The Wisdom of Kinky Boots: Follow Your Intuition, Believe in Your Vision and Ignore the Naysayers

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The Wisdom of Kinky Boots: Follow Your Intuition, Believe in Your Vision and Ignore the Naysayers

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On a recent Spring evening, I sat in the audience at the Broadway musical excited to see Kinky Boots and not knowing much about the plot … or the wisdom of the lead character and real life shoemaker Charlie Price.

Prior to Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper wisely teaming up to create the musical (and Cyndi did a fab job on the music I might add), Charlie’s story debuted as a BBC documentary and was also turned into a feature film.

To recap it briefly, the real life tale is based in Northampton, England, a town known for manufacturing high quality traditional shoes. Charlie was faced with the prospect of filing bankruptcy, closing down the traditional, outdated shoe factory that had been in his family for generations, and putting long term employees and friends out of work.

A chance encounter however, led Charlie to make a very unexpected, unconventional yet extremely wise choice. When he bumped into drag queen Lola who had broken a stiletto during a bias scuffle, Charlie realized the heel was designed to accommodate the weight of a woman and couldn’t possibility support a full-grown man for long.

So, he saved the factory and more important the livelihood of his friends and employees by creating and producing “kinky boots” for transvestites. And, he took a stand against the naysayers and homophobes as well.

Charlie had the wisdom to follow his intuition over the extreme judgment he faced from those around him. He had the wisdom to believe in his vision when no one else understood or believed in what he was doing.

I’m sure we can all think of ways this type of wisdom would serve us in our own businesses and lives. But how can we gain this type of wisdom? How can we recognize it?

Here are some lessons from Charlie that will go a long way toward cultivating more wisdom now.

Wisdom blossoms when you have an open-mind about the world, other people and yourself. Be aware of, and look for, the opportunities that present themselves to you. And understand they may not come from the places you expect. Luckily, I’ve always been pretty open-minded and it has served me well in being able to identify and work with all types of people and consider their different life experiences and beliefs.

• Wisdom escalates when you trust your inner voice and don’t let others’ opinions sway you. Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the meal and the same can be said for your business. You are in the driver’s seat so take control and lead the way. This is especially important when you’re first starting your business. You will likely quickly learn that some friends and family don’t understand what you’re doing and why. I found support by expanding my circle to include other entrepreneurs and support networks.

• Wisdom intensifies from taking time for contemplation and self-reflection. In business it’s often prudent to make quick decisions so that you stay in action. But it also pays to give yourself time to think, reflect and be creative in an unhurried manner. Personally, my go-to is meditation. I’ve learned so much about myself and found greater inner peace and happiness through a regular practice.

• Wisdom grows when you step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself regularly. For many of us, starting a business is a big step out of the comfort zone and into the unknown. But, look for other ways to push yourself as well and keep your creativity fresh and energy flowing. Whether it’s traveling or taking a cooking class, get out there. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. I took up a lifelong dream of creating pottery, ala Demi Moore in the movie Ghost, and it was extremely fulfilling and fun.

• Wisdom expands when you realize that you don’t have all the answers and learn from others more experienced than you. Take a clue from some of the wisest people in the world who are often quoted saying they know nothing. And, they surround themselves with people smarter than they are. By watching some coach friends develop their businesses, some successfully and others not, I knew I had to invest in mine and find great mentors. I’ve worked with superstars Ali Brown and Suzanne Evans, joined networking communities and could never do it without my own marketing coach (even though my background is PR and marketing).

Wisdom strengthens when you know yourself and are gentle with yourself and others. Spend some time identifying your values, strengths, weaknesses and what makes you happy. Then accept what you learn about yourself and know that you won’t always be perfect and that’s ok. I learned the most about myself when I went through crises and tragedies. And when you’re healing, it’s essential to be gentle with yourself and give yourself the space that you need. Once you go through that, it’s a good lesson to remember during the daily struggles and frustrations that come a long with owning a business.

Wisdom thrives when you don’t live in the land of “shoulds”, guilt and worry. That land is a downer and keeps you stuck. Know what you want and what you don’t and don’t worry about what other’s think. There’s no right or wrong way. Releasing everything to your higher power or the universe, and knowing that wherever you are is exactly where you should be, relieves the pressures that can weigh us down.

• Wisdom radiates when you take responsibility for yourself, your actions and your behavior. Only YOU can make you feel something. You have the choice to be, do, feel, whatever you want. And the sooner you take control of that the faster you’ll be happy and wise. When I finally realized that if I wanted to be happy I better figure how it was a huge aha moment. I haven’t looked back since and even built my business around it.

• Wisdom flourishes when you are there for others when they need you. Life, love and business is not a one-way street. Karma is very much alive in today’s world and the best way to build a prosperous business and life is to support and help others as much as possible. I’ve found several networks of women that are extremely supportive and generous with their know-how. That’s invaluable and all you have to do is believe there’s enough to go around and offer a hand.

• Wisdom swells when you keep the big picture in mind and don’t get caught up in petty drama. Remember your long-term goals and what really matters and don’t get distracted by the little stuff. That’s easier said than done but so helpful. Keep moving forward and everything will work it. That’s my mantra.

We are all wiser than we realize. It’s inside of us but we just have to trust it. As Cyndi Lauper herself sings in one of my favorite songs, and we’ll make this for Charlie and for all of us, when we are wise we “see your true colors shining through …. your true colors are beautiful, like a rainbow.”

Author’s Bio: 

Elaine Wellman helps women entrepreneurs and “professionistas” create more success by mastering the skills that lead to happiness. She is an expert on happiness and success and a certified life coach. For more information on committing to your happiness and success and a free copy of Elaine’s workbook The #1 Secret to Happiness for Successful Women, check out http://www.elainewellman.com.

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