You know when you buy new sneakers? Specifically VANS sneakers, the break in process is real. You know what I am talking about, the rub, the blister, the awkward moment at the park when you are walking the dogs pregnant and you cannot take the shoes anymore so you walk home barefoot, shoes dangling in hand across busy streets.
All the time.
I recently bought two new pairs of VANS, the slip-on kind in this amazing grey snakeskin print and the lace-up kind in this rainbow woven aztec style print from Italy. I loved them at first try on, truly. And I knew it would be a process to keep loving them. As I waited to swipe my credit card at the cash register, I committed.
I committed to the awkward beginner life of new VANS sneakers.
So to be clear, I am still in that stage. They are not worn in yet, they don’t fit me like a glove and they are not comfortable yet. The slip ons actually rub a spot on the top of my foot and the lace ups are creating a blister on my lower left heel. I have invested in band-aids and I take breaks in between with old shoes that I love (sweet Nike kicks) or the freedom of flip flops (glory be to Spring weather!). And I look at these new shoes and wonder if I made a mistake. Should I return you, I wonder? Would they even take you back, 1/2 worn in? Maybe I should have only gotten one pair….
Then I remember my commitment. I said I would go all in, embrace the (shitty) process that is a new pair of shoes I (so want to) love. And I put them back on.
And this experience of breaking in new VANS sneakers is similar to that of being a beginner at anything in life, dating someone new, starting a business or a new job. It is actually just like life.
The decision at the register, the decision in your brain to risk it, go for it, take the new job, go on that second date.
The rub. Oh man, the awkward rub when you go to your new work and don’t know anyone, or you go to work the next day for day numero two and forget every single person’s name. Or when you put yourself out there on your new website. Or when you show up to the second date and you know the kiss is coming and which way do you turn your head?
And then the blisters. Worst. It’s like a stop short in your progress. Something rubs a little too much and you get really uncomfortable. You might have to make a bold request, you might have to get vulnerable, you might even have to get honest … with yourself (gasp) and others (double gasp).
And then there is the pause, the healing. The contemplation because of course there is always the choice. Is this job wrong for me? Maybe that guy/girl is not a right fit for me because it got awkward for five seconds and I am really only signed up here for fireworks at all times (whoa, great expectations). Perhaps I shouldn’t have started my own business, this shit is hard.
And then we re-commit. We heal and we put the damn shoes back on. Perhaps we try it with socks or grab a new mantra. We go back to work the next day in our power outfit, we say we will go on another date and this time we are planning it and we put out a new program offering because you are your own CEO.
And we embrace the process.
Because that is being alive.
That is falling in love.
That is creating.
That is going all in.
When rub goes to blister, when pausing creates choice, when commitment creates will power, the beginner life teaches us again and again who we are, who we can be and the invitation for it get awkward…. so we can look badass in our new Van shoes…. No, so that we can continue to evolve, grow and live bigger.
Beginners. Give yourself permission to feel it all. Go.