game faceMy friend Ceil wrote a post not too long ago about dealing with people that had their “game faces on”. Ceil had a great point, “No one likes to deal with people who are cold and care nothing about who they’re dealing with and are only trying to get through the day or trying to accomplish a specific task.

Ceil’s post hit close to home… actually a direct hit. I pondered my game face and how often I sport it. The game face came to me in the same way it come to most folks; it starts as a kid focusing and concentrating to succeed at our endeavors.

The business world took my game face to a whole new level of stone. I didn’t realize as a kid I was the “new” generation of management. I couldn’t begin to fathom at the time that my ambition and drive painted me into the role of a hatchet man in a world where a game face wasn’t a facade, it was ready for the worst. It was real life… dealing with real lives, and some men struggling to make ends meet would get downright emotional.

In that mans’ world, emotions didn’t bring tears, they brought anger, threats, and occasionally a fist fight.

There’s no way I could begin to recall all the people I’ve hired and fired or laid off over the years. A few colorful characters do stand  out. If someone cheated on their time cards or had no pride of workmanship, my game face was stone as the ax fell.

When times were slow and the man or crew of men didn’t deserve to be let go, just forced to by economics, my heart broke… I still sported the game face but was honest with them.

I remember the look in the green eyes of the man I was made to let go that not too long before had been my boss. He was a giant of a man and I’d mocked him in jest when he was my boss… I was shocked he didn’t crush me as I gave him the bad news with my game face on.

He just nodded, said he’d be happy to take the truck back to the yard and asked about his and his men’s checks. I pulled the stack of yellow colored checks from my back pocket. He nodded again as I handed them to him.

That’s been a lifetime of game faces ago… Even now occasionally when a manager that I haven’t even hired is deemed to be dangerous, a loose cannon and physical risk, I’ll wear the calloused game face and do the honors, just in case.

I suppose I could be considered a hypocrite in some ways. I do business with many people who don’t know the writer side of my life, not that I go out of my way to hide it, it just doesn’t come up when I’ve got my game face on…

It occurs to me I need to bring those two worlds closer together and let my game face fade into compassion though I recognize the world, in general, tends to mistake kindness for weakness.

How transparent is your life?

Do you have a game face?