I love Seth Godin, and I pass his stuff along often. But I think this time, he's got his metaphors wrong.
True story: I had enormous feet by the age of 12. Of course, I was also a foot taller than everyone in my class, so my mom explained that I needed those big feet to keep from falling over. Besides, she said, people look at your face, not your feet, so greet 'em with a confident smile. I don't have to tell you how daunting those feet were to my already innately-shredded-by-adolescence self-esteem.
But I had no idea how much that period of my saga impacted me all the way into adulthood until the day a co-worker mentioned a client's shoes.
"Oh, come on, my mom always said nobody really pays attention to your feet anyway," I said dismissively in response to my colleague's critical remarks that linked her foster care client's shoes to the poor woman's attitude.
At that, the social worker turned her just-naturally-beautiful-like-Elizabeth-Montgomery-of-Bewitched face toward me as I sat munching tuna in the lunchroom and said, "Well, I do!"
Suddenly, I was a 12-year-old gawkster again, staring down at my own cheaply shod pods.
Gotta tell ya, after that I thought quite differently about Nedra, the Social Worker With a Heart Like a Scale.
So Seth, you are one of my heroes, for sure. But I'm here to testify that among the people we'll encounter in our lives' travels, some will, indeed and incredibly, recall what we wore and how our hair was done. They will -- truly, and I know it's unbelievable, but I've lived it -- judge you based not only on your ideas and talents and gifts, but on what they consider is even more important: your presentation of such. In fact, those folks often consider the initial presentation to be so representative of the whole that they don't even care to see deeper.
But on that note, I'll give it to you, Seth, that your final paragraph rings true. Wondering "about what we could do that might change everything" is where we often fall short.
Like overlooking the person's shoes long enough to hear what's really, truly inside the package.