I agreed to meet friends last night for a quick “Hello, What’s Up?”. I walked up the street and paused on the corner to make sure the approaching driver was aware I was about to cross. A women stepped alongside of me. “Great shoes!” she said as she pointed to my feet. I looked down to remind myself which pair I had selected and smiled. I was wearing my favorite bright red, patent leather, strappy shoes. I responded, “Thanks. Nordstrom.” My comments were short and to the point, after all I was about to cross the street, and I knew she didn’t saddle up to me to chat about the 2016 Presidential Election. She just wanted to know where she could get the same shoes. She actually took a photo of them and I suspect by now she has a pair of her own.
When I arrived at the restaurant, my favorite waitress greeted me whispering, “I want those shoes!” I hugged her and then hugged my two friends already settled in a booth with a glass of wine. “Love your shoes, Mary Ann!” they said almost in unison. Again, I noted “Nordstrom”. I could see they both made a mental note of it and now there would be at least four pair of these same shoes in town.
I like it when others notice my shoes, new hair style, or dress. We all like compliments. But I remember well when compliments on what I was wearing were meaningless to me. When I was studying for my doctoral degree, I spent two weeks every summer in Atlanta with my cohort working on our research projects. I worked hard. I received too many compliments from both the students and my professors about the dress I was wearing or the shoes that “brought the whole look together.” Here I was at 62 years old struggling to get through this difficult program, especially learning how to conduct research. I would have welcomed recognition of my contributions in class, my writing capability, or how well I facilitated a team project. The compliments about my wardrobe fell way short of what was important to me. Finally one professor used my written work as an example of good academic writing, and that one compliment gave me the incentive to continue the academic challenge ahead of me.
If I could choose the compliments coming my way today. they would not be about my appearance. It isn’t how we look that defines us as women with high SUCCESSTROGEN. It is about what we do , how we make the world a little better. I like the wise words from one of the greatest athletes of our time,
“It’s not about the shoes, it’s what you do in them”. (Michael Jordan)
Shoes….in their simplest form, they are a nice alternative to the hazards of walking in bare feet. But the impact you have on the world is a direct result of your decision to help others everyday in those shoes.
What do you do to serve and help others? How do you make others feel? Why is the world a better place with you in it?
Gotta go, I’ve got a meeting to attend. I will probably notice what the other women are wearing, and surely check out their shoes, but if I offer a compliment, I am going to focus on their behavior, what they do. This is perhaps another way I can make a difference. Care to join me?