Saturday, August 19, 2006

Curious about Faces and Facing: How Do You Handle Both?

A face is like the outside of a house, and most faces, like most houses, give us an idea of what we can expect to find inside.” - Loretta Young

The thing is, at the end of the day you still have to face yourself.” - Dave Pelzer

When I started planning this blog, I was completely focused on the noun “face” and intended to cover the topic from Loretta Young’s standpoint. Then, as I hunted down interesting quotations, I realized the wider scope when we also consider “face” as a verb. So, here goes!

First of all here is my take on the noun. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if we are thinking of our businesses/careers or our lives in general. The “face” we show to the world creates a huge impact. It can show professionalism, friendliness, interest and openness - to name a few.

The expression our face itself is wearing does “give us an idea of what we can expect to find inside.” Have you ever given a great big smile to a total stranger - who is looking sad and grumpy - and had the reward of seeing him or her light up and smile back? How about at a networking event? If we look open and friendly (to look that way, you must feel that way), other attendees will be attracted and drawn to us. And, isn’t that what networking is all about?

Another way to think about the noun “face” is to realize that the face of our business/career is formed by everything we do and use to market ourselves. If you send out a letter, brochure, newsletter, postcard and/or e-mail, do you check it for typos and grammar? What about appearance?

What kind of face, besides a professionally taken photograph, introduces you on the Internet? Does your website exude the face of someone a visitor wants to know, like and trust?

Some enlightening quotations concerning the noun face:
  • Eisenhower had about the most expressive face I ever painted, I guess. Just like an actor's. Very mobile. When he talked, he used all the facial muscles. And he had a great, wide mouth that I liked. When he smiled, it was just like the sun came out.” - Norman Rockwell
  • At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.” - George Orwell
  • Alas, after a certain age every man is responsible for his face.” - Albert Camus
  • A man's face as a rule says more, and more interesting things, than his mouth, for it is a compendium of everything his mouth will ever say, in that it is the monogram of all this man's thoughts and aspirations.” - Arthur Schopenhauer

Ah! But what about the verb “face”? As I searched for quotations, I found many that dealt with the strengths and wisdom that we gain by facing the travails of life and business. And, of course, there is the descriptive phrase, “falling flat on one’s face.” I have experienced it. What about you? In my first business venture, I made every business mistake possible and did fall flat on my face.

Here are some of the interesting and revealing quotations concerning the verb face:

  • We all have to face pain, and pain makes us grow.” - James Taylor
  • All endeavor calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan, endure the last hours toil. The fight to the finish spirit is the one... characteristic we must posses if we are to face the future as finishers.” - Henry David Thoreau
  • We need diversity of thought in the world to face the new challenges.” - Tim Berners Lee
  • Facing it, always facing it, that's the way to get through. Face it.” - Joseph Conrad
  • When I was younger I used to pick things just to face the fear.” - Vincent D'Onofrio

Therefore, I ask you again. First, what face are you showing the world? Is it the true you? Are you proud of it? Second, how well are you facing the ups and downs of your life and careers? Are you accepting them while learning from the experiences. We all have ups and downs. It’s how we face them that is important.

A couple of quotations to tide you over until next week:

What is a face, really? Its own photo? Its make-up? Or is it a face as painted by such or such painter? That which is in front? Inside? Behind? And the rest? Doesn't everyone look at himself in his own particular way? Deformations simply do not exist.” - Pablo Picasso

As I said there is nothing wrong with failing. Pick yourself up and try it again. You never are going to know how good you really are until you go out and face failure.” - Henry Kravis