“Geez that was another great speech. I love all of your speeches. But this one was different – your eyes were completely wide open. They were lit up, they were smiling. That was by far your best speech,” said Gordon, a member at my local Toastmasters Club.

I did not think it was my best speech, far from it. And this was not the first time I heard the “eyes wide open” comment either. About four years ago, I met with an executive coach to see if we were a working match. At the end of the meeting, she told me she had met with two different people – the person with the boring and stifling job and the person with the passion about all the opportunities and prospects for the future. “Your eyes said it all.”

Is it really that obvious? Do my eyes give it away?

I’ve been in a bad funk lately, nothing obvious or dramatic, just simmering. It has been with me for some time, feeling a bit confused, unsettled, some people would describe it as being “out of sorts”. Nothing has really changed to make me feel this way.

Has that shown when I meet with people? Can they tell the passion does not match the words? Am I coming across as indifferent, boring, soulless? Has that been perpetuating my funk? Have my eyes given it away?

Now I understand that for all of us, some things will carry more passion than others. Ask any of us to talk about our kids, partner, favourite hobby, places to visits, you name it, we are more than likely to light up. Ask us about our job, daily commute, conniving colleagues and/or property prices, our eyes may just shut down a little bit. It’s expected.

But can we look deeper into these challenges, try to find some balance with them and feel a little bit less uncomfortable? I think so.

And if so, can we talk abut these challenges with our eyes wide open? Yes. Not with a superficial technique to “smile while you speak” (although you should try that too), but with the knowledge that you are at peace with these challenges.

Give it a try. And next time we catch up, please call me out if my eyes are not wide open!

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Image – Le Faux Miroir, Rene Magritte, 1929