It’s time to put on our shoes…

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been particularly conscious of the imperative to be ready to move on. To say ‘yes’ to stepping out of my comfort zone.

Not just leaping ahead and doing it… but being ready.

I think that’s why my attention has been drawn to letting go of things that will hinder this transition. Digging deeper inside, so that what grows is authentic and yields real value.

But I also know that nothing will happen until I take the first step. The transformations in our heart and mind need to be out-worked. The seed needs to crack open and sprout.

So what will I wear?

You might think that’s an odd question. I agree! (Those who know me recognise that I’m not exactly fashion conscious…)

Yesterday, I used the metaphor of a coat ‘It takes real courage to start from within, rather than putting on someone else’s coat.’

Whilst the metaphor shifts to finding and using our own coat, I wonder whether putting on our own shoes is even better. After all, it’s quite possible to wear a whole range of coats and they don’t need to fit that well in order to do the job.

But shoes. That’s another thing. Even if the shoe is technically your size, that doesn’t mean it’s going to fit well enough to wear comfortably. And then there’s the question of what they are designed for. Friends have just arrived and they are out tramping in the valley with their children. Here, today, only wellies will do…

So putting on our shoes to step forward means making a decision about what kind of shoes we need, as well as their fit. We need to try them on and try them out.

Years ago, when thinking about a young friend who was at a crossroads in her life, I had a mental image of a pair of red dancing shoes: ‘dancing on injustice’. The metaphor provided a clear sense of her voice and her way of being, that was both powerful and fruitful.

We have to start walking. That’s the only way we will learn to grow.

I love the way my quiet disruptor friend, Amos Doornbos, put it in his recent blog Doing our way into believing  ‘Perhaps we need to do a little less talking and a lot more celebrating of the behaviours we want so our ‘guiding’ beliefs become reality; become actually what we believe.’

Stepping into a new position

Moving from our comfort zone does mean going somewhere new. It might not be a new job or a new location. But it is consciously different. We are being intentional and brave. And success is not guaranteed.

Therefore, I wanted to share with you another of John O’Donohue’s poetic blessings – in its entirety – that has continued to stir and affirm me. Hoping it does the same for you.

For a new position

May your new work excite your heart,
Kindle in your mind a creativity
To journey beyond the old limits
Of all that has become wearisome.

May this work challenge you towards
New frontiers that will emerge
As you begin to approach them,
Calling forth from you the full force
And depth of your undiscovered gifts.

May the work fit the rhythms of your soul,
Enabling you to draw from the invisible
New ideas and a vision that will inspire.

Remember to be kind
To those who work for you,
Endeavour to remain aware
Of the quiet world
That lives behind each face.

Be fair in your expectations,
Compassionate in your criticism,
May you have the grace of encouragement
To awaken the gift in the other’s heart,
Building in them the confidence
To follow the call of the gift.


May you come to know that work
Which emerges from the mind of love
Will have beauty and form.

Make this new work be worthy
Of the energy of your heart
And the light of your thought.

May your work assume
A proper space in your life;
Instead of owning or using you,
May it challenge and refine you,
Bringing you every day further
Into the wonder of your heart.

John O’Donohue, Benedictus – a Book of Blessings, 2007, Bantam Press

Thanks for reading,


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