Red Shoes Pillar #1: Awareness

This article first appeared in the opinion section of Aftermarket News on August 2, 2013.
It was originally written as a guest commentary by Lonnie Mayne.
Photo taken by Flickr user Sergey Ivanov

Wearing Red Shoes in service and leadership is all about positively standing out to each individual you come in contact with. As a refresher, this is how I define “standing out” for the purposes of Red Shoes:

“Standing out is the art of catching the eye, grabbing attention and engaging the busy human brain (if even just for a moment). In its most powerful form, it’s not flashy or self-aggrandizing; in fact, it’s nothing more than a thoughtful act done out of respect. I can think of nothing more powerful. Standing out is the way we exert positive influence on this world.”

Only when someone or something stands out does the mind focus on it long enough to absorb new information and produce its own valuable reflections.

Creating Awareness

Standing out is powerful because it draws attention and creates the awareness necessary for truly experiencing life. Awareness is the strongest evidence any person has of being alive. Our consciousness is the measuring stick of our quality of life.

In the same way that Red Shoes Experiences create awareness, they are also created by awareness.

An interaction or experience will be significant to someone when they can sense that they are sharing it with an organization or person who is aware of their personal situation and preferences.

When your actions are sincerely targeted toward the specific needs of an individual or a unique group, they will stand out. They will make a difference. They will positively influence the life and decisions of others.

Contributing Awareness

Life happens all around us, whether we are paying attention or not. Sometimes, we are a direct participant in a Red Shoes Experience. Other times, we are merely observers of the experience. Being aware of these moments enriches our soul and has an impact on others we will probably never completely appreciate.

My respectful challenge to everyone is to find the special moments of life and choose to either take part in them, or, at the very least, observe them. Whatever you do, don’t miss them!

My late grandmother used to tell me, “Lonnie, there is good in everyone, and I mean everyone, and it’s up to you to find it!” She was relentlessly aware of people’s positive attributes, and she never heard me complain about anyone without reminding me that my focus was misplaced.

Staying Alive

The secret to a rewarding life full of valuable experiences and meaningful relationships is staying responsive. Happiness does not come from keeping our heads down and obsessively focusing on projects. We need to be open to adventure, to action and even to distraction.

In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Remember: If you’re not fully aware; you’re not fully alive.