OK, What’s Up With The Socks

If you know me at all you know that wear red socks. Yes, red socks and yes, everyday! It has nothing to do with the baseball team, nothing to do with luck and nothing to do with style. Well maybe a little something to do with style… I’ll explain but first let me tell you the story of how the red sock wearing came to be in the first place.

When I first moved from personal production to a leadership position I asked a consultant friend of mine, Tim Hosey, what he recommended I study to be the best I could be in my new role. Tim told me to study three things. NLP (neuron-linguistic programming), TA (transactional analysis) and The E-Myth a book that had just been released by Michael Gerber.

Well, I was fortunate in that the first class of the new leadership team got to meet and work with Michael Gerber and his E-Myth philosophy. I then looked into NLP and discovered that there was an institute in Chicago and fortunately I would only be 45 minutes away from the institute from my new home in Northwest Indiana.

While at an NLP training in Colorado, I met some very competent practitioners of NLP and one in particular was from Great Britain. I forget his name now but that isn’t relevant to the story. I say that he wore red socks with ankle length boots and shorts. At the time I thought the red socks were odd and asked him, “Dude, what’s with the socks?”

Seemed like a perfectly logical question since I had never seen anyone wear red socks let alone with shorts. To my surprise he responded, “If I don’t wear socks these shoes are leather and my feet perspire.” What?! I thought… Then it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I had asked the wrong question! I didn’t give a dang why he wore socks, I wanted to know why he wore red socks!

While that was ruminating in my mind, I started to notice socks. Did you know that some guys wear khaki socks when they wear khaki pants and yet others wear olive green socks when they wear olive green pants. I thought, “I wonder if a $12 pair of certain colored socks, because they were the ones that were clean, would actually be able to determine the color of pants a person wore on a given day. If that was true then the shirt picked to go with the pants would also be because of the socks picked and on and on and on…” Those damn socks caused a cascade of effects that could ultimately determine hundreds of dollars of cloths.

The funny thing is that most people would never see the socks yet they were responsible for everything you did see the person wear. Tim Hosey also always talked about a concept he called “Background Marketing.” Background Marketing is the image everything you do presents even when you don’t know it’s having an impact on others.

There you have it… First my red socks are an anchor to remind me to ask the right (correct or best) question to find the information I really want. Secondly, those red socks remind me that someone is always noticing and the things I do matter.

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