Just smile and pass this card on”, says the colourful business card handed to me by Nerea Carrión Sanchis, a smiling young woman as I walk into a coffee shop near Liverpool Street station.
Nerea Carrión Sanchis was born in the industrial port city of Valencia, Spain in 1986. She and her brother were raised by their mother, often under dire financial constraints. Her mother instilled her with a strong moral ethic and pride, coupled with the desire not only to survive, but also to thrive and overcome adversity. Travelling through India, South America and Europe widened her experience of life and social horizons, making an impact on her need to understand the human condition and the limitations so many people place on themselves, more fully.
In her early life she presented a shy, insecure figure of a girl, a far cry from the woman I am sitting with now. Nerea has already enjoyed a successful career as a model, actor, presenter, counsellor in neuro-linguistic programming and founder of the “Smiles For The World” initiative, and an endless list of impossibly positive projects. I wanted to know what motivates her to work on the numerous humanistic projects she has spearheaded. “People are my passion,” she says. “Every person is a new and interesting world and to learn from this is beautiful.” Here she offers me an insight into her own personal history. This background has spurred her to work with others to understand what prevents them from living their life fully and to remedy this with practical solutions.
The “Just Smile” card, which she hands out to unwary commuters, deep in their own cognitive process, as she travels the London public transport system is just one project spearheaded by the enigmatic Nerea Sanchis, who wants to bring her own brand of happiness and positivity to the world. “What better place to start than the London underground?” she says. “It’s easy to sink into the grind and daily toil of commuting in a large city, travelling endlessly to unfulfilling jobs, in bad or no relationships and all that living in a metropolis entails”.
The project is supported by a catchy song (first recorded to encourage her colleagues in the financial sector to embrace her positive ethos at work), which the multitalented Sanchis sings, accompanied by a montage of images from her modelling career. The project is also illustrated with a professional animation extolling the virtues of finding happiness in the mundane daily commute at 7am on London’s transport circuit, whilst the website www.smilesfortheworld.com encourages you to order for free your own “Just Smile” cards to pass the message of happiness on and is packed with facts about endorphins and the health benefits of smiling, attractiveness and much more besides. You begin to see that Nerea Sanchis doesn’t do things by halves.
Speaking in softly lilted Spanish tones, she cites this early childhood experience and the strength and courage of her mother, as motivating factors. She tells me that this was a fundamental experience, indelibly shaping the way she thinks now and a major factor on her psyche today. The effort she has put into being positive, the decision to have a happy life, these are things she wants to let other people know they can have, if only they make that small decision to have them, to give themselves permission to be happy.
Nerea’s passion is ultimately the people she works with, the endless possibilities available to those willing to cross that threshold and the ability to show ways to set them free from social constraint and limitation, to get to the route cause of what is stopping an individual from crossing their own comfort zone and learning about their own limitless possibilities.
After finishing her last year of economics study at university in Gdansk, she pursued her life long dream and moved to London in 2009, taking an internship as an accountant at the estate agency Humphrey & Co Estates. This led to working in the financial sector, where Nerea first began to see the effects of work-based stress symptoms. With boundless energy, she took it upon herself to look at ways to make the workplace for both employee and client a more fulfilling environment, making it her aim to bring her own brand of fulfilment.
Taking a position at Tullett Prebon, it was here she put into practice the skills that she had previously gained in Spain as an events host, and capitalised on her social skills and positive attitude, by entertaining clients, organising events-led experiences and enriching the total customer experience.
The road to this point was not an easy one and necessarily required that she remained busy and gainfully employed to survive, drawing on her life skills from her childhood in Valencia.
In 2012, Nerea was offered the opportunity to join the ranks of the London fashion modelling elite, accepting assignments for London Fashion Week, including a campaign for “Roncatto Luggage Campaign”. She tells me, the modelling work presented one of her greatest obstacles to overcome. The confidence required to “sell” herself as a “product”, was one of the most difficult challenges she had to face and possibly a hurdle where many models fall. But with a strong survival ethic and positive attitude, primal instinct kicked in and she successfully turned obstacles into opportunities. She continues her modelling career now with resounding success.
Creator of the “The Happy World Company”, Nerea’s aim is to create an infectious chain of positivity, helping others find their passions and values. And to make realistic personalised plans to ensure they reach their own goals of success and happiness, through motivational workshops on a whole range of topics. The driving point is to take control of your life and make it a happy, positive and fruitful one, a life where you make the decisions.
Not one to be typecast, Nerea thrives on new challenges. While others advise her to concentrate on one single project or topic, Nerea shuns this in favour of multiple projects, encouraging others to engage in her own infectious brand of positivity and unlimited possibilities which she asserts we all have. Following her many years experience of working with and coaching her colleagues, right from her days in the financial sector, she has recently graduated as a certified counsellor in neuro-linguistic programming. This is a branch of psychology which helps manage thoughts, behaviours and ultimately the outcome of our actions. It is this very quality that emanates from her very presence, making the hurly-burly of a city coffee shop an altogether serene place to be.
So remember, a frown is a smile turned upside down. Smiling is proven to be good for your health. Do something beautifully reckless and positive that will make your and someone else’s day all that more enjoyable…just smile at them