Shoes (or Fearlessness)

I met someone new, just for a few moments, on Tuesday.

Him: “Wouldn’t it be better if our teams walked over to talk to each other now and again !?”

Me: “You and I are going to get on!”

I don’t properly beam very often.

We met at greater length on Thursday.

We speed talked, finished each others sentences and laughed a lot. We disagreed on a few things, but agreed on many more. We despaired of the pettiness we encounter in corporate life, and of how cowardice + spurious technology + the misuse of hierarchy = unnecessary conflict.

He pointed out how much more difficult it is to dislike someone that you’ve actually met. The meeting paused while I wrote that down.

Getting better and better at what we do is a whole lot easier when we face facts, connect and collaborate. I’ve offered a pair of shoes to whoever in my team gets out there and does this most persistently and fearlessly (not the same as recklessly), doubtless making some new friends along the way.


19 thoughts on “Shoes (or Fearlessness)

    • Julie,

      Somewhat late in life I have realised the power of footwear 🙂

      Drop me a line next time you are in London and perhaps have time for some of the Twitter brigade, from whom I have learned so much in the last couple of years.

      And thanks also for this and other encouragement on my random scribblings. This one was one of many highlights from a brutal but hugely enjoyable trip to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur this week.



  1. So I began to read your latest blog post and, momentarily at least, forgot I was on WordPress and thought I was reading the opening paragraphs of the latest Bridget Jones novel. You could easily turn this into one if you had the mind to. Just throw in a few “he tossed his hair in a nonchalant yet provocative manner, and chewed his pen like an old roll-up” – that kind of thing. I know it would be a departure for both characters to be male but, unless you’re French, that would just be detail.

    But, back to the point in hand. Walking and talking: two skills which we learn very early on in life and hopefully hone and fine tune as we get older, only to be then told that we’re supposed to spend as much time as possible sitting down (at our desks) and given tools to prevent us from talking to each other that are “cool” or “social media 2.0” or suchlike (IM, Jive, Facebook). So I get your point. And, in the most part, I agree.

    But I don’t agree that it’s harder to hate someone you’ve met. In fact I’m not entirely sure what meeting them has to do with anything, unless you happen to like their jumper or the smell of their ears. In some respects, meeting someone gives you more ammo for hating them IMHO. I find this especially true if they chew with their mouth open.

    I do like the suggestion of chocolate shoes though. I can live with needing to only wear them on extremely clean floors, and outdoors where the ambient temperature is way below the melting point of chocolate, and to have to wear thermally insulated socks so your feet don’t melt them. I can imagine myself sitting on a park bench moulding them into different shoe types to suit what I was wearing that day (office shoes, trainers, clogs etc).

    So, all in all, a good post. Keep it up. I’m sure we’ll continue this in a more conventional talky way tomorrow. I may even walk there.

    • Wednesday 30th May

      Four skinny lattes, 16 meetings, 487 emails received, 233 read, 12 of any relevance to anything and a can of Tanglefoot on the train

      Hilarious as ever.

      We should patent a chocolate 3D printer, all the rage among the co creation tribe, to enable us to fashion whatever we like, watches, fire guards and teapots etc. from chocolate. Albeit primarily for display purposes only, in air conditioned environments.

      I too dislike some people when I meet them. I think many find it easy to demonise others from a distance, especially before we’ve walked a mile in their shoes, chocolate or otherwise.

      See you tomorrow. I predict fewer lattes, more beer and very little chocolate.

  2. I must learn not to read too quickly. Upon first glance I omitted to read the word “some” and concluded that you hate everyone you meet. I once knew someone like that. He worked in finance. He’s the only person I’ve ever met whose mouth turned down at the corners even when he was smiling. I used to think perhaps his head was on upside down and that he was, in fact, the happiest man in the world. But that would also mean he would be breathing through his eyes and looking out of his nose which would be a bit odd.

    He wasn’t in Bridget Jones either.

  3. I’m somewhat concerned that I have deviated from your sensible message on connection and collaboration, all of which I fully endorse. Now my mind is racing with the Bridget Jones scenarios and I offer myself as a collaborative partner in drafting Bridget, Moving On, complete with the chocolate shoe fetish. I’m clearly not fully occupied….

    • Someone emailed me last week to point out that the comment streams on this blog are routinely considerably better than the main posts. Despite the pain of being damned by such faint praise, I tend to agree. This set has made me laugh a few times. I do insist we enjoy it, so I can’t complain.

      Feel free to add a Bridget In Umbria chapter.

      Meanwhile I have continued to enjoy your blog, reading your latest on Orvieto in a cab on the way to see Alan Bennet’s Unfinished Stories tonight.

      Anyway, I am now immersed in another self indulgent Lanier polemic on the perils of our super connected world. Some levity in advance of a glass half empty post seems entirely reasonable 🙂

  4. So what happened to the shoe award then? Here I am, debating whether or not I should splash out on a new pair (having indulged myself with only 2 new pairs last week), not knowing whether or not I remain n contention for the shoe award….life is sometimes a series of disappointments. Can I opt for Jimmy Chews – the edible alternative – if I win?

    • That’s a good question, there are several candidates. It is a wonderfully difficult choice.

      The point of it is to empower fearless, joyful collaboration so as to get better at what we do. It didn’t occur to me how much I would enjoy watching those who rise to the challenge.

      In general, it is always the right time to buy shoes. Fill your boots 🙂

      You can most certainly have a pair of chocolate Jimmy Chews for services to educational blogging !



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