Deb Sofield


You can never leave footprints that last

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You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe. Leymah Gbowee

If you’re like me, you see a quote and it just strikes you as a great mental stop. That is what happened with today’s quote and theme.

Those who know me know that I am not someone who tiptoes around issues–it is a time matter for me. I don’t like to waste time when, with a direct response, decision or action, I can move on to other things.

No doubt this has gotten me in trouble at times, but chalk it up to impatience and my limited ability to focus on a multitude of things at one time. I am not a multi-tasking kind of gal. I do one thing at a time, in silence, so I can focus to get it done correctly the first time. I live by the Abe Lincoln quote, “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.”

Today’s theme is interesting to me. I constantly see good people who will never leave footprints that last because they are always walking on tiptoes. They choose not to take a position because they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, or they choose to live in some universe of unfounded fear and never take a stand for anything of purpose or value. And the worst of it is the idea that some people choose to believe (wrongly, I will add) that they have no value, no worth and no opinion worth sharing, so they stay small and tiptoe around everything and everybody, always taking and never giving back.

Hear me if this is you: Enough of you being so fearful to yourself and everyone around you! Why are you so afraid to leave a legacy or, at the very least, a footprint for others to follow? You have a mind, a heart and a voice, so why are you not using them for good?

Really, you’re taking up space in this world, so tell me why do you think that you can be so useless to yourself, your family and your community without a shred of responsibility? How did that germ of such a bad idea sink into your head and heart? How silly is it that you believed the lie that you have no value, no worth and no opinion worthy of sharing.

So I have to ask, what is it going to take for you to realize that you’re amazing, you’re wonderfully made, you have skills and abilities that others don’t have and you know you could be anything you put your mind to at any time in your life?

Just take a look in the mirror. Really, go to your bedroom or bathroom mirror and take a good look at yourself. You do know, don’t you, that there is no one in the world just like you. There are 7.4 billion people in the world, and NO ONE is like you. NO ONE. So, knowing that, why do you discount the gift of your being? What an affront to God or who or whatever you believe. What caused you to assume that the creation of who you are has so little value?

In the interest of time let me tell you something: trust me when I say that you couldn’t be more wrong about your value. And for that reason it is disconcerting to me that you are walking around on tiptoes instead of making a footprint, and never leaving a footprint or creating a footpath for others to follow.

As you look towards the upcoming New Year, figure out what you need to do to get out of your own way so you can leave your mark in and on this world. Remember, You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe.

Let me address my earlier thoughts about not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings so that you say and do nothing to upset the apple cart. If you’re in a relationship of any kind that does not value the gifts you’ve been bestowed with by your creator–to speak and be heard or to do things you enjoy or to give to those you care about–or you’ve been silenced by others so that you can’t hurt their feelings, please, wake up and walk away

Remember, the issue is on them, not you; their insecurity or their need to be in control or their dysfunction is not your problem. Take a stand and stop tiptoeing around them. The responsibility to leave a footprint is on you, should you choose to continue in the relationship. And if you choose to do so (and I doubt that it is a wise idea) figure out how you can restore your voice in the relationship so you are heard and thereby respected. The fact is, if they can’t handle hearing your voice or walking in your footsteps–if they feel “offended” by your presence–then it is time to stop standing around and start walking away

Let’s set the record straight. I am sure you’ve run into this behavior of some of your “friends” when they get so offended for being treated in the same way they treat you. Anyone who treats you like that is not a real friend–they lack confidence, they are insecure and selfish and they think their opinion matters more than yours. If that is your current situation, then run away and find new friends. Stop letting others erase your steps so much so that you’ll lose your path. This generation of easily offended friends and family is a problem, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be your problem.

I also want to talk with some of you about the unfounded fear that you are allowing to rule your life. Friend, stop imagining or thinking and talking yourself into being so fearful of everything. Case in point, the social media babble about this election and the media’s endless carping of disdain, fear-mongering and unrestrained comments…well, it’s all beyond words. Don’t you remember the angst and furor over the last election…and the one before that and the one before that…and the one before that? Come on, you know the pendulum swings right and left–it always has and it always will–so stop allowing outside voices to scare you. You don’t need to hide under a rock. Live your life. Live out loud, and live fearlessly!

Allow me to take a quick rabbit trail. A few years ago I had a friend who was dying of cancer (she has since passed) and the doctor told her to turn off the TV, stop reading the newspaper and stay offline from sites that heap fear and anger and vitriol into the airways. Her doctor told her it was her job, even in her diminished state, to find joy in the good things that life offered her. You know, when she stopped watching the news and tuned out the noise, her final days were as pleasant as they could be. In her day she was involved in politics, but when her health failed, she stepped away from that fight to fight for her life; in the end, it was a better life than when she allowed the noise of the world to agitate her unfounded fear.

Friend, stop ruminating over things that are out of your control. And for goodness’ sake, stop being such an emotional drama queen (or king). This emotional, physical and mental upheaval that you are choosing to participate in is not good for your health, and frankly, your friends are tired of hearing about it.

The best option for your success is to change the voice in your head from fearful to fearless and, trust me, it will take work for you to get there, so you must commit and make the conscientious decision to live outside of your circle of fear. One way you do that is to track your successes–write them down in a notebook so you can refer to them when you’re feeling small–as tiny as some of your successes might seem to be. If you can see that you’re better off today than you were yesterday and the day before and last year, you will begin to build a foundation that can withstand the storms of friends, family and life.

Finally, let me address the issue of your self-worth that is manifesting itself in your low self-esteem, self-image and self-confidence. When I meet people who think they have no value, no worth and no opinion worth sharing, I actually run the gambit of emotions from anger to sadness, and (I am not proud to say) disgust. I know, not very loving on my part, but I find it unfathomable that someone who chooses to allow themselves to be invisible, or to tiptoe through life so that they don’t leave a footprint, is like thief. A person who is so lazy and disinterested in leaving the world around them a better place is just like a thief–they are stealing. They don’t do the work of bettering themselves because they choose to wallow in their past pain, past hurts and every injustice done to them, real or imagined.

The most important thing is this: if you have an ounce of self-acknowledgment, you must realize that your thieving is an affront to your soul, your family, your friends and, frankly, your Maker. The fact that you choose to slide and slither and snivel by and not pick up your feet to leave a footprint, a trail, a passageway for others to find safety, security or a sanctuary is heartbreaking. Being content to scuff along, barely leaving a smudge on the ground is beyond comprehension. Your actions are dishonorable, and you know that no one respects that type of person or behavior; in fact, it is an affront to everyone who knows you and knows the amazing person you could be.

You have some tough choices to make if you plan to better your life and leave footprints that last. You and only you can think, work and pray your way out of the darkness you have chosen to live in. Make the right decision to seek the light and put away the darkness, choose to be a friend to others and take the time to repair the broken places and restore the foundations of when your life was on track and you knew your calling. Work to get back to that place.

Friend, be bold and speak your truth with love, so if anyone’s feelings are hurt, they will know your words were not for power but for purpose. And, for goodness’ sake, stop living in fear of everything. You are not inherently given the spirit of fear–no one is. It is a learned behavior, so push against the unfounded fears and live in the now. Most importantly, stop the destructive mindset that chatters about your self-worth. It is a broken, worn out record that has no truth or value, so toss it out. Because, when all is said and done, wouldn’t it be great if you finally stepped squarely down and stood on solid ground instead of tiptoeing through life? Standing firm will leave footprints that will last.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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