‘Whenever you’re near, I hide my tears, behind a painted smile’
The opening lines from The Isley Brothers 1969 Tamla Motown song, Behind a Painted smile, echo the sentiments of many I imagine. Some people wear a painted smile to hide their own emotions and feelings; for the sake of either being ‘decent’ or not wanting to give the ‘game’ away.
Others may make a point of never wearing a painted or plastic smile; or at least they do not admit to it. What you see is what you get. But reality is, we do not always know for sure what emotions run beneath.
We don’t not know for sure what it is exactly that other people are thinking. Look around you now if you are in the office or commuting somewhere; you and even those close by, do not know what each other is thinking. What lies beneath?
On the surface, things look fine; cosmetically we are in control, perhaps except for raw and real outbreaks of emotions. We remain self-resilient where we can and hide behind our exterior, outward facing self. We see, but we don’t always want others to see.
Our continuity of our own self being, either work or privately, is of utmost important to us and those who depend on us. Of course, this can be an enormous burden that sadly, proves just too unbearable for some to cope with. We see it every day; we may have even experienced it close at hand.
One of my former colleagues sadly and tragically, took their own life (I have experienced this on several occasions over my career) and at their funeral, they played the Macy Gray song, The Letter.
A beautifully written piece which kind of echoes the thoughts of people who feel as though they just belong somewhere else. No more need for painted smiles. But their memories always stay with us as good ones and we live on, with unanswered questions of what if and why? But we hopefully learn to adapt and carry on. We learn to be resilient. We are.
Resilience, both personal or private, isn’t that complicated; the only things that complicate it, are the processes that can, in themselves, seem complex. Often, they are communicated in a complex context or just not identified in a formal way. We do it but we don’t know why or how it relates to formalised resilience.
Things can be ‘fixed’ cosmetically of course, the outer layers and, in turn, like cosmetic surgery, can make the individual feel better. More resilient. More ‘acceptable’ in the complicated. complex world.
Cosmetic Continuity sounds a bit like a product; a service or a cheap way of achieving a desired effect. But is not meant to be as such. Neither am I trying to explain that some forms of resilience only scratch the service; the reality is however, that can be the case.
Some may argue or try to convince a business for example, that they need far more detail in their ‘cosmetic surgery’ to fix their ongoing resilience look.
But some of that, could well be just complete and utter bollocks!
If someone needed their nose improving with a bit of cosmetic surgery, simply because their nose was causing the problem, they wouldn’t agree to having additional tummy tuck procedures and a butt lift because that is what the surgeon tells them to have. You go for what you want, what you need and of course, what you can afford.
The key is what you want the effect to be; the look, the confidence, the self-resilience, the impact for you and perhaps others too. It is of course essential that the communication and understanding is a clear and as simple as can be. Cosmetically, these days, we can improve the way we both look and feel. It is accessible to more.
In respect of continuity, there are a magnitude of ‘surgeons’ who can offer to improve the look and feel effect; different pricing scales and aftersales care. Glossy waiting rooms, magazines and fancy frothy coffee whilst you wait. You pay for what you get in some cases.
But you can also pay through the ‘nose’ (see what I did there..#lol) for something you didn’t actually need in the first place. You were beautiful to start with in your own unique way, but just needed someone to tell you straight and perhaps, help you by coaching your resilience side to be more strong and confident.
People ‘think’ they need to have some cosmetic continuity out of fear of being left behind; left wanting. And when they have the ‘surgery’, it can be a brilliantly life changing moment of confidence and capability, or it can be an expensive anti-climax.
People hide behind the painted smile for fear of not being ‘right’ instead of looking closely at the here and now and doing something positive about it. It should always be your call, based on what you want and need for your own resilience. Your own continuity.
Don’t dress it up or take a knife to it if you are just driven by the fear of not having it. Your resilience, either for work or in private, is because it is what you need to continue going forward.
Cosmetic is a word; continuity is a doing. Continuity is you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – An international business resilience leader, Paul Kudray is a Fellow of the EPC and a Fellow of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management (FICPEM). He is a Lead Auditor for ISO 22301. In 2014 he founded his own consultancy and he is an excellent forward thinking resilience innovator and blogger. firstname.lastname@example.org.