Being an avid reader, I often find inspiration and focus within the pages of biographies of successful people or in discussions with people I admire. Sometimes, I even find it while enjoying a spectacular sunset. On occasion, inspiration and focus can be found in the strangest things and at the most unexpected times.
I have just returned from the Vitrum show in Milan, Italy, where I was supporting our European office in the trade show booth. Just before the show opened, our manager of the French-speaking market segment handed all of our booth personnel blue shoestrings to immediately place in their shoes.
I assumed that this was meant to be a fashion statement, as the color of the shoestrings was a very close match to our official corporate logo color. With Milan being the fashion capital of the world, I thought this made perfect sense.
Now, I've never been accused of being fashionable – actually quite the opposite – so naturally I hesitated for a moment. I watched as the rest of our team took out their old laces and inserted the new ones. I was still not sold on the fashion idea, but being a team player, I followed along.
As the week went on, I found that these shoestrings provided much more value than just fashion.
Each morning as I tied my shoes, the blue shoestrings stared me right in the face. These shoestrings provided me the inspiration each morning to approach the day and trade show booth with the proper mindset and focus on our mission in Milan.
So here it was: focus for less than a buck! No long hours of reading or deep discussions with others or even an enjoyable sunset. Focus was simply found in the strangest thing and at the most unexpected time--while tying my blue shoestrings.
Upon returning home, my wife, Tammy, took one look at my shoes and informed me that the look was certainly not a fashion statement – at least not in Cleveland, Ohio. These laces have been changed but not discarded. They now sit on my desk as a daily reminder of the focus that was found in Milan and the mission that we are on.
There is now a very good chance that blue shoestrings will be a part of our fashion statement and focus at our future trade shows!
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