Happiness is having a scratch for every itch.

~ Ogden Nash ~

Filling Someone’s Shoes

November 24th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 58 secs

What’s wrong with wearing your own shoes?

If you’ve ever had to fill someone else’s shoes, you know it can be intimidating. How can you meet the same expectations? Not to mention the feeling that you need to do as well, or better, than they did.

Of course, you can never truly fit anyone else’s shoes. Only your own. For as much as we are the same, we are also different from the ground up.

Relief teaching, for example, reveals that fact vividly. Whenever I’ve stepped into another teacher’s role, I choose to wear my own shoes. Why? Because I make a lousy job being someone else, but a great job being myself.

That’s true for you too. Try wearing anyone else’s shoes and pretty soon it becomes apparent that you’ll have to pave your own way forward to do any job well. Despite our capacity to wield a bevy of transferable skills, we all take our own particular approach to whatever we do. It is our handprint; our essential uniqueness coming to light.

Yet, many feel individuality should be suppressed. That it’s unnecessary to be anything other than what the job stipulates. And, if anyone has been successful doing it, then we should do as they have done and wear their shoes in exactly the same way.

Sigh! To me, any role that denies your individuality by insisting you must leave your personality at the door is disturbing.  As much as the job allows, you deserve to be yourself and be respected for it too. Like shoes that remain uncomfortable and inflexible, work that remains unbending will never give you happiness.

Because satisfaction thrives on creativity and self-expression, we need to be aware of the power of our environment to influence our ability. Assuming the tight fitting shoes of somebody cantankerous and crabby can generate the self-same behavior. Try as we might, this environmental effect is compelling. Unless we reach our own equally powerful conclusions to act otherwise and tread our own path, we end up doing what we are bidden.

Enid Blyton, the famous children’s writer who charmed generations, wrote about shoes that took the wearer wherever the shoes wanted with much the same effect. We may desire to tread a different way. But job roles and titles can easily define us.

The remedy is to wear nobody’s shoes but your own. Whichever job you take, consciously make it yours. If that’s not okay with the powers to be, don’t stay. You will be forfeiting much more of value than pay or position could ever replace.

Whatever you do, be sure to stand for your dignity and individuality. Because, no matter how appealing, shoes that refuse to let you be your genuinely competent self are simply not worth wearing.


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