Skip to content

Lessons in Letting Go: In Fashion, Life and Business

We all have things on which we don’t want give up. Ideas that we just can’t let die. Feigned ignorance about things we can’t face. And even material objects that we just can’t get rid of.

I carry around every one of those pieces of baggage, but I recently made a decision that has helped me put other areas of my life that need improvement in perspective.

I have a rule about shoes. I draw the line at owning 50 pairs. I know that sounds like a lot of shoes to begin with, but if you love shoes as much as I do, it’s really easy to have so many! To me, having 20 pairs of black heels is perfectly normal. But, once I have 51 pairs of shoes, I give a pair away because having that many pairs is bad shoe karma in my opinion. I like to pass on good shoe juju to others!

I own a magical set of black, satin, peep-toe pumps. When I saw them in the department store, I immediately envisioned them being perfect for work and play, and had to have them. I loved them as much as Dorothy loved her ruby red slippers. When it comes time to give away a pair, I always make sure these make the cut.

However, I’m not really sure why I love these shoes so much – especially because I’ve experienced such great heartache, embarrassment and pain almost every time I wear them.

Once as I was walking outside near my office, the heel of these shoes caught the back of my pant leg, and I flew forward, scraped my knees and palms, ripped my slacks and humiliated myself in front of a huge group of people.

I wore these shoes to a wedding and got such terrible blisters that I couldn’t walk the next day, and recently, I absentmindedly hooked the heels of these shoes into the wooden footrest of a barstool, lost my balance, fell forward and landed on my hands and knees right in the middle of a dance floor. I looked back and there were the shoes, hanging on the wooden footrest.

Why do I keep wearing these shoes? It’s as if they keep letting me down, but I want to give them one more chance. Do you have a situation like this in your life?

Gosh, who doesn’t? We have to ask ourselves why we can’t give something up. What are we afraid of? I’m definitely not afraid of hurting my shoes’ feelings, but I feel attached to something that I thought would work out so well. I definitely have projects that I really wish would just flourish, but never come together.

There are definitely things that I would prefer not address, no matter how unhealthy I know they are.

But this also means that I’m not moving forward, not making changes and not finding better opportunities. Maybe modifying how we do something, having a different attitude or even making a huge statement or action could be the tipping point. It doesn’t mean that we failed or even gave up. It means that we chose a new direction.

As I was getting dressed for work the other day, I thought about reaching for my fabulous, yet unfriendly shoes. I changed my mind.

Instead of throwing them on and hoping nothing went wrong, or even passing them on to somebody else, I threw them right in the trash and didn’t look back.

It felt good to make a decision to let something go that wasn’t working.

Besides, that leaves me with 49 pairs of shoes, and a slot to buy a set that could turn out to be more beautiful and comfortable that maybe put some extra spring in my step.

With a little luck, I may even find my own pair of ruby slippers, that lead me down a pleasantly surprising and unexpected Yellow Brick Road headed straight for the Emerald City.

><(("> Mandy Stark

Mandy is a ><(("> Friend of Catch Your Limit, a marketing firm with offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. To contact Mandy email her at or to learn more about Catch Your Limit, visit

Posted in Change, Creativity/Innovation, Fun, Miscellaneous.

Tagged with , , , , .


Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

Connect with Facebook

or, reply to this post via trackback.