Sensible Shoes


In the mood to write after a hiatus, I gave my brain the task to answer “what shall I write about?”. It’s often a title or theme that gets me going. I cannot yet explain why Sensible Shoes popped into my head so quickly and clearly. Perhaps it will become obvious to me as I continue writing.

One quick Google search later, I’m somewhat surprised to discover that “sensible shoes” is not a common expression, beyond talking about one’s shoes. Being no more a shoe guy than a car guy, I struggle to think of why I feel like I’ve come across those two words frequently enough to consider them an expression. In any case, our mind works wonders and I think mine is simply finding new ways to paraphrase and emphasize the message I most need to hear right now.

If sensible shoes are about practicality and comfort, then they are indeed my kind of shoe. Though I have a knack for occasionally making things more complicated than strictly necessary, my preference definitely lies in the pragmatic and simple. The purge and downsizing described in A Minor Thing are examples of it. On the professional front, however, my efforts to find my new comfort zone continue to stretch and conflict me.

I’m currently mostly a training facilitator. There are many formats in which to exercise this work.  Some are more akin to being a professional speaker (short-ish presentations to large groups) while at the other end it’s practically one-on-one coaching. I’ve dabbled in a large chunk of that range and I’ve identified some settings that just don’t suit me. I’ve also pinned down some passion points and core skills that fit me quite nicely. Yet it all still feels too scattered to me. It’s as though I’ve uncovered amazing ingredients from various recipes and I can’t see how to turn them into one fine dish.

For all I know, this wonder-dish is staring me in the face and I’m blind to it. Whether it is or not, I am wayyyy over-thinking how to choose my road forward. The options and permutations are too many. The pros and cons lists are in different languages and I lack the conversion tools to get them on the same plane.  This leads someone like me away from decision-making… or to decisions that hold for anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. It is with that in mind that on New Year’s Eve, I declared “Act” as my word for 2017. I felt mildly satisfied with that, knowing that I’ve tried that mindset before and it wasn’t quite enough. But it’s a start!

A few days ago, I was browsing an article shared by a friend. One of its recommendations was “make a decision”. Since this was aligned with my theme, I gave that section a closer read and discovered the suggestion that “good enough” is often “good enough”. The critical part of me (it’s a rather large part) first thought: “well, that’s definitely not going to work for everyone”. This was followed by the realization that it typically works for me! Yet I am not applying “good enough” to many aspects of my work choices, resulting in some unwanted stress.

In fact, re-reading this last paragraph, I see that exact inner conflict illustrated. My belief is that there’s nothing that works for everyone. I’m quite comfortable with this belief, but not what it leads to. My sense is that many people do believe, or at least act like they do, that there are “correct answers or ways”. This clash between dogmatic certainty and the willingness to look at people and the world as too complex to have binary solutions causes me much grief. My brain understands that nothing will work for everyone, but somehow refuses to allow this insight to give me a break when it comes to designing and delivering my work. I find myself trying to find the right or perfect model, practice exercise, solution or word… instead of looking for ones that will mostly do some good to a fair chunk of people.

All of a sudden, one of these approaches strikes me as particularly sensible!

“The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.”   –    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe