Do you remember your first pair of really cool shoes? I have owned a number of pairs of really “cool” shoes.
I can remember getting a pair of “Earth shoes”. A bit funky but they were the “in” shoe. There was also the time I finally got a pair of cowboy boots. For a city kid these were unusual yet when I visited the farm (which was not often) I felt like I was totally from the country.
Have you ever had, or do you now have, a pair of Chuck Taylors? Yup, those awesome high-tops with the big star on the ankle. Back in the day they were THE SHOE. In the 60’s they were worn by about 90% of all college and pro basketball players. When I got mine in the ’70s they were the BEST!
I was in 6th grade and, according to mom, only supposed to wear them for gym class and basketball. This lasted for about two days. After that, I would take them to school in my gym bag and then change shoes on the way to school. I was stylin’. At least I thought so.
Flash forward to the late ’80s. I was a bit older and had decided to go back to college (having only completed one year previously). I had signed up for basketball intramurals and had another pair of Chuck Taylors. Technology had advanced a bit in shoe wear since the ’70s and my style had not kept up. I came to the court sporting my Chuck Taylors ready to shoot some hoops. I was the older guy in the old shoes. Not exactly translating the intimidation of the mad basketball skills within.
Flash forward to 2015. Chuck Taylors have made a resurgence over the last few years. They are a cool and trendy shoe again coming in many different colors and styles. Why do I not own a pair?
Here is the real question – What changed?
It wasn’t the shoe. The shoe has remained the same over all these years. The difference is in the meaning that people/culture have brought to the shoe. WE, as in you and me, bring the meaning to everything in our lives. This could be the shoes or clothes that we wear, or it could be the meaning we give to a “look” that someone gives us. It could be how we interpret what we see or experience, as in the actions and reactions of others.
Are you willing to admit that sometimes the meaning you gave to an event was not the meaning that was meant to be conveyed? How has this influenced your communication or relationships with those around you? How can we make sure that the meaning we bring to the events in our personal and professional lives is the meaning that was meant to be conveyed? Simple…just ask.
My friend, Dave Knight, asks the question this way: “Help me understand…” Try this on with those in your circles and see if it supports you in understanding each other in a clearer way. Ask for clarity on a recent event that has left you a bit unsettled or angsty.