Sometimes, An Attitude Adjustment is as Simple as a Shoeshine

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Running around today, meeting after meeting in NYC, with only twenty minutes downtime all day, I walked to my 5pm meeting sweaty, feeling gross, and just “beat.” (Any temperature over 50 degrees, and I’m sweating. Luck of the gene lottery, I guess.) Wasn’t in the best of moods.

Didn’t want to have my meeting, didn’t feel on top of my game, didn’t feel like I would put out any type of good impression. But I couldn’t bail out, I said I’d be there.

The last thing you want to do is walk into a meeting and feel like you’re not on top of your game.

Couldn’t get home or to a gym to shower, didn’t have a change of clothes. Stopped into a Starbucks bathroom and washed my face, which didn’t help at all.

A block away from my meeting, I was trying to fake a smile and a good mood, when “SHOESHINE” caught my eye. It was a tiny little storefront, offering shoe repair and shoeshines.

I don’t know what made me walk in, I have a great shine kit at home that I bought after watching Don Draper use one in season three of Mad Men. But looking at my shoes, they weren’t in the best of condition. They were a little dirty, and far from shiny.

I sat down in one of those throne-like chairs, and a lovely woman, finishing up with the gentleman to my left, came over and rolled up the cuffs of my pants, while smiling at me and pulling out her rags, polish, spray bottle, and other weapons of her craft.

Five minutes later, I had shoes that looked like I just took them out of the box at the store and slipped them on for the first time. They sparkled like the stars in the sky, and were as shiny as Homer Simpson’s head in the episode where he worked at a bowling alley and put his head into the ball waxer.

All this for four bucks plus a two dollar tip. I walked out on top of the world, my shoes shiny, my smile huge, and my entire attitude readjusted. I walked into my meeting, smiled, made great jokes, and left with actionable working items from a brand new client.

All from a shoeshine.

We can’t possibly be Happy McHapperson 24-hours a day. But we can take little steps to get us out of our mood – Even if just for an hour to get us through a meeting with a smile.

More often than not, little changes can make all the difference, and lead us to big rewards. 

What little things can you do?

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