Last week I was traveling, spreading my “gospel” about making a difference with shoes and the Funds2Orgs shoe drive fundraisers. I continue to be excited, because we are making a global impact by repurposing shoes, and now sneakers and we are expanding to clothes and handbags. People are getting the message that the simplest act can make an incredible change in someone else’s life. Remember this, 300 million children in the world do not have shoes – not a single pair. That’s nearly the entire population of the United States.
I had some quiet time toward the end of the week allowing me to reflect on this journey. With that first person I knelt before as a shoe salesman when I was 15 years old to today I was living at the feet of others. This is my purpose. That doesn’t make me special. That just makes me aware of the blessings and opportunity I have been given.
My company and our nonprofit platform are growing by leaps and bounds. I realized how in just over 2 years we have moved from working out of my home to two offices and how we are making a huge difference. And then I thought of some of the people I have met along the way who want to change and make things happen in a different direction in their lives, but they can’t get out of their own way.
What does that mean? It’s simply that the list of excuses is never-ending and constant. I am a businessman and I know and understand that things happen. Unfortunately, the world is messy and we have diseases, accidents, loss of jobs, divorces, death, etc. Companies or nonprofits can be looking at their revenue numbers and on some given quarter, the numbers are less than stellar and not meeting the financial targets. That is a reality of life and business. And, sometimes people can’t see past the list of excuses in order to achieve what they want for themselves and others. What happens next is the slow erosion of hope. But, almost is not good enough.
“You can’t do it.”It’s all been said to me before, and I will admit, I have sometimes thought these things myself.
My guess is you have probably heard them too:
“It won’t work.”
“Why would you want to do that?”
Self-doubt tunes into your mind like a bad television sitcom. And, either you get past that or you don’t.
So here is the deal…if I can do it, you can do it. My secret sauce is simple. I have been kneeling in front of others and I have been of service for almost my entire life. I have faced countless people all over the world and slipped shoes on their feet. Some years ago, I did it for people looking for the best shoes. Today, with my shoe drive fundraisers, I do it so that people all over the world can help themselves out of poverty. If I can make a difference with a pair of shoes, what can you do to make a difference? It’s not hard, really. It just takes commitment, a little awareness and some determination. It also takes you getting out of your own way. And if this metaphor helps you, the next time someone is telling you “no”, how something can’t be done or how you shouldn’t, take all of those reasons – don’t internalize them and start with self-doubt – and leave them metaphorically at the feet of the person who is trying to convince you to maintain the status quo. Then do what you have to do and make it happen.