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On Toe Socks, the Camino, and Being Stuck

Camino Backstory

For those of you who follow me regularly, it may come as no surprise that I’m focused personally on my upcoming pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. In September, I’m walking over 200 miles from St. John Pied de Port on the French/Spanish border to Burgos.

Last year, I trekked with five other women for about eighty miles along the Camino in rural France. The first day of our five-day hike I got injured. To add insult to that injury, I also got blisters. HUGE blisters. On my heels, the balls of my feet, and on my toes. Leave-scars-on-my-heels kind of blisters.

Considering that I’ve been a long-time hiker, I was shocked. It never entered my conscious mind that it was even possible for this to happen. But, alas, it did. I examined all the reasons: shoes, socks, inserts, knee issues. One-by-one, I resolved them. New shoes, check. Remove inserts, check. Eliminate dairy, check. The socks puzzled me as they had never before been an issue.

Getting the Answer

Photo credit: Deborah Kevin, 2018

Last summer when I had the chance to talk to a long-distance runner at a party, I asked him what he did to avoid blisters.

He said, “Toe socks.” And he went on to regale me with the miracle that is toe socks.

I bought one pair at REI and shoved them into a drawer where they sat for over six months. One hot morning, I decided that enough was enough and put them on. They not only felt weird, but they also looked ridiculous, like little gloves on stubby fingers.

Guess what? I loved them. They kept my toes from rubbing against one another and creating friction, which is how blisters happen. I bought a couple more pair and had been experimenting with them.

While the jury is still out on how they’ll perform on the Camino, one thing is for sure, I learned a valuable lesson already—and it also relates to business.

When You Ask, Listen to the Reply

I had a problem I wanted to solve. I asked an expert and received a solution. However, it was a solution I didn’t like or wasn’t open to trying. I did the half-assed thing by purchasing the recommended item but set it aside for traditional items—the same items which caused my problem to begin with. I was stuck in the belief that toe socks would be too uncomfortable to wear.

When I finally broke down after hearing a second friend rave about the same item, I couldn’t believe how comfortable they were. (Truth be told, they were mildly uncomfortable for about thirty seconds.)

Getting Unstuck

That got me to thinking: how many times in my business have I gotten an answer to a question or problem I had, only to ignore the answer because I didn’t like it or integrating it felt uncomfortable. The answer: too many times to count. (Have you ever acted similarly?)

Why? I believe it all comes down to fear. Fear of change. Fear of being wrong. Fortunately, growing to understand how our ego works using fear to keep us “safe” has transformed the way I look at discomfort. My mantra is “Lean in and trust all will be well.” And the only way to do that is to put one foot in front of the other, taking one step at a time. Wearing toe socks, naturally!

If you’ve struggled with change, worried about others’ opinions, or side-stepped upleveling your life, you’re invited to a Masterclass: The Healing Power of Words being held on August 16 at 11:30 a.m. Register here to attend live or via a replay.