Running away from your own feet

I recently watched ‘Cloudy with a chance of meatballs‘– yes, I know the sequel has just been released but what can I say? I live in the country, I don’t get to the cinema very often.

I was really struck by the opening scenes of the film in which Flint Lockwood talked about his belief that he was somehow different and had something to offer the world. We see him in front of his class presenting his latest invention:

Flint: What is the number one problem facing our community today?

Untied shoelaces – which is why I’ve invented a laceless alternative foot covering.

Spray-On Shoes! Voila.

Classmates: They’re so nifty.

‘Baby’ Brent:
How you gonna get them off, nerd? (Flint tugs unsuccessfully at his feet)What a freak! He wants to be smart, but that’s lame.

Flint voiceover: I wanted to run away that day – but you can’t run away from your own feet.

I think he has a good point.

A few months ago, I was working with a client – let’s call him Ben – who has been through a lot of change recently. Ben’s moved cities, he’s changed jobs, he’s made internal moves within his organisation. He told me that these changes were his way of making progress, of moving on from situations or people he’d had enough of but he was frustrated that he still hadn’t found what he wanted.

‘I don’t get it’, he sighed. ‘I’ve taken tough decisions to make some big changes and it’s just not working. It doesn’t seem to matter where I am, these people are all the same. Nothing changes.’

‘Really?’ I asked. ‘It sounds to me like almost everything’s changed: new home, new friends, new jobs: what else?’

‘Well, wherever I go, it’s always the same …’ and then he fell silent, a wry smile slowly appearing. ‘That’s it, isn’t it? It’s me. I’m the same. The situations are different, the people are different and I expect that to fix my frustration. But I’m not different – I’m the same bloke in a different place.’

At that moment, Ben realised he couldn’t run away from his own feet. We worked together to establish what it was that was causing his frustration and what he could do to address it. He’s worked hard to tackle this and when I saw him last week, he was looking a lot happier. ‘I’m really enjoying my job, I feel more settled and I’m not annoyed with everyone else all the time!’ he laughed.

Today’s pebble for your consideration: are you trying to run away from your own feet?

I’d love to know what you think.


Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.

If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?

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