Razzle Dazzle ’em: What Kinky Boots taught me about Innovation

I have always wanted to develop something that could be left with this earth as part of my legacy. But what would that be? It has always felt like everything has already been invented. Every leader has their audience and every audience has chosen their master teacher.

But innovation takes a new spin on invention. Innovation takes what already exists and moves it to the next level, giving it new life with your own flavor. Innovation looks at things in a different way.

Innovation looks for opportunity to introduce a new thought or way of doing things that improves products, business, services that already exist.

Think Uber & AirBnB. Both companies took really simple ideas and transformed the way we live and travel.

When it came to writing this blog, I put it off for so long. I kept saying everything to say has already been said. What more can I add to the conversation? But that is kind of the point. I have plenty to add to the conversation because no one can share the stories I have lived. I am here to share them myself. My experiences, my mistakes, my victories, my lessons and my life are all unique enough to matter in the conversation. I love to write and this blog was an important step in figuring out that I want to get to the next step.

So just as my title suggests, I saw the musical Kinky Boots a few days ago. I positively loved the show’s energy. It felt like a grown version of Billy Elliot which I saw just a couple of months ago. Sure Kinky Boots was about shoes instead of ballet but there was still a whole lot of singing, dancing, mending relationships, untangling social issues and men in heels.

The Kinky Boots story is about a man named Charlie Price who inherits his father’s shoe factory. Charlie wants to save the family business and makes an unlikely new friend, Lola who helps him do so. Lola is a cabaret star who helps his new friend Charlie save the business by designing sparkly sensational boots for other men preparing to walk in a Milan runway show. The idea of producing the special shoes were a far-reach from the customer base the factory previously had but with the new idea, they are able to save their future and make a major name for themselves.

It’s a story about finding friendship, inspiration and passion where you least expect. The tagline of the show is that Kinky Boots proves that you change the world when you change your mind. The story of Kinky Boots is at least in part about true innovation.

Innovation is about change, alteration, revolution, upheaval, transformation, metamorphosis and breakthrough.

I can bring my mind, my talents and my passion to changing the way the world does something. I am still figuring out the details on that part but what used to seem impossible seems far more possible now. I am capable of developing something that could be left with this earth as part of my legacy. I look forward to that vision becoming clearer and I look forward to you staying tuned as I do.

What kind of impact do you want to leave on the world? What vision do you have for your life?

The best, most challenging thing you will ever give up

I saw Billy Elliot the Musical last night so the soundtrack notes are still pretty fresh in my head. There were lots of plot points in the story line that do not relate to me. I have never been part of a coal miners strike or desired a career in boxing or ballet but the general “Be You” theme that resonates throughout the telling of Billy’s story was great. If you are unfamiliar with the story, Billy Elliot is a kid who decides he would rather join ballet over boxing. His dad, a hardcore coal miner challenged by workplace union issues, is VERY resistant at first until he realizes how dedicated his son is to this path.

The greatest life lesson Billy Elliot the Musical reinforced for me was the importance of individuality. They even had a song about it. That leads me to the best, most challenging thing you will ever give up…the comparison effect.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Sounds so easy right? Well if it were easy, everyone would do it. I know I would but I don’t always. I made a decision months ago to intentionally minimize the comparisons. I still have to coach myself occasionally that I am pretty damn great as I am. The only person I need to compete with is me. Not in a “I am never content or I’m my worst enemy” kind of way but instead to be steadily progressing myself.

You have to give yourself space to be yourself. Give up on being someone else or trying to be like them. Maybe it sounds ridiculous that this could be an issue but that is what it is.

Social media can be a comparison trap that way. Can’t it? Then I gained new perspective on it. I realized that social media is in many ways a chance to put out what we want the world to see. We control the narrative so people show the fab vacays, flawless selfies, best assets, expensive purchases and happy times (mostly). I found myself comparing myself to people I know but in many other cases, people I didn’t know well or didn’t know at all.

Balance of the internet and real world doesn’t always happen. Though not always the case, in many ways life online is like our own version of reality tv. What happens when you know people are watching? It would be crazy not to believe some things our tv housewives, survivors, bachelors and Kardashians have to say aren’t at least a little motivated by the public involvement of others. Which is why it is not fair for you and me to make the comparisons to them or the non-celebs in your life that you secretly admire. And jealousy is just a bizarre form of admiration.

Reminding yourself that ‘being you is okay’ is so important. A great way to maintain balance is to keep up with your friends, family and significant other relationships offline with the care that people use in posting online. Also actually be authentic online even if you just make happy posts. Be the same person on-screen and off.

My personal privacy policy has always been strict but that changes whenever I recognize people in my life who love who I am. They can handle that I am sometimes loud or sometimes quiet or usually sarcastic or an introvert and always a nerd.

I also began to invest more attention in learning who I am, how I am, how I like to communicate, what my love language is, what being a Sagittarius means for me, what my personality type is, what my weaknesses are, what my strengths are and many other things. I should not have to explain why I am the way I am but occasionally people do not understand my differences. I talk when I have something to say. I struggle with expressing myself out loud. I am internally really happy. I get extremely annoyed at rude people. Laughing is my favorite. I smile a lot but get mad sometimes too. I am a curious person that listens intently and questions a lot. Although I also do have bad days, I do not like overwhelmingly negative/dramatic people in my personal space. No shade. I just prefer sunshine over here.

We all get sick quick of the people who make it seem like everyday is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. My mantras are… Give unto others only what you can afford to reap in karma. Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a battle. Be better to the world than it is to you. Live out good energy and Give good vibes. All solid, tweetable tips to live by.

It takes 21 days to make something a habit. My challenge to you is…Don’t compare yourself to anyone for a week then take it from there for another 7 days. Then another 7 after that. If that means you take a break from your fave sources of online energy, so be it. If you do not know and believe in yourself, no one else is going to. Be you, not anyone else.

How do you practice your individuality?