackay for a long time -- ever since the first time I read his book DIG YOUR WELL BEFORE YOU’RE THIRSTY with the subtitle “The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need.” (I’ve read the book more than once.)

In truth, Mackay wrote his book before the internet took off, so you’ll probably need at least one other more “current” networking book. And he wrote his book mostly for people further along in their careers than high school and college students, although everyone can benefit from his words of wisdom.

In my opinion, Mackay’s DIG YOUR WELL BEFORE YOU’RE THIRSTY is still the best networking advice book I’ve ever read – and I’ve read several newer ones.

Every Thursday I get an email of Mackay’s weekly newsletter. And no matter how busy I am, I find the few minutes to read it. (Check out his website at

Yesterday’s column was about the importance of smiles. And what particularly got my attention was Mackay’s Moral – a pithy statement that always ends his column. This week’s Mackay’s Moral: “The most powerful single thing you can do to influence others is to smile at them.”

I had this thought in mind today when I stopped in at a Westside LA Coffee Bean (competitor to Starbucks in our part of the country). Yes, the young people behind the counter are getting minimum pay (as they were discussing animatedly as I waited and waited for two teas), yet they could promote the “brand.” They could smile and appear to care about my order.

And that’s when I thought of the application of Mackay’s Moral to the young people who work at Coffee Bean and Starbucks: Smile at each and every customer – and treat even this “low-rung” job as if it were truly important. Because that kind of positive attitude can help you go a long way.

college applications, jobs,

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