Good fit in our work, relationships, and, yes, shoes – brings energy and joy into our lives!
I recently bought a new pair of shoes. They were very snug, the salesman assured me they would stretch because of the material. I was a little skeptical, but I bought them anyway. This made me think about how shoes also provide some fun clues to assess good “fit” in work and relationships. Even stellar communication and conflict skills won’t make a bad fit feel good.
Here are a few questions about shoes that also apply to fit in relationships and work:
1. Is there the ability to adapt and/or stretch? if there isn’t the flexibility to adapt and/or stretch – who ends up hurting?
2. Can you breathe? Being able to process heat is critical for your long-term health and comfort. Can you breathe where you are?
3. Are they for just a season or a reason? Whatever the choice be aware that the expectations on both sides are clear and in agreement. This is often obvious with shoes; sometimes hidden with relationships.
4. Are they are too big? If so, is there support and acceptance while you grow into them?
5. Are you trying to fit into something impossible? Trying to shapeshift and squeeze into a bad fit never works. You may end up changing who you are and resenting it. Ever see a foot that has been deformed by the long-term wearing of small shoes?
6. Does the initial fit feel too good to be true? That’s great, but even with a great fit, there could still be a few blisters because it is a change. Expecting totally smooth transitions may be unrealistic.
7. Do you look good but feel bad? At the end of the day, if you are miserable change it up! Life is too short. As a woman, I’ve worn beautiful high heel shoes, then paid the price with leg cramps and blisters!
There is a saying “as comfortable as an old pair of shoes”, I hope you know how great that is! But old shoes don’t last forever and don’t fit the diversity of a full life! Being willing to try a new shoe or adapt to new relationships/work keeps us on our toes!
People and organizations change; continuous evaluation of fit is a good idea.
This leads me to a crucial question: how do you know when it is time to throw out the shoes, or quit the relationship/work?
Have you taken a good look at yourself? People tend to have patterns of behavior, if you’ve not done some introspection about your part of a ‘rub’ you will likely recreate it wherever you go. I like the saying, "You take yourself with you wherever you go."
Is there a fundamental difference in values? If you are vegan, working in the leather shoe industry may be futile. If you are working in an environment or in a relationship that doesn’t value and model respectful communication and development – that could also be a values difference that does not support your growth or your dreams.
Do the benefits outweigh your discomfort? Your situation may not be ideal, but what are the benefits? If this is the final destination, are you fulfilled? Are the benefits perfect for this part of your life? There are many shoes.
Finally, Is the relationship or work taking you where you want to go? Shoes are made for walking…and that is just what they’ll do. One of these days these shoes could walk all over you! But, not if you pay attention, adjust and change!
Karen Valencic is founder and president of Spiral Impact.