Richard Maun – Shoes Off!

better business blog

Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation


Shoes Off!

31 January 2016

So here’s a puzzle. You’re on the beach with a client, going for a coaching walk. You’ve walked for two hours and although the sea is officially out, the tide has started to turn and now on the broad expanse of beach you have a small river in front of you. It’s almost deep enough to wade through…

Do you:

A) Take big strides and ignore the depth? You will get soaked shoes doing this.

B) Walk back along the beach away from your direction of travel, in order to see if there is a low crossing point? You might get caught by the rising tide if you do this.

What would you do in a moment of haste?

I was all for option A and then my client had a bright idea. Let’s take off our shoes, she suggested, and we could wade through and keep them dry.

It was a cold day. We were wrapped up against the chill, so the thought of unwrapping my feet and subjecting them to cold water did seem a little harsh.

However, ‘shoes off’ was the best option and we waded the through the water and then carried on barefoot. In doing so I learned three things:

1) It’s not as cold as you think going barefoot. As long as you can put up with the sidelong stares from booted dog walkers, it’s really rather pleasant.

2) No shoes created an opportunity. We sauntered back towards the car park through soft sand and then, spotting a seal bobbing playfully in the central channel, turned left and squidged through sticky mud. As we lacked shoes we discovered an immense off-road ability and were able to get closer to the seal than all the boot wearers, who liked to keep their wellies spotless.

(Walking barefoot is a great ‘Natural Child’ activity that puts us in touch with our daring and fun focussed inner six year old. We can spend too much time being a grown up and not enough time with muddy toes, enjoying ourselves and giggling at the impromptu adventure of it all).

This is a real story (all my stories are real) and my feet were really very muddy, but luckily I come equipped with standard-issue washable skin, so it was no bother to clean up and shoe up ready for the drive home.

3) Two options can be very limiting. Faced with a river, we created a third option and avoided the binary disaster that traps so many people when faced with a decision under pressure. We enjoyed our new found toe-freedom so much we kept on with the fun to see where it would take us.

Sometimes in life we have to go barefoot and feel the sand. Otherwise we are just a tourist passing through. We need to fully experience our environment and take time to enjoy what is around us.

So it is with business. Take time this week to sit back and notice your environment. Savour it. Kick off your shoes, wiggle your toes and make your ‘third option’ something fun! Go on, your inner child wants you to!

Next week: Radio Love


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© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact