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The Hoshin Group

Leadership and Executive Coaching

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain

Are You Wearing Any Shoes?

“The cobbler’s children go unshod.” It occurred to me recently that many of us are living our lives like that proverbial shoemaker. Sadly, this phenomenon isn’t limited to the family of the poor shoemaker. In fact, the English phrase is actually a translation from a Spanish proverb that says, “In the blacksmith’s house, the knives are wooden.” Sound familiar? I’m betting this is resonating with at least a few of you. How many of us have wonderful expertise in our craft that is highly sought after and in great demand, yet we don’t practice what we preach What does that say to others? “Spend money with me for my goods or services. Never mind that I don’t value them enough to use them myself.” Duplicity creates tension within us and gets in the way of creating authentic relationships in both life and in business.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a salesperson, a coach, a designer, or a CEO. We spend more time reflecting externally, spending time on new business pitches, reacting to client feedback, and focusing on what we think other people want and need that we are missing the big picture. If we want other people to say “Yes!” to us, we need to lead the charge by saying “Yes!” to ourselves. Focus on you for a change. We’ll be more attractive to others if we are attractive to and respect ourselves and our craft. And that can manifest itself in a myriad of ways: how we think; what we wear; what boundaries we set and hold; where we hang out; how we treat ourselves; how we allow ourselves to be treated. You are the greatest billboard for your personal brand and you’re broadcasting it loud and clear to the world every day. Take a step back and make sure that there is congruity between what you want people to think about you and what they’re likely taking away – not just from your traditional marketing materials but from all the channels you’re broadcasting.

So, if you’re a branding expert, put your own company and persona through your own rigorous and proven process and see what comes out on the other side. I’ll bet it’s more remarkable than what you’ve got today. If you’re a CEO, set aside the excuse that you are too busy to plan and spend as much time or more on your own strategic direction as you would for your most important client engagement. If you’re a coach, ask yourself, “What am I letting myself get away with that I wouldn’t let my clients get away with?” And if you’re a shoemaker, make yourself a fantastic pair of new shoes and walk tall!

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