How a Smile Landed a Motivational Speaker at Michael Eisner’s Table!

Stress-less-speaker-Colette-CarlsonThey say a smile is the shortest distance between two people, but it’s also the fastest way to Michael Eisner’s table. Here’s the dish. After an extremely long day at Disney Hollywood Studios, my family, a dear friend and her nephews were waiting in an extremely long line. We were one of the many vying for a seat to view the fireworks-water finale. My kids (around 7 and 8 at the time) were whining, “I’m hungry” to which I responded in pure mother fashion, “Then you should have finished your $15 hamburger!” When I looked up I saw a Disney employee walking along the velvet-lined rope, our eyes met and I smiled. Not just a small smile like “yea, we made eye-contact so I have to acknowledge you smile” but a full-blown show the crowns in the back smile. Why? You gotta love someone who can't walk by a straw wrapper without picking it up and throwing it in the trash. Remember, I had been crammed in a hotel room with family for days who  lacked the skills required to bend over and pick up anything! That’s when the magic happened.

He approached me he said, “How many are in your party?” Given my strong sales background I knew better than to simply answer without probing for more information. “How many need to be in my party?” At this point I was more than agreeable to ditch the kids. “Well” he replied, “the table is set for four, but I’m sure we could accommodate all seven. Please follow me.” And follow we did. Past the long line, past the people with envious stares, to a beautiful, secluded spot with a birds-eye view of the upcoming show. Not only was an elegant table set, but at attention were three chefs behind two tables stacked with sugar free (yes!) pastries, goodies and character-shaped cakes. Our mouths watered as our eyes glazed over in splenda stares. “Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney (at the time), decided to stay home and watch the basketball play-offs instead of joining us this evening. Please enjoy.” And enjoy we did. We stuffed our faces with miniature Goofys as we delighted in an outstanding fireworks display…smiling the entire time.

A smile is the same in any language and one size does fit all (unlike my pants the next morning). This motivational speaker recommends you put a smile on your face and watch what happens. Do you have a smile story?


Step into the Truth Booth, improve your life, and laugh along the way with funny motivational speaker Colette Carlson. How did she go from emotional coward and the Pizza Delivery’s favorite customer to #1 sales producer for sales legend Tom Hopkins and Brian Tracy, featured in Success Magazine, a 50 lb. weight loss, and inspiring audiences at Microsoft, Accenture, Pepsi, Boeing, and organizations worldwide? Visit her at or call 760-230-1212.

Colette founded Speak Your Truth, Inc. to share her success systems and inspire others to Think It! Speak It! Live It! Her tools and takeaways create authentic, long-lasting change in every aspect of your life. With a MA in human behavior, a successful business and 2 teenage daughters, Colette provides a unique combination of education, research, real-life experience, and heartfelt humor to motivate you with her high content programs. Improve your Communication Skills, Work-Life Balance, Sales, Leadership, Assertiveness, Negotiation…all wrapped in the genuine power of Speaking Your Truth.

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  1. Oh, Colette, this was a beautiful post. I have so many smile stories I don’t even know where to begin. And not because I’m a motivational speaker – as my smile stories didn’t happen from the platform, but off the platform. The thing about my smile stories, is that I don’t know how they ended. But I have COMPLETE FAITH that my smile landed on their heart, not just their face. I reinvented my smile a long time ago, when I decided that I was put here to encourage and motivate people – in every moment I possibly could. So my smile changed from a pleasantry, to a laser focused mission to really “see” that person. To give them a smile that says “I care about you and I am happy to be crossing your path.” For some reason this smile works best on the people who often don’t get noticed – the taxi drivers, the hotel wait staff, the maid cleaning the hotel rooms, the homeless guy sitting outside Starbucks, the old guy sitting on a bench inside Walmart, and even people sitting on airplanes who are working so hard not to make eye contact. I’ll take that eye contact and I’ll raise you ten. Like I said, I don’t know what my smile did for them – and probably never will. But I will smile anyway. It doesn’t cost me a thing, and yet gives back in ways you can’t measure. In case you can’t tell – I’m smiling now.

  2. P.S. Speaking of Disney, I dug up this old blog post I wrote after our trip to Disney. It’s a hoot. Read it if you need a laugh.

  3. Kelly, your post on Disneyland is a hoot! I’m still howling at the Geraldo airport comment. I so agree about the power of a smile, and not just because I’m a motivational speaker who teaches the same. My Dad genuinely smiles at everyone, and I do mean everyone – butchers, bakers and the candlestick makers. As a child I would watch someone light up through the power of his pearlies and made it a point to be just like him. Well, aside from the obsessive watching of any and all sports and his love of liver.

  4. Loved your post Colette – it’s so true how a smile can make a difference. I love my husband Yves smile. The one where he is so full of joy and his grin is SO big, his eyes have to squint shut to accommodate he face expanding lips! My goal in life (and as a motivational speaker I have goals in lots of areas of my life) is to spread joy in a way to get my husband to smile like that at least once a day. And, when that happens – I can’t help by smile too! :)

  5. Yes, me too! As a motivational speaker I have smile stories GALORE, but I have to say, Colette – this is GREAT! And what’s so cool is how when we smile genuninely and happily at someone – the ODDS are in our favor, that they will smile back at us. And we know that when we put a smile on our face (whether it’s intentional or even FAKE for that matter) it sends a signal to our brains that we are actually feeling GOOD! Then our brain starts responding with the appropriate happy chemicals! So we are actually helping people FEEL good by smiling at them and “suggesting” to them to smile back! Yay! Love that system!

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