A smile’s worth… well, what IS it worth?

I met up with a friend of mine, David, and noticed that he looked a bit different.  He had just got braces!  David, a 30 year old entrepreneur, felt that it was time to do something about an issue that had been bothering him since he was a teenager.

I was quite curious as to why David decided to get braces at this point in his life, particularly for a guy who always comes across as confident and comfortable with who he is and what he’s about.  So, we got into it (of course David was experiencing the usual difficulties people have when first getting braces) and here’s what I learned…

  • David has always been self-conscious about his teeth and hence, probably doesn’t smile as fully as he’d like to.
  • Since he’s self-conscious about his teeth, he probably doesn’t put himself ‘out there’ as much as he would if he didn’t have this problem.
  • David has a lovely girlfriend who has never really been bothered by his teeth issue.
  • David is a talented and successful entrepreneur whose business has growth tremendously in the past few years (he’s in a major growth phase as we speak).

The most common thing that he has heard from friends and family (they were probably trying to deter him from incurring the time/cost involved with having and maintaining braces) is that they have never really noticed that David’s teeth are worthy of braces!  Does it really matter though that others think he shouldn’t have bothered with this “minor” augmentation?  Since our coffee date, I’ve been thinking about what he shared and here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • David has to live with his teeth for the rest of his life.  These are his teeth we’re talking about and he can do what he wants to do (wow, I’m a little strict today)!  Regardless of what others have to say about David’s decision, HE is the one that has to be as confident as possible when presenting himself to prospective and current clients, new acquaintances, the media, etc.
  • A confidence-booster will only help David grow, both personally and professionally.  When he is proud of his (soon-to-be) new smile, he might:
    • Take on new challenges: he will have the confidence to stretch himself and enter into situations that he previously wouldn’t have.
    • Take bigger risks: David might decide to take on bigger projects or focus more on business development (this might have been a challenge or risk for him in the past) because he can speak (and laugh) more freely with new people he meets.
    • Feel Good: the old saying “when you look good you feel good” might be absolutely true for David.  This will let him feel more comfortable… even around his friends and family.  I’m sure people close to him will notice his new energy.

I’m willing to bet that each of us can think of a small change or two that will enhance our confidence.  How could this improve opportunities in your personal and/or professional life?