Two different shoes don't matter. Getting the important stuff right does.

Two different shoes.jpg

Years ago, I was in a counseling session. Debilitated by the strain of a crumbling relationship, I sat in a sad heap on this counseling-office-ish looking green chair, attempting to sort out just what had gone wrong.

The counselor listened intently, doling out Kleenex whenever he realized my blubbering was impacting my ability to breathe and guiding the conversation thoughtfully to help me sort everything through.

In other words:  He was doing the super important stuff that he's paid, as a mental health professional, to do.

It was not far into this conversation that I looked down and noticed that my counselor just happened to be wearing two completely different shoes. While they were both brown shoes, one was a plain loafer, one had tassels.

And mid-blubber, I thought to myself:

"Could I possibly be in good hands if my counselor can't even put on two of the same shoes in the morning??"

Afterward, I felt a little bit bad. He'd been so supportive and helpful to me ... and all I could do was judge the poor guy for his shoes. We continued on, and I was so glad to have stuck it out.

Because the dude truly did know what he was doing, and his expertise helped me a lot, at a time that I was running pretty low on relationship know-how.

Flash forward to today...

I recorded some video footage this morning for a special project. Once complete, I forwarded it to the woman in charge of editing.

It was only after I'd sent video that I played it back ... and realized that I am wearing two completely different earrings today.

Big earrings.

Big noticeable earrings.

Big noticeable and NOT AT ALL MATCHING earrings.

And for a second there, I was horrified. Absolutely horrified.

(Truthfully, I also realized it's about par for the course for me... but more horrified than anything.)

I quickly scrambled to get in touch with the video editor, alerting her of this grave oversight and asking if I could have a do-over.

Her response?


Why'd she say that?

While I'm not 100% sure, I'm going to guess it's because I got the important stuff right.

And that's what matters --  in your video projects, as you sit in a counselor's office, while navigating a job search, while trying to grow your career, in your personal life, wherever.

Two different shoes don't matter.

Two different earrings don't matter.

Getting the important stuff right is what matters.

We all get so stuck on the appearances, the trappings, the minutiae.

We buy our kids a bunch of crap so the world knows we're "well off," when what really matters that we give them guidance and affection.

We spend hours trying to decide which san serif font to use for our resumes, when what really matters is that we share interesting things that will make the reviewer want to learn more about us.

We worry too much about what "they say," when what really matters is what our hearts and our guts say.

We stress about how we're going to look to others when figuring out how to use the damned equipment at the gym, when what really matters is that we're making an effort to keep our bodies fit and healthy.

We focus on the counselor's goshdarned two different shoes, when what really matters is how good he is at helping us recover from the crumbling relationships.

Yes, folks, it is true: I have two vastly different earrings on today. And perhaps people with whom I meet will focus on that rather than on what I have to contribute today.

But you know what? It's a risk I'm willing to take. They're staying in my ears, all day.

And while I wear them? I'm going to work on important stuff. Stuff that matters.

How about you? Are you obsessing over the wrong things at the expense of the important stuff?

Stop that.

photo: Creative Commons (KellBailey)