Those size 8 sparkly, strappy sandals were really beautiful. The only problem was I am an 8 1/2. However, I truly could not resist. I had to have them. I brought them home, took them out of the box, put them on my shelf and stared dreamily at them. I fantasized about the night I would wear them. I had a big performance at the Wang Center coming up and I wanted to look spectacular from head to toe.
Fast forward to the event. Gown in place, voice warmed up, sexy sandals on. I was feeling hot to trot. Except about 1/2 hour into the event my feet started to hurt. Those thin little straps were digging into my flesh. By the time it was my turn to sing, I had to stop myself from wincing as I walked onto the stage. So much for the perfect scenario. Instead of feeling like a princess, I felt like a giant trying to walk on toothpicks!
I was paying the price for a mistake many of us make, we try to squeeze into something that is simply not the right fit, and I’m just talking about shoes here. We do it in our branding and businesses as well. We have an idea or vision of how we’d like things to ideally be, maybe it’s more clients or perhaps it’s having more star-power in our band, so we go out shopping. We look at products and programs. We look at successful gurus and think, “Oh, I’ll do THAT! THAT will work. THAT will make me look/feel/seem _____________.” The only problem is THAT isn’t right for you.
My aching feet got me thinking. Why did I buy really buy those sandals? I knew they were going to hurt my feet. And there were other options. I mean seriously, walk into any mall or DSW store for that matter and there is a plethora of choices. So why did I do it?? It boils down to one basic reason: I did not keep my MISSION top of mind.
If I had really been paying attention to what is important, I never would have made the same choice. I would not have risked my ability to deliver a peak performance by wearing something that didn’t fit. Of course, I wanted to look great, but that should have been a second tier concern. My first job was to sing well and touch the audience with my artistry. Buying the wrong shoes inhibited me from expressing my fullest potential which in turned robbed the audience of a deeper experience.
In our businesses we too get distracted from our mission. We think if we add this product, write an e-book, find the right jv partner or come up with a sexy new tagline, everything will fall into place. Others will start to see us as experts and we’ll finally get the leverage and recognition we’re looking for. We’ll feel great…until we don’t.
Don’t get me wrong, having sparkly accessories can be wonderful, but if you do not have a core mission in your business, you are rudderless. Your core mission doesn’t have to be gargantuan like solving the Middle East conflict. However, in order to craft a worthy mission you must have a keen understanding of what your very own unique gifts are and how to use them to positively impact the world around you.
When you do not have a clear sense of mission it leaves you vulnerable to making inauthentic and unwise decisions. Some consequences are small, like ending up with sore feet. However, some consequences are much deeper and more damaging. The last place you want to end up is in a sea of regret. So the next time you need to perform, make sure your priorities are in order and are in alignment with your mission. Both your feet and audience will thank you.
I love to hear your voice!
How do you practice keeping your mission top of mind?
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If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:Heather Poduska is a Reach certified personal brand strategist, image consultant and business coach who helps women entrepreneurs create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.