Have you ever noticed how the people you pass every day always seem to be locked in their own world? Frazzled? Fried? Just generally pissed off? Every day you pass all kinds of people doing their normal things: walking their dogs or walking their kids, jogging, on their way to work, texting, serving you in a shop, trimming the trees along the sidewalk… Just doing whatever they’re doing.
These are the often “unseen” people in your life that are working in the background: the shuttle bus driver, the barista making your coffee, the security guard who waves you into your organization’s parking lot, and everyone else you come in contact with briefly throughout your day.Here’s a great way you can “play” with these people — Smile Sniping.
What is Smile Sniping? It’s when you look an unsuspecting, often frazzled, human being straight in the eye and SMILE. . . directly into them.
I’ve been a Smile Sniper for a while now and the reaction I get from the other person is amazing. I get to watch another human completely transform in a split second before my very eyes. They just absolutely light up! It’s as if their feet touch the ground again, and they come alive. They seem almost surprised that somebody “saw” them.
Notice I said, “Smile INTO them” as opposed to “Smile AT them.” There’s a difference. When you smile AT someone, you just sort of throw a smile in their general direction. Or give a fake-y smile like the type you used to paste on in school pictures. That smile is just your lips – and pretty much starts at your chin. When you smile AT someone, you’re usually smiling at their ear or their buttons or their nose. (Check it out for yourself next time you smile AT someone.)
But the smile you give in a Smile Snipe… When you smile INTO someone…That is a smile starts from your belly button – all the way down deep in your gut – and it bubbles up through your eyes into the eyes of the person you’re sniping and creates a moment of surprise connection.
No, they don’t think you’re creepy, and here’s why: The message, purpose, energy behind THIS smile is:
“Hello Fellow Human Being! I’m honored to share the planet with you.”
This is another person, soul, human being who is walking the planet at the same time you are. And we each have our own junk but in that split second, we can connect on the same plane by letting that smile come from you – starting in your belly button – to connect with them on a soul-to-soul level.
Smile Sniping one of the “unseen” people in your life is a great way to have a little fun, spread a little (good) mischief, and change somebody’s day!. . . Including yours!
The most powerful experience I had with this was one day when I was walking to the post office and had taken a wrong turn. This was one of those neighborhoods where if you’re on THIS street you’re okay and if you’re one street over it’s a sketchy neighborhood. And here I am, a single female, walking alone – it’s that situation that everyone always tells you to be careful not to be in.
As I was walking there was a man coming toward me who was looking a little shabby and a little dirty and a little disheveled. He looked like he’d probably spent the night on the street. And all those warnings I’d been hearing from childhood started to play in my head: Don’t be in a neighborhood like this. Don’t be a woman walking alone. And if you do find yourself in that situation: be extra vigilant and aware because THIS is how bad things happen.
In this particular case I couldn’t cross the street or avoid him so I decided to Smile Snipe him.
I looked him in the eye, felt that moment of soul-to-soul connection, and smiled.
I could NOT believe the immediate transformation that happened right before my eyes. This man, that a split second before I had only seen as dirty, disheveled, and probably homeless, was suddenly absolutely beautiful. We connected on a soul-level. The smile he returned to me was as warm and as human and as beautiful as I could ever expect. And I was completely blown away.
Now, I’m on a mission to train a brigade of Smile Snipers!
Smile Sniping For Newbies:
1. You have to catch people being – just doing their normal thing. You don’t interrupt them, don’t speak to them to get their attention… that would be cheating.
2. Look for their eyes. Wait patiently, quietly, trying to look the other person in the eye. They’ll feel it and they will, in fact, look at you. When their eyes meet yours, look them IN the eyes. (For you new folks you might find this part a little challenging.)
3. Connect with what matters most to you, tap into it, and let the smile bubble up from your gut.
4. Smile INTO them. Connect to the human BEING behind all the busy and the work and the labor. If you’re close enough NOW you can exchange words: good morning, hello, etc. that’s always nice. Or wave (if in a car)
Because this type of smile is contagious and spreads easily, you get that additional energy and juice flowing back to you. So there is a certain “selfish element” to Smile Sniping! So what!?! Use that! If I’m feeling down or grumpy or off, having a day when everything isn’t sunshine and roses, THAT’S the day I smile snipe somebody specifically so I can instantly start to feel better.
A quick story about the impact of smiling INTO somebody:
My partner’s mother is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s. The last time we went to visit her, she didn’t recognize him. Even though we knew this moment was coming, it still deeply bothered him that his own mother didn’t recognize him.Toward the end of our visit, he crouched down and made eye contact with his mother; connecting with her as a human being – eye-to-eye, truly looking into her soul. When he smiled at her and called her Mom, in that split second you could see the flash of knowing him and of connection. It was the last bridge to the human soul.
Since then, I’ve started to use this type of conscious smiling in my professional life and teaching others to do the same.
Imagine the power of sharing a soul-to-soul smile and connecting with another person when you’re interviewing for a job! This is a moment where allowing the other person to authentically see you and to truly connect with them can help them see who you really are as a person and potential member of their team.They will resonate with it…and you.